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In February, ITS Communication Technologies brought together IT pros from campus, Triangle-area universities and elsewhere to talk to Internet2 about the computer networking consortium’s cloud strategy, offerings and plans.

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson, Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for CommTech, organized the four-hour meeting held on February 12 at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) in Chapel Hill. In addition to CommTech, ITS had its staffers from Research Computing, Infrastructure & Operations and the Information Security Office. Participants also came from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, Duke University, N.C. State University and MCNC, the nonprofit operator of a communications network that serves these universities and other entities.

Event drew about 40 people

About 40 people attended in person. Five Internet2 staffers traveled to the meeting while three people from Internet2 presented by video.

Internet2 is a not-for-profit consortium made up of U.S. research and education organizations that work together to solve common technology challenges and develop innovative solutions in support of their missions.

Cloud was the focus

Johnson organized last month’s event to use Internet2 as a catalyst for having each of the attending groups briefly outline — in an open forum — their hopes and fears for using public cloud services.

“Internet2 wanted to hear a broad cross section of issues from a major university as input to developing their services and to assure that each of their teams had a common understanding of the issues presented,” Johnson said.

George Loftus
George Loftus

Participants have provided positive feedback about the event, including George Loftus, Associate Vice President of Network Services at Internet2.

“Internet2 was pleased to be invited to meet with UNC to discuss the myriad issues the campus is facing in implementing cloud services,” Loftus said.

“We wanted to provide some information about some of the services Internet2, together with MCNC, can provide,” he said. “But, more importantly, we wanted to listen to the professionals at UNC’s IT organization to learn what problems they face, so we can work together to bring solutions that will help UNC and many other Internet2 members.”

Additional meetings anticipated

The gathering, Loftus said, was a “great meeting that allowed us to talk with those who specialize in security, administrative computing, research and others who all approach cloud services from different viewpoints.”

Johnson said he wants to build upon this format to “continue sharing IT (especially networking) activities and opportunities and, hopefully, build active collaborations from that.”

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