ITS Digital Services is preparing for a possible transition of hosting its web services from local servers to a cloud environment.

Kim Vassiliadis, Digital Solutions Manager
Kim Vassiliadis

The services that could transition to the cloud include web.unc.edu, sites.unc.edu and the University’s homepage (unc.edu). These WordPress services host thousands of individual WordPress sites. Currently, these services are hosted on campus servers that ITS Middleware Services manages. In late 2018, Digital Services began assessing a move from on-premise WordPress to cloud-hosted WordPress.

Outgrown the infrastructure

“We have outgrown the infrastructure we have right now,” said Kim Vassiliadis, Manager of ITS Digital Services and User Experience. “There are two gigantic multi-sites with too many sites on a single network.”

Hosting thousands of sites on a single local network increases the vulnerability of the system by creating a single point of failure. In other words, the failure of one site could potentially harm any other sites hosted on the same network.

“Spreading things apart doesn’t have quite the same level of risk as one thing breaking down the entire network,” Vassiliadis said.

Cloud offers flexible options

A move to the cloud would offer many flexible options to users of web.unc.edu and sites.unc.edu. Hosting the sites remotely would also ensure that resources are dedicated to the maintenance of the network.

“Not only does it have fast, reliable network potential,” Vassiliadis said, “but it also would allow us the opportunity to re-architect how we offer site-hosting and services on campus.”

Moving its web services to the cloud would change how Digital Services manages its web services by expanding options for users and increasing network reliability.

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