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VDC – secure cloud platform for the University of Tromsø

The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) started a modernization process by moving its IT services to the cloud

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The future is in the cloud

Greater use of cloud services frees up valuable IT capacity at the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway. The delivery from Innofactor provides security, flexibility and scalability.

The University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) is currently reorganizing parts of its IT functions to adapt to new digital undercurrents.

"We have reorganized the IT department quite extensively, and service-orientation is at the center. We have created a roadmap for IT with guiding principles for how this should be implemented in an institution such as UiT, which is primarily engaged in education, research and communication," says Roy Dragseth, who heads the Section for Digital Basic Services at the IT Department at UiT.

A natural step in the modernization process is to move more and more IT services to cloud solutions.

"Cloud developments make it less interesting for UiT to own its own IT infrastructure, and we therefore have plans to close at least one of our data centers on campus. This can be repurposed into valuable space for project work. The PC labs can also be simpler because the students have powerful resources and can run complex software in the cloud from their own PCs in the reading rooms or their rooms," he says.

Smooth transformation

A couple of years ago UiT moved the entire organization to Office 365, so that both e-mail and document sharing already takes place in the cloud.

"In addition, our users need tailored systems for analysis and data collection. On the traditional platform we are unable to create the required dynamics at the pace demanded by the users, while at the same time we have a particularly great responsibility to ensure security and privacy," Dragseth says.

The Virtual Data Center (VDC) solution from Innofactor covers many of UiT's needs for managing resource use in Microsoft Azure.

"The solution is more secure and flexible than what we can provide on campus. A professional player such as Innofactor has extensive experience with this, and that makes it pointless to use our valuable minds reinventing the wheel," he says.

Innofactor's 'development operations' mindset ensures a smooth transformation, and cooperation with UiT has been close in order to create a tailored solution. Microsoft Cloud Adaptation Framework guides UiT through the process to ensure the result is successful.

"The data center solution is sufficiently secure and flexible to allow us to implement the solutions our users need in it. By procuring a good and proven design, we save significant in-house work capacity," Dragseth says.

Major savings

Among other things, the VDC solution includes a naming standard that makes it easier to keep track of the organization's use of resources.

"It's important to us to control costs, which makes it essential to have a solution with a good structure. The VDC solution from Innofactor has few limitations in terms of physical capacity, and the cloud solutions also provide elasticity, so that they are automatically scaled up in the daytime and down in the evening and night. This makes our services far more dynamic," Dragseth says.

Start of production for the cloud solution is 1 September.

"We believe this will be very good for us, and we envision quite significant savings. During the coronavirus crisis many of our users were given a push in the direction of virtual interaction in Office 365, and it's a good indicator that the cloud is the future," Roy Dragseth says.

Facts about University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway

  • The third largest of Norway's 10 universities, and the world's northernmost university.
  • Northern Norway's largest research and education institution with 16,500 students and 3,600 employees.
  • The biggest player in polar and northern area research.
  • In 2019 total operating revenues exceeded NOK 4 billion.
  • The IT Department aims to be a digital driving force for knowledge by giving students and employees the skills to utilize digital tools in education, research and communication.
  • The Department was nominated for UNINETT's innovation award for 2019.

"Innofactor provides solutions that are more secure and flexible than what we can provide on campus."

Roy Dragseth
Head of the Section for Digital Basic Services at the IT Department

How it was done

The following technologies were a part of University of Tromsø's solution:

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