By Hannah Smith, Mar. 22, 2022
On Thursday March 17, Cal Poly Pomona’s MyCPP portal underwent a temporary shutdown to migrate the portal to the cloud. Students were still able to access online services such as Canvas and BroncoDirect during the shutdown but were redirected to a new webpage if they tried to access services through MyCPP.
According to an email sent to students on March 10, the migration to the cloud will provide “greater scalability and redundancy for this critical campus service.”
“It also gives us the ability to then have the environment that is hosting the portal, expand and scale up based on the demand,” said Ben Quillian, deputy chief information officer, regarding the transfer to the cloud. “It makes it more robust in terms of if there’s a high demand or a lot of resources come online to help support the portal.”
Before the migration to the cloud, MyCPP portal was hosted on several servers located in the campus data center. As the hardware hosting the portal was aging, administrators decided to move MyCPP to the cloud based on the traffic of the portal. MyCPP is not used frequently by students, but during times of registration, site traffic would spike, and services would slow down. With the transfer to the cloud, the campus will be able to allow more room for traffic when it needs to rather than purchasing more servers that may not be used frequently.
John McGuthry, chief information officer, offered an analogy of running a pizza shop. With one oven, the shop could serve 100 customers a day if each customer comes in one at a time, but as soon as more customers start to come in, the pizza shop would become overwhelmed and the shop would have to consider buying 100 ovens.
“This cloud environment, it allows us to basically use 100 ovens to make all those pizzas at the same time so that everybody gets their pizzas,” said McGuthry. “What’s nice about the cloud is that we don’t have to pay for those 100 ovens all the time. So, when those 100 people come to the shop, I can just tell the cloud provider ‘I need 100 ovens real quick’ and then I can use those 100 ovens and then I can give them back when I’m done.”
According to McGuthry, the decision to move MyCPP to the cloud was cost-effective and ensured that as software continues to update, this campus service would not be reliant on outdated hardware. Several other campus resources have already been moved to the cloud, such as the campus homepage, and now, MyCPP will join these resources in the campus cloud.
“All of these services that we use, they all run on computers and there’s a life that those computers have and what generally happens is, software gets more complicated, and it gets more intensive in terms of the resources that it needs, and the hardware typically stays the same,” said McGuthry. “As the software gets more intensive and requires more, it ends up living longer than the hardware and there comes a point in time when we have to get rid of that computer and get new ones.”
MyCPP moving to the cloud will further provide accessibility to campus resources, especially following a time when virtual instruction and online services were essential. Computer engineering student Kevin Jackson shared his experience with MyCPP prior to the service’s migration to the cloud.
“I use the portal pretty much every day to get to the essential CPP resources like Canvas or BroncoDirect,” said Jackson. “I could go sign into the individual websites, but I like signing into the portal which gives access to everything.”
With MyCPP’s cloud shift, the campus information officers have been looking for input on how to better improve the portal and make the online experience better for students. Jackson provided some of his suggestions for the portal.
“I would love to add a list of common student resources to the middle of the homepage so more students are aware of it rather than just all of them being listed on the student resources tab,” said Jackson.
The migration of MyCPP to the cloud included no other changes to the service other than how to portal is stored, but that doesn’t mean that the site could not undergo more dramatic changes in the future. For any IT concerns, campus community members can visit IT services webpage.
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