Tag Archives: Cloud Computing

Universities should go on the Cloud

A few days back when the Class XI forms were uploaded, it seemed like a great idea. Finally it was going online. I had stood in serpentine queues at 8 or 9 different colleges after my Class X results were declared. It took me two days to collect all forms and then a whole day getting them filled up and then two more days submitting them back in respective colleges. Not to forget the numerous photocopies and the various attested documents. It was a lot! I know of parents who took a week off to do this for their daughters and sons.

With all of this getting online, the pain is much lesser in the admission process.

However, inspite of doing a dry run of the website with close to 1,000 forms loaded, the site crashed on the first day itself. It just could not handle the load of thousands of students accessing the weak little defenseless webpage. You can’t really help but sympathise with the webpage, the website, the webmaster and above the poor little servers. This overloading is however a normal phenomena across Universities and colleges. It affects the Board results, the admission results, the CAT results, the CET results and the list goes on. All we can do is blame the Universities.

It is not, however, the fault of the Universities. One can say that they can just buy the extra bandwidth and server space and computing power. But all of this is not exactly cheap. And they will need all of this only once a year! Quite a conundrum.

The solution according to me is Cloud Computing. Now, my regular readers (yes, all the two of you) must have already read about my summer project here and here. My project actually comprises of research on cloud computing; and that according to me is the perfect solution in this case.

To all the non technical people and IT engineers, cloud computing is nothing but a set of servers configured as a cloud, wherein the users can take the advantage of all these networked computers and use the infrastructure as they like. It is set up in a way that the users can scale up their requirements as and when they want, and the system automatically provisions all of it to them. So theoritically, you will never run out of bandwidth and storage space. This is perfect for all those people who have low requirements except for those few days when they experience a sudden spike difficult to deal with. It would be extremely expensive to provide for this spike and have the infrastructure be wasted the rest of the time.

This is exactly what our colleges need. I just checked out the google trends results for some of the common search parameters related to admissions and results and below are some of the findings:

1. The number of searches for “CAT Results” in January every year, is more than 20 times the searches throughout the year.

2. The searches for the word “IIM” in the months of December & January is close to 50 times the searches the rest of the year.

3. The number of searches for “SSC Results” in the months of April (the time of the exam) & June (the month of the result) is more than 25 times the searches the rest of the year.

You can do your own little analysis at http://google.com/trends.

Our colleges can have their minimum bandwidth requirements throughout the year, and during the one or two months during the results and admissions, when it peaks in terms of visitors, automatically scale up. They would not need to move a finger. The cloud will take care of it. All they have to do is pay for the services every month depending on their usage.

I hope they are listening and implement this. Not only is this lesser headaches for everyone involved, it is also cheaper compared to scaling up your own infrastructure trying to provision for the peaks.

Do you think this makes sense? And if it does, you think it will be implemented?

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