Why Differing Perspectives are Good

Yesterday afternoon, we were pushing to get a Ruby on Rails app deployed into AWS.  One firewall rule away, the developer put in a change request that he thought would get there and stepped out for a quick break.  Since we’re all sitting in the same room, some might think it overkill.

Cloud Central

We have an information security professional embedded in our Cloud First team who has final authority over security-related decisions.  Reviewing the request, he didn’t feel comfortable with the nature of the change.

When the developer returned, he and our InfoSec person discussed the nature of the change request.  It turns out what was being requested was valid, but the there was a slight error in how it was written up.

Problem solved, firewall rule processed, and boom – our app was in business.

Having a team with broad perspectives is not only desirable, it is absolutely necessary for success.  And that is exactly the type of consideration that went into drawing members for our #NDCloudFirst mission:


Augmented Team



Today is the most exciting day of my modern professional life.  It’s the day we are announcing to the world our goal of migrating 80% of our IT service portfolio to the cloud over the next three years.

Yes, that’s right, 80% in 3 years.  What an opportunity!  What a challenge!  What a goal!  What a mission for a focused group of IT professionals!

The following infographic accurately illustrates our preference in terms of prioritizing how we will achieve this goal.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 8.54.34 AM


Opportunistically, we will select SaaS products first, then PaaS products, followed by IaaS, with solutions requiring on-premises infrastructure reserved for situations where there a compelling need for geographic proximity.

The layer at which we, as an IT organization, can add value without disrupting university business processes is IaaS.  After extensive analysis, we have selected Amazon Web Services as our IaaS partner of choice, and are looking forward to a strong partnership as we embark upon this journey.

Already documented on this blog are success stories Notre Dame has enjoyed migrating www.nd.edu, the infrastructure for the Notre Dame mobile app, Conductor (and its ~400 departmental web sites), a copy of our authentication service, and server backups into AWS.  We have positioned ourselves to capitalize on what we have learned from these experiences and proceed with migrating the rest of the applications which are currently hosted on campus.

So incredibly, incredibly fired up about the challenge that is before us.

If you want to learn more, please head over to Cloud Central: http://oit.nd.edu/cloud-first/