Cloud Services for Education: Alternatives to Google

IBM SmartCloud
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When you think of cloud providers for education, Google is probably the first company to come to mind. But other services might be a good fit for your needs.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) for Education

Amazon’s cloud offering focuses on serving the business and data needs of educational institutions.

Integrated Services
Amazon’s cloud products include computing, storage, email, database management, private cloud services, and networking. A private cloud is a great feature for educational institutions, because it can be one of the best options for keeping private data secure yet accessible on your campus.

Scalable Pricing
AWS for Education is a pay service, so if cost is the absolute determinant, it might not be right. The pay structure allows for more flexibility than Google, though. AWS for Education is a pay-as-you-go service, so it doesn’t have the same per-user space limitations that Google does.

Of course, pay-as-you-go can mean for big swings in cost, which can make it hard to budget for, especially as you first deploy.

IBM SmartCloud for Education

IBM’s cloud service offers computing and data storage plus an education management system.

Virtual Computing Lab
IBM’s cloud computing service allows you to set up a private cloud or a hybrid cloud for computing tasks, allowing scalable management and security.

Decision Management for Education
The SmartCloud’s flagship tool is its learning management system, provided as a Software-as-a-Service offering. It offers web-based modeling tools to predict college retention, academic success, and other important student and faculty issues.

Research Tools
An important factor for research institutions, IBM’s SmartCloud includes research collaboration tools that can enhance on-campus and multi-campus communication about research projects. It is designed not only to provide social networking and data sharing, but also to help researchers find grant sources and related research findings.

Google is a great free cloud resource, but other companies might be better fit for your school’s needs.

Cost and features will likely be a major factor in the decision. To help, Amazon offers a total cost of ownership calculator and related toolbox that can help you assess the costs of different computing service options. Try it out here.

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