2019 Operational Technologies

Evolution of Cloud Services at the University of Arizona

Cloud Optimization Increases Efficiency

In FY18, UITS completed the successful migration of all its enterprise applications to the cloud, yielding approximately $3 million in annual refresh cost savings. In FY19 UITS continued to mature its cloud services by launching a public cloud optimization initiative to increase efficiency and further reduce its cloud spend. Cost and usage data were used to understand past usage patterns of compute resources and predict future capacity needs.

Fully leveraging the elasticity of cloud services included terminating idle resources and scheduling the shutdown of development and test resources during non-business hours. Resources that were heavily utilized or always “on” provided savings opportunities via reserved instances. Understanding multi-dimensional cost and usage data, service level agreements, and capacity requirements were key to ensuring a high level of service while operating fiscally responsible.

Cloud Elasticity = Cost Savings

The cloud enables high levels of elasticity which allows our applications to scale up and down to match demand. We reserve 24 compute cores over the course of a year at an average of 30% discount and can lease servers on an hourly basis during levels of high demand such as the start of the school year and priority registration. By scaling the UAccess Student system up and down during high times of demand and making reservations for our baseline usage, we effectively saved an additional $60,000 (see chart). Aggregate savings for all of our systems using smart reservations totaled $300,000 in FY19.

Cloud-Ops Speed of Delivery

UITS established an operations-as-a-service program, CloudOps, to transition IT operations to a more service-delivery focused platform in FY19. The CloudOps team includes members of various UITS units dedicated to providing expertise, experience, and best practices to the university’s IT services. They engage with colleges and departments to take advantage of the self-service format for operations services such as serverless website, data management, Windows and Linux server deployment and more. 

Cloud Security

Key to the CloudOps offering, is consistency in security features, monitoring, managed backups, 24/7 alerting and support. Security and compliance becomes a shared responsibility that relieves the constituent of an operational burden. Cloud providers like AWS take responsibility for protecting the infrastructure. The university takes responsibility for building and securely using cloud services.


Annual cost savings on compute, database, and data warehouse resources in FY19, which can be reinvested in the university.


AWS campus expenditure FY19


Total Google user accounts


Total Office 365 user accounts

UAccess Student Utilization Chart