How UC Santa Cruz Created Low-cost Server Hosting

Do you have servers running under desks on your campus?  We did! But UC Santa Cruz has found a way to provide technologists with both the resources of the Data Center, and the flexibility and agility of the cloud through the Nebula service.

Nebula is a private cloud platform that provides our academic divisions with access to on-demand, self-service resources. By lowering the barrier to reliable and secure virtual computing, we’ve enabled academic and research technologists to focus on supporting the institutional mission rather than hardware and infrastructure life cycles.

Nebula users can use a simple portal to provision virtual servers on demand. They can manage them like any other type of physical or virtual server – or they can use Nebula’s powerful set of cloud APIs to provision the most complex, elastically-scaled clustered application. Behind the scenes, the Nebula infrastructure is professionally managed by a small team of data center staff. This enables us to provide users with generator-backed power, a conditioned computing environment, and physical security that they couldn’t get with servers under their desks.

This service is inexpensive to provide and scales easily to multiple sites. Indeed, the more sites we have, the more robust the service becomes. If you are interested in bringing Nebula to your campus, please let us know and we can discuss the details.

Service features:

  • ­The Nebula service is free to customers.
  • The Nebula service provides access to the Data Center’s resources, such as generator­-backed power, regular security scans, and experienced engineers to manage the underlying operating system and hardware.
  • We view this service as a lower­-cost and lower­-availability complement to our existing
    virtual­-hosting service.
  • Customers can provision, manage, and de-provision their own virtual servers.
  • The self-­service portal is simple to use.
  • Customers can use Nebula to incubate innovative work by our talented students, providing a safe and inexpensive place to try new things.

For more information:

UC Tech Slack channel #nebula

By Josh Sonstroem, Unix Systems Engineer, UC Santa Cruz (left), Cliff Pearson, Unix Systems Manager, UC Santa Cruz (center), Carol Jordan, Data Center Manager, UC Santa Cruz (right)

Video by Alexa Rivetti, IT Communications Coordinator, UC Office of the President (not pictured)

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