University Web Developers

University Web Developers

So I listened to the 911 Webinar on HigherEdExperts yesterday and it got me thinking. I wish there was a polling option on this site, but what percentage of campus have their Web Server on Campus vs a Hosting Plan?

Wofford has about 1,300 undergraduate students and we have our web server hosted off campus through a service provider which could potentially help us battle an emergency with an internet traffic spike. Also if something crazy disastrous (earthquake, tornado, hurricane are all possibilities) came through campus and wiped out the data center our website would still be up. Of course the exact opposite could happen and the service provider is destroyed where are campus is fine, but usually they are located in "safe" environments to reduce this risk.

So anyway I'm guessing I'm kind of asking a two part question. Is your website hosting on campus and what is the population of your institution? I'm curious how size affects hosting. Any extra thoughts you have about the situation or why your campus is a certain way would be interesting too.

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We actually have both.

We have on-campus hosting with our website that is accessed from users on the campus. For anyone off campus, they view the site at our hosted solution. Using rsync and master/slave options in mySQL keeps the 2 servers in sync.

For any secure web form, they are sent to our on-campus server and that is the only server that stores any of this information.

We're a small community college with about 2,000 students.

Paul
Looking at moving homepage for 20,000-student public university to external provider... advice? Am conducting call with Rackspace rep tomorrow.
As our campus has such a decentralized web presence there is a little of both. The vast majority is hosted internally but there are a few departments and other groups who choose to host off-campus for various reasons.

As to thoughts on the matter, in a situation such as ours where each department/group/etc is 100% responsible for their own web presence with very limited guidance I would say off-campus is probably the best solution. In the case however of departments such as Computer Science and others with a higher level of knowledge on the subject on-campus hosting is often the more productive route to take.
I've been considering going offsite for the past 5 years. Changes in on-campus IT has made both on and off site preferable during that time. However the Patriot Act contravenes Canada's laws for privacy for Higher Ed, so any USA hosted solutions are a no-go. We also do all our own DNS and IT is reluctant to outsource. I'm looking into offsite Canadian hosters for the main public site. Most of our services are 3rd party anyway, because of the incomplete configuration of our onsite web server.
We are a small, two developer web team. We host off-site and the original motivation was necessity as our IT department wasn't equipped with enough resources to handle 24/7/365 support for the web servers. We began with one out-sourced web server and we're now up to 6 out-sourced servers although we hope to bring that number down to 4 servers within the next 6 months. Our growth in websites and web services has grown exponentially over the past year.

If your campus' IT office is small, I advocate off-site hosting as it provides a multitude of benefits including redundancy, fail over, automated backups and restores, and, let's hope we never need it, disaster recovery. If our IT department was larger, I would probably prefer that our web servers be on-site as even though we have managed, dedicated servers there is still a bit of server administration work that we have to do.
Hey folks, I'd like to revive this discussion a bit, check in and see whether those of you hosting off-campus are still satisfied with your off-campus hosts, and whether those of you in-house are still keeping things in-house.

We are considering off-campus hosting more seriously lately and I'm looking for host recommendations so I can price things out. Do you still love RackSpace and GoDaddy? ;) Any others I should know about?

Thank you all!
We have several virtual machines at Slicehost, and it's worked out very well for us. The applications we have built that interact with our enterprise information system reside on an on-campus box, but we are considering whether to allow ourselves to do some reads of that database for displaying things like course schedules and the campus directory via the Slicehost boxes.

I'm content with the mostly-outsourced arrangement we've got. One part of the rationale for moving things off-campus was a disaster-preparedness issue - if some disaster takes out our on-campus infrastructure, we want to be able to keep communicating without having to get the web site up somewhere else. The site already is somewhere else.

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