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For years, institutions of higher education have been a target for cloud technology providers.

College students and faculty are desperately in need of cloud-based services that enable them to stay connected, store documents, and collaborate on coursework with their peers. However, budgets are slim, and the industry is in the nascent stages of understanding how to market to college technology executives.

To get ahead of the market, one of Meg Whitman’s first public appearances as the chief executive for Hewlett Packard (HP) was to beam in by video-conference and address a group of college technology decision-makers. During the meeting, they discussed how the leading colleges could band together to demand better terms (increased storage capacity, lower pricing and so on) from vendors than an individual college could get on its own.


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The participants also voiced a major concern: how to pick between dozens of vendors with similar marketing messages. What are the right questions to ask? Would they place their trust in an innovative startup or stick with a legacy vendor like HP? And what cloud-based services would students benefit from most?

At VentureBeat’s CloudBeat, we’ll be taking the discussion one step further to address these issues, and cut through the jargon to reveal the best options for higher ed.

(CloudBeat is unique with its emphasis on customer case-studies. It’s not abstract theories and ideas — executives will reveal their hard-frought solutions to very real technology problems).

Purdue’s Executive Director of Infrastructure Systems and Operations, Michael Rubesch, will provide feedback and tips on the university’s transition to the cloud. The session will be moderated by Ben Kepes, blogger and cloud computing expert at Diversity Limited.

In a twist, the university chose Oxygen Cloud, a smaller and younger competitor to the leading cloud services provider Amazon Web Services, to provide mobile access, file sharing and collaboration capabilities. Oxygen Cloud specializes in making it possible to move around data between a corporate network and a device outside the firewall.

Rubesch will reveal how he assessed the full spectrum of services before coming to a decision, and how the university will expand its range of cloud-based services in the future.

At CloudBeat, another major theme will be cloud security — this is a leading concern for colleges that deal with student’s sensitive and private data. 

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