March 2022 CIO Update
Tomorrow will mark my 9th anniversary at VCU. As I start my 10th year here, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to work with such a talented and dedicated team. We have accomplished so much together, and I’m still excited to be here every day! For this month’s entry, I would like to highlight part of our continued migration to cloud services.
Jamf Moves to the Cloud
VCU utilizes a number of tools to help manage and secure the computers and devices used by its employees. One such tool used to manage Apple devices is a Mobile Device Management (MDM) service called Jamf. This service is used to manage a number of policies and configurations for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS devices across the university. Traditionally, VCU hosted the Jamf management platform within its data center, which required valuable staff time to be dedicated to the management of the backend infrastructure used to run the Jamf platform. Due to a number of user-choice initiatives throughout the university, we have seen exponential growth in the number of Apple devices being used by our faculty and staff.
Fun fact: In the last year we have seen over 1,000 macOS devices enrolled in Jamf, which is almost double the amount from the previous year. For iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs, we had over 400 devices enrolled within the last year, compared to over 250 the previous year.
Over this past year, the VCU Endpoint Computing team, in collaboration with distributed school IT support units and other VCU Technology Services units planned for the migration of the Jamf platform to Jamf Cloud. The efforts made by all involved with the transition finally paid off in February 2022, as VCU’s Jamf platform successfully migrated to the vendor-hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with minimal impact to the university.
With this migration, we expect to see better scalability and resiliency in supporting university-owned Apple devices as more people choose to work, teach, and learn from the Apple platform.
The Jamf migration is just one example of leveraging cloud services where it makes sense. More and more of VCU’s enterprise services and applications reside in the cloud. We continue to progress in our project to migrate Ellucian Banner to the Ellucian Cloud, which will provide robust disaster recovery and business continuity capability and help us better manage updates and upgrades. Most of our newer systems are operated under the SaaS model. For example the Canvas Learning Management System was purchased and implemented this way. We are also beginning to look at Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for some of our technology requirements. I will feature more on this in future communications.
As always, I am thankful to the Technology Services team and our partners across both campuses for all of the excellent work that keeps VCU moving!