Purdue Prepares Students for In-Demand Tech Jobs with Help of Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud

Rackspace® announced that Purdue University, home to the oldest computer science program in the nation, is using Rackspace® OpenStack® Private Cloud in the classroom. With infrastructure architecture guidance and OpenStack operational expertise from Rackspace, Purdue offers a hands-on curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students that provides them with data analytics skills used by today’s web-scale companies.

Over the last decade, Purdue has produced more engineering students than any other institution in the U.S., and is constantly looking for ways to provide its students with access to the latest technologies. In 2014, the university decided to begin including big data technology in its computer science curriculum. Doing so meant the need for a cloud platform to store and run the new systems on, and Purdue chose Rackspace OpenStack for the job.

“The cloud industry is fast-paced and ever-changing,” said Gerry McCartney, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Purdue University. “As an institution that prides itself on providing students with a relevant education that will make them ‘workforce ready’ at graduation, we quickly realized our computer science curriculum needed to encompass the cloud and big data skills that companies now seek. We chose OpenStack as our preferred platform to drive this curriculum transformation because we wanted the flexibility of an open source technology.”

Purdue is using Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud to offer students an educational experience that helps them meet current industry demand. With Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud, Purdue faculty is able to leverage the operational expertise of Rackspace and consume its private cloud as a service to spin up new OpenStack clusters at the beginning of every semester and offer students access to new environments using the latest technology in their daily labs. To date, Purdue has logged 86,000 server hours in the classroom.

“Rackspace experts have been invaluable during the development phases of the labs, as we typically need a lot of iterations to redesign and tweak the environments in a short timeframe,” said Aaron Rodgers, graduate teaching assistant at Purdue University. “Our Rackspace team has provided us with 24×7 operations and the flexibility needed to reconfigure and redesign our environment multiple times, making the overall development process smooth and rapid each semester.”

The university currently offers two courses using the OpenStack platform for up to 100 students each semester. The first covers the development of software using database systems and the second, which is more specialized in nature, teaches students how to build a database engine. Exposing students to big data tools and OpenStack software has proved to be critical in giving students a leg up when they enter the workforce.

“OpenStack provides a path to innovation for Purdue students; however, the complexity of the technology platform requires significant expertise to run at scale,” said Bryan Thompson, GM of Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack. “By consuming OpenStack private cloud as a service from Rackspace, Purdue is able to offload daily operational and maintenance tasks and instead focus on crafting an innovative curriculum that gives students a competitive advantage when entering the IT workforce.”

Rackspace provides certified experts to architect, deploy, secure, monitor, patch and upgrade OpenStack clouds. Rackspace created OpenStack with NASA and is the world’s largest and most experienced OpenStack operator with more than one billion server hours of OpenStack expertise.

To learn more about how Purdue uses Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud, see the case study at https://www.rackspace.com/customer-stories/purdue-university. For more information on Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud, visit https://www.rackspace.com/en-us/openstack/private/.

About Rackspace
Rackspace, the #1 managed cloud company, helps businesses tap the power of cloud computing without the complexity and cost of managing it all on their own. Rackspace engineers deliver specialized expertise, easy-to-use tools, and Fanatical Support® for leading technologies including AWS, Google, Microsoft, OpenStack and VMware. The company serves customers in 150 countries, including more than half of the FORTUNE 100. Rackspace was named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Service Providers, Worldwide, and has been honored by Fortune, Forbes, and others as one of the best companies to work for. Learn more at www.rackspace.com.