MyCPP uploads to the cloud to “float” above site traffic

By Hannah Smith, March 22, 2022

On Thursday, March 17, Cal Poly Pomona’s MyCPP portal underwent a temporary shutdown to migrate the portal to the cloud. Students could still access online services such as Canvas and BroncoDirect during the shutdown, but were redirected to a new web page if they attempted to access services through MyCPP.

According to an email sent to students on March 10, migrating to the cloud will provide “greater scalability and redundancy for this critical campus service.”

“It also gives us the ability to then have the environment that hosts the portal expand and scale based on demand,” Ben Quillian, deputy chief information officer, said of the transfer to the cloud. “This makes it more robust in times of high demand or many resources coming online to help support the portal.”

Before the migration to the cloud, the MyCPP portal was hosted on several servers located in the campus data center. As the hardware hosting the portal was aging, administrators decided to move MyCPP to the cloud based on portal traffic. MyCPP is not used frequently by students, but during enrollment periods, site traffic would increase and services would slow down. With the move to the cloud, the campus will be able to grant more space for traffic when needed rather than buying more servers that may not be used frequently.

John McGuthry, Chief Information Officer, offered an analogy to running a pizzeria. With just one oven, the store could serve 100 customers a day if each customer comes in one at a time, but as soon as more customers start coming in, the pizzeria would be overwhelmed and the store would have to consider buying 100 ovens.

“This cloud environment allows us to basically use 100 ovens to make all these pizzas at once so everyone gets their pizzas,” McGuthry said. “The nice thing about the cloud is that we don’t have to pay for those 100 ovens all the time. So when those 100 people come to the store, I can just tell the cloud provider, “I need 100 ovens real quick,” and then I can use those 100 ovens, and then I can return them when I’m done.

According to McGuthry, the decision to move MyCPP to the cloud was cost-effective and ensured that as the software continued to update, this campus service would not be dependent on outdated hardware. Several other campus resources have already been moved to the cloud, such as the campus homepage, and now MyCPP will join these resources in the campus cloud.

The servers that host MyCPP are located in the campus data center. Hannah Smith | Post Poly

“All of these services that we use, they all run on computers and there’s a life that those computers have and what usually happens is the software gets more complicated, and it gets more resource intensive what it needs, and the hardware usually stays the same,” McGuthry said. “As software gets more intensive and requires more, it eventually outlives hardware and there comes a point where we have to get rid of this computer and buy new ones.”

Moving MyCPP to the cloud will provide more accessibility to campus resources, especially after a period when virtual teaching and online services were essential. Computer Engineering student Kevin Jackson shared his experience with MyCPP before the service was migrated to the cloud.

“I use the portal almost daily to access essential CPP resources like Canvas or BroncoDirect,” Jackson said. “I could go and log into the individual websites, but I like logging into the portal that gives access to everything.”

With MyCPP moving to the cloud, campus information managers have been looking at how to improve the portal and improve the online experience for students. Jackson provided some of his suggestions for the portal.

“I would like to add a list of common student resources in the middle of the homepage so that more students are aware of them rather than listing them all in the student resources tab,” Jackson said.

MyCPP’s migration to the cloud didn’t include any other changes to the service other than how the portal is stored, but that doesn’t mean the site couldn’t go through bigger changes in the future. For any IT issues, members of the campus community can visit the IT Services webpage.