The Boring Migrations are Always the Best Migrations

Using Expedient Enterprise Cloud, the University of Phoenix was able to cut costs by $50 million over three and a half years and save over 234,000 hours of labor. Those cost savings lead directly to a better experience for over 80,000 students each year.

"We pay less now for the overall hosting solution with Expedient than we did just for storage and backup while we were in the data center."
- Jamie Smith, CIO, University of Phoenix
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Market Opportunity

The University of Phoenix was founded over 40 years ago to serve working adults and allow them access to career-bettering education on their schedule. Since then, they've been a leader in online education and an innovator in digital learning experiences. Part of being a leader and an innovator comes from making investments in their students, and money the University of Phoenix doesn’t have to spend on IT and infrastructure is money that goes toward a better student experience.

The Scenario

Faced with overwhelming amounts of infrastructure hardware and technical debt – including a 27,000 square foot raised floor data center with over 12,500 virtual and physical servers, some of which hadn't been rebooted in nearly a decade – over 70% of the University's IT resources were spent keeping the lights on and maintaining the status quo. And an annual electric bill of over $1.7 million made operating their data center untenable.

The Challenge

Previous lift-and-shift efforts to a hyperscale cloud had been initiated but never got off the ground due to the complexity involved in modernizing legacy applications and workloads. With a team that was already discouraged and giving up, the challenge wasn't just to show that a cloud migration could be transformational for the University, it was to show that it was possible at all.

The goal of 'ruthlessly driving down cost while delivering more' and a fast-approaching data center lease renewal added to the urgency. In the end, a push to virtualize replaced the desire to transform in place.

The Solution

Quick wins, including migrating the "hardest, nastiest" workload first, convinced the team at the University that their transformation could be completed quicker and cheaper. Tech debt was replaced by new, modern solutions to achieve cost and performance goals. Where other migration attempts had failed, the flexibility of Expedient Enterprise Cloud, a VMware-based solution, showed that existing applications and workloads could be virtualized. After setting a goal of reducing owned hardware to 100 servers in a colocation facility, there were only 7 once the migration was complete.

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