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A step ahead

CROC Cloud Streamlines Access to Russian Higher Education

03.03.2016 2 minutes 240

The National Open Education Platform, a non-profit association established in April 2015 by eight leading Russian universities (including Lomonosov Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, National University of Science and Technology MISiS, Higher School of Economics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Ural Federal University, and St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics), has decided to host its online course platform in CROC’s cloud.

he National Open Education Platform strives to improve the quality of and streamline access to higher education throughout Russia. Currently, the platform facilitates education for more than 80,000 students, lecturers, postgraduates, and individuals who want to learn and be certified in the natural sciences and humanities.

The National Open Education Platform provides a variety of online courses, including mathematics and natural sciences, engineering, technology and technical sciences, healthcare and medical sciences, etc. The training is available to anyone with no limitations—free of charge and without any formal educational background pre-requisites. All those who successfully pass exams receive certificates from the country’s leading universities to acknowledge their mastery of the bachelor degree program modules. For university students, there is an opportunity to have their online course grades qualify as passing exams or credits with their home university.

The National Open Education Platform developed the above mass course system using open-source software and decided to host it in the cloud due to load forecasting challenges and the customer’s desire to outsource computer infrastructure administration. In addition, CROC’s cloud allows the National Open Education Platform to quickly adapt to increasingly complicated tasks: more users and more disciplines.

«Our project is very much a startup: We need to quickly respond to a changing environment and make decisions looking for appropriate development models. When we were launching the project, we could not accurately forecast how many users we would have in a year and how quickly the number of users would grow. Given that, it was not sensible to invest in infrastructure. If growth had exceeded targets, we would have had to scale up our own data center rapidly. Under these terms, the cloud is much more flexible. You could say this is our insurance for growing pains to let us build up computing resources—quickly and unnoticeably for users,» says Taras Pustovoy, Member of the Board and Technical Committee Chairman, National Open Education Platform.

«Our goal is to make sure customers run their services in our Virtual Data Center securely, and easily tap into and manage computing resources, with access to qualified support. This is why we ensure the reliability even of banking services, protect them against DDoS attacks, provide a management console compatible with Amazon AWS which is familiar to many customers, and respond to user requests in the shortest possible time,» says Maxim Berezin, Head of CROC’s Virtual Data Center.

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