IT Center Blog

ZKI – From Project to Working Group

July 5th, 2024 | by
Surreal photo: Finger click on cloud in the sky

Source: Pixabay

As a partner, the IT Center actively supports the design of digitalisation processes at RWTH Aachen University. This also includes the use of cloud services and the correspondingly increasing needs of teaching staff, researchers and students at RWTH Aachen University. The flexibility and scalability of cloud services can be a means of meeting the ever more rapidly changing IT requirements of users.


IT Center and Cloud Services

Against this background, the IT Center has been working on the topic of “cloud” in the university environment at RWTH Aachen University for some time. The IT Center’s cloud strategy envisages responding better to these requirements in the long term and expanding the IT Center’s range of services accordingly. The wider range of services is to be offered through ever faster provisioning processes.

The starting point for developing the cloud strategy was a strategy retreat held by the IT Center in March 2018, which resulted in the university-wide project “Cloud usage at RWTH”. In collaboration with departments of the Central University Administration and the RWTH’s data protection officer, the IT Center intensively examined the relevant commercial and legal issues as well as the areas of data protection and data security.


State and Nationwide Initiatives

At the same time, the IT Center has been involved in cross-university committees dedicated to the topic of the cloud, as well as DH-NRW projects with which the IT Center is establishing itself as a community cloud provider (for example with the topic of groupware). In this context, a commission was founded in November 2019 within the association “Centres for Communication Processing in Research and Teaching” (ZKI e. V.) under the leadership of the managing directors of the IT Centre, which deals with the topic of “Introduction of cloud at German universities”. The aim of the commission was to create a guide to the introduction of cloud services at a university [1], which describes the introduction and use of various cloud products at universities. The focus was primarily on the description of vendor-independent statements and recommendations accompanied by vendor-specific statements.

The commission was extended for a further year in 2023 under the leadership of Denise Dittrich (IT Center, RWTH Aachen University). The second results report is currently in the publication process.


Establishment of a Working Group

The introduction and use of cloud services is changing many areas of responsibility at universities. To promote the exchange of experience in organisational and technical aspects relating to the cloud, the Cloud Management Working Group was founded at the ZKI Spring Conference in June 2024 as a continuation of the Commission. Denise Dittrich (IT Center, RWTH Aachen University) was elected spokesperson at the constituent meeting at the end of June at TU Darmstadt.  She is supported and represented by Christian Schultz (TU Dortmund University) and Patrick von der Hagen (KIT / SCC).

By sharing knowledge and documentation, the aim is to reduce the costs of introducing and providing cloud services at universities. The working group will consider all cloud service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) and provision models (private, public, hybrid, multi-cloud).

In view of the many overlaps with other ZKI working groups and working groups in the university landscape, the Cloud Management working group strives for a lively exchange on a broad level.


Responsible for the content of this article are Denise Dittrich and Tanja Wittpoth-Richter.


The following sources served as the basis for this article:
[1] Ergebnisbericht ZKI

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