Colorado State University Partners with Ibm to Become National Technology Hub; Project is Valued at $21.6 Million

Colorado State University today announced that IBM is providing the university with a fully supported, rich, technical environment through use of a sophisticated mainframe – valued at $21.6 million by IBM over the course of two years. The project will position Colorado State as a technology hub for universities across the country.

IBM will provide Colorado State’s College of Business students and faculty with the use of a powerful mainframe. The unique capabilities of the IBM mainframe allow it to be partitioned or carved up into thousands of virtual stand-alone servers. Users are assigned their own individual server to develop, test or port applications with complete autonomy, allowing them to work independently without affecting the thousands of other users on the same physical machine. Developers can even re-boot or recompile programs without interfering with others on the system. This technology will allow faculty and students of the Department of Computer Information Systems, along with other departments on campus, to be able to work on their own virtual Linux server, the fastest growing operating system in the industry.

As an IBM national technology hub, Colorado State will in turn provide support to universities across the country that wish to offer their students the same unprecedented experience of working with virtual Linux servers. Faculty from other universities also will be invited to submit proposals for information technology research projects to a steering committee made up of IBM executives and Colorado State faculty. Up to 20 universities at a time will have access to the system to perform research projects or use the powerful equipment for their students.

"IBM’s investment in Colorado State University is part of a strong partnership and commitment to the advancement of technology education at this university," said Albert C. Yates, president of Colorado State. "This partnership is invaluable to our students and faculty. It will allow the university to provide direction for other academic institutions across the country and offer innovative ideas to the information technology industry. We are truly grateful for this gift and opportunity."

"Partnering with universities like Colorado State is a natural fit because of their capability to pilot advanced research and education," said Larry Longseth, Vice President, IBM Global Services and IBM Boulder Senior Location Executive. "The university has taken a lead role in the advancement of information technology education in Colorado, a state that has positioned itself in the forefront of the industry."

In addition to each student having access to their own Linux server, multiple servers will be connected to form a virtual network on the mainframe. This will allow students to gain a unique hands-on experience in administering servers and networks without the need for dedicated hardware. In the past, learning about network systems management has been purely theoretical. Access to these virtual networks will provide students with a unique hands-on learning experience.

"We believe in a technology-driven learning experience," said Dan Costello, dean of the College of Business. "The opportunity that IBM is giving us will dramatically increase our students’ knowledge."

Students will be able to simulate all information technology functions that currently exist in business today. Also included on the enterprise server will be the more traditional business operating system of VM and OS/390 along with a complete suite of enterprise software.

"With the demand for enterprise systems managers rising more than 62 percent in the past year, Colorado State’s students will learn skills that will give them a sizable advantage in their field while filling a valuable industry need," said John Plotnicki, chairman of the Department of Computer Information Systems at Colorado State.

Colorado State researchers will also be able to contribute to the expansion of Linux’s capabilities by working to develop Linux applications on the mainframe. Linux is an Internet-ready operating system that offers reliability and the flexibility of a source code that is freely available. The open source technology of Linux allows researchers to create cost-effective solutions that leverage existing IT investments by using Linux’s source codes and adapting them to their organizations’ individual needs.