New space provides real-world experience in computer technology and cybersecurity
As more and more businesses move to “The Cloud,” the skilled professionals who can build, maintain, secure, and optimize that technology are becoming an essential part of keeping data safe and the industry moving forward. Training people to respond to those challenges is the purpose behind this next-generation Cloud Lab coming online at the College.
“The lab was originally based on existing workloads in other Computer Technology department classes,” said Curt Gabrielson, Associate Professor, Dunwoody College of Technology. “The system was designed to replace existing, slow, individually managed servers while being future growth-oriented. We realized that this could easily support other classes and departments, so it was developed with scalability in mind. The lab reflects what industry uses for software and hardware: a centrally managed server environment using vSphere with solid-state storage, Epyc Gen3 processors, and fiber-connected redundant datacenter-grade switches that are available on the Internet so students can use them anytime and anywhere.”
Dunwoody’s unique Cloud Lab isn’t confined to a simulation but is a working, state-of-the-moment, closet-sized, cloud server environment.
The new Cloud Lab will be used in several of the Computer Technology and School of Engineering programs, including Computer Networking Systems, Cloud Engineering Technology, and Software Engineering. It also allows students to work on-site or remotely in the same virtual space. The students can use the lab to create virtual environments, just as they would in the real world while giving them an opportunity to test and defend those environments against cyber-attacks.
Building the Lab
Building a fully-functioning cloud server environment on the Dunwoody campus was a project developed, designed, and managed by Gabrielson. Computer Networking Systems students were tasked with the creation of the server; students Oliver Lee, Ryan Koschak, and Esteban Lopez proved to be instrumental in building out the new lab.
“For me, this has given me the hands-on experience of working with this type of equipment, which is really nice for us to have when we go into the field,” Lee said. “It’s been like having an internship while at school.”
Building the actual physical rack of servers, hooking up the cables, and installing the drives utilizes many of the skills and training the students have learned in their Computer Technology courses.
For the students, the project taught them an invaluable lesson of learning from their mistakes.
“Communication is such an important part of teamwork – because you can’t build a server [environment] on your own,” Lopez said. “Without cooperation, the project could have gone downhill fast. We really learned how to efficiently work as a team.”
Computer Technology Done Differently
Dunwoody’s Computer Technology programs are for students who are interested in how IT works: the learners who like to tinker with hardware or live to code and who are looking for training on the software, systems, equipment, and programming languages being used in the industry.
The Computer Networking Systems, Cloud Engineering Technology, and Software Engineering programs provide training in three main areas: computer networking, web development, and cloud technology. All three degree tracks directly transfer into a bachelor’s completion option in Computer Science. The Computer Networking Systems degree also transfers directly into a bachelor’s completion option in Cybersecurity. For more information on Dunwoody’s degree programs and schools visit https://dunwoody.edu/.
About Dunwoody College of Technology
Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. Having provided hands-on, applied technical education to more than 250,000 individuals, Dunwoody is the college for experimenters and makers, a place where the curious and the confident learn by doing. Located in Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers a unique campus experience in dedicated labs, studios, and shops that treats students like future professionals from day one. With certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees in more than 46 majors – including engineering, robotics, design and other STEM-related fields – Dunwoody challenges students to come determined and graduate destined. More information on Dunwoody can be found at www.dunwoody.edu or by following Dunwoody on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.