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Cloud Computing Services at Northwestern

NUCloud is the University’s private cloud computing platform powered by VMWARE. It is an IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), supported by Northwestern Information Technology (IT), that provides computing services for University schools, departments, and business units who wish to self-manage their virtual data center resources within a fee-based private cloud model. Participation in NUCloud requires a two-year commitment.

The NUCloud environment is for University schools, departments, and business units interested in:

NUCloud is within the University’s Data Center facilities, providing availability and reliability of service equal to that of enterprise-level systems. All virtual servers and storage in NUCloud are automatically backed-up for disaster recovery.

How It Works

University schools, departments, and business units who participate in NUCloud are referred to as, “tenants” and share underlying hardware components while isolated from one another into Virtual Data Centers (VDCs). Each tenant self-manages its VDC resources—CPU processing, RAM, disk storage, and security of data—to deploy servers and storage to meet its application needs. 

Virtual Data Centers are described in terms of total CPU, RAM, and storage that can be allocated to create virtual servers. Applicants can invest in one of three initial levels of VDC capacity, and add capacity as needed at the time of initial investment or at any time going forward. Additional capacity can be added in increments of Compute (CPU and RAM bundle) and/or Storage as needed.

Request NUCloud Tenancy

Application for tenancy in NUCloud may be submitted at any time during the year. University schools, departments, and business units interested in participating in the private cloud service environment, must submit the NUCloud Application for Tenancy to begin the process.  Once the application is submitted, a discussion will be scheduled by the NUCloud team with the requestor to discuss requirements. Timeline to provision an initial NUCloud environment is dependent on available resources in the infrastructure at the time of the request. Time from request to deployment could span from 2 weeks to 90 days, depending on available capacity.

Required Technical Skills

NUCloud is a private cloud service intended for University service units that would otherwise build, operate, and manage physical data center facilities. A high level of technical skill is required. Northwestern IT does not provide support services to tenants to manage their VDC. Applicants not in alignment with NUCloud’s purpose or required skill levels will be referred to other services or current NUCloud tenants who serve their school, department, or business unit. Information including, roles, responsibilities, and service levels can be found in the NUCloud Terms of Service pdf.

Current NUCloud Tenants

University School, Department, or Business Unit Date of Tenancy Contact
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences June 2012 Matt Ivaliotus
University Library June 2012 Robert Trautvetter
Medill School of Journalism August 2012 Greg Schrader
Office for Research August 2013 Dan Volocyk
Office of Alumni Relations and Development August 2013 Paul Matijevic
Law School August 2013 Crystal Bridges
Division of Student Affairs August 2013 Jim Roberts
School of Professional Studies October 2013 Ken Woo
Feinberg School of Medicine October 2013 Jonathan Lewis

Payment Options and Pricing

Participation in the fee-based NUCloud service environment requires a two-year commitment. Two payment options are available:

One-time Two Year Prepayment Option

Under this option, Northwestern IT will charge the tenant the full fee for two years of service for the VDC size requested.  This pre-payment also fixes the Base Fee Schedule for the two years. Adding to the VDC in the future must be prepaid in full through the remainder of the term under the Base Fee Schedule established at initial subscription.

Example: Subscribing at the start of FY17 fixes the Base Fee Schedule at pricing effective in FY17. If the tenant wishes to add additional VDC capacity in FY18, the cost is pro-rated annually for the remainder of the term based upon the FY17 Base Fee funds, pre-paying for two years of service for the VDC size requested. This pre-payment will fix the Base Fee for the two years.  Adding to the VDC in the future must be prepaid in full through FY18 at the Base Fee Schedule and not the then current FY17 pricing.

At the end of the two year term, service may be renewed at the pricing then in effect.

Annual Payment Option

Under this option, Northwestern IT will charge the tenant an annual fee at the start of each fiscal year for the VDC size requested. Pricing for future fiscal years will be determined and published on this website in April for the coming year. Any year-to-year price increase will not exceed 5% over the prior year.  A mid-year addition to the VDC is paid in full for the fiscal year at the current annual rate.

At the end of the two year term, the tenant will have the option to extend service under these terms for a third year, after which a new multi-year agreement will be required.

FY17 Hosting Fees/Payment

Storage Small Medium Large

Additional Compute

Data/Protection Storage
Bundled Unit of vCPU, RAM 9 18 24
CPU (GHZ) 8.96 17.92 23.81 1
RAM (GB) 90 180 240 10
Total Storage (TB) 2 3 5 1
Payment Options
Two Year Pre-payment $4,338 $7,842 $11,265 $298 $834
Annual Payment $2,169 $3,921 $5,633 $149 $417

Consultation and Support

Northwestern IT Data Center staff is available to assist interested campus members in determining their virtual environment needs when applying for tenancy in NUCloud including advice on VDC sizing calculations. Contact Steve Kwak, associate director, Northwestern IT Processing and Information Platform Services, to schedule a consultation.

Last Updated: 9 October 2017

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