UA announces ACS business continuity gift worth $6.8 million
University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton and Liane Pelletier,
president and chief executive officer of Alaska Communications
Systems, today announced a gift that will greatly enhance the
university's disaster recovery for mission-critical online
The gift, which will allow near seamless continuity of core university
online functions should a major disruption occur, is worth an
estimated $6.8 million.
"This generous gift from ACS allows the University of Alaska System to
operate smoothly and efficiently should something happen to our Data
Center here in Fairbanks," Hamilton said. "It's important that our
32,000 students and 8,000 faculty and staff members know that the
online functions they rely on-key aspects such as payroll, accounting,
student loan processing, student and human resource records management
and electronic teaching tools---have backup support for as long as
The ACS gift provides UA with a backup data center for its most
important online functions at ACS' facility in Hillsboro, Ore., along
with all the necessary connectivity for the university's core systems.
This will allow UA to continue online operations that would otherwise
be disrupted in the wake of a major disaster or outage.
Technology staff members make backup data tapes daily and store them
off-site, but if the university's primary data center were to go
off-line for an extended time period, business operations would be
disrupted at great cost. With the ACS gift, these online functions
will continue within 30 to 60 minutes, at no cost to the university.
"ACS is proud to give back to the community and support the mission of
the university," said Pelletier. "Our remote data hosting facilities
are an excellent example of how ACS is bringing state-of-the art
enterprise applications to Alaska, a state with a heightened exposure
to natural disasters. We are pleased to offer business continuity
infrastructure for one of the state's largest and most important
The gift comes at no cost to the university for five years, including
maintenance at the Oregon facility.
"With the use of online technology as the dominant method of
conducting the university's business, everything from human resources
to student grades, it's essential we have a solid business continuity
plan with no single point of failure," said Steve Smith, chief
information technology officer for the UA System. "This takes care of
our biggest single vulnerability with our online services, and is
possible thanks to our partnership with ACS."
Mary Rutherford, president of the UA Foundation, said the company's
generosity sets a wonderful example of philanthropy. "The university's
many constituencies---our students, faculty, staff, alumni, business
partners and athletics boosters---all benefit from this gift,"
The gift includes the secure physical location in Hillsboro with space
and connectivity for university equipment; connectivity between the
university and the outside world in the event of a disaster; and
maintenance and all environmental systems required for such an
off-site facility. The gift agreement extends to 2015.