UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER CASE STUDY

The University of Westminster is one of London’s largest and most highly regarded higher education institutions. It has a large and diverse population with more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations. Westminster has four campuses across the capital.

The University is keen to attract international students, and therefore high quality IT services are critical from a business perspective as well as an operational one. The challenge moving forward is to keep pace with the growing demands for high-speed connectivity whilst delivering increased resilience across the network infrastructure.

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Kept ahead of user expectations around capacity, availability and speed

University of Westminster - Removal of a single point icon

Removal of a single point of failure and improved the user experience

University of Westminster - Streamlined costs icon

Streamlined costs with management and maintenance spend removed

Challenges

The University of Westminster’s ITteam wanted to explore engineering astep-change in its network provision as a means of future-proofing and ensuring its ability to deliver services to both students and staff. Specifically it wanted to:

  • Keep ahead of users’ ever-increasing need for bandwidth
  • Deliver a fast, stable platform to caterfor the trend in data-intensive activities such as video calls, gaming and media streaming
  • Address a vulnerability in its network architecture that saw the University over-reliant on a single connection between its two data centres
  • Introduce a level of resilience and continuity that will reroute traffic before users are even aware of a problem

Daniel Halter, Head of IT Infrastructure at the University of Westminster, explains: “When you are providing IT services for international students, the appetite for faster connection speeds and greater bandwidth will just keep growing. Our students are online constantly, and they expect to be able to access content, use online applications and collaborate on their studies without any interruptions.”

“Our network infrastructure is relied upon for everything from student information applications and Voice Over IP (VOIP) communications systems to our 24/7 library services, so any fault has an instant impact on both staff and students.”

“The single point of failure was a major concern and we did suffer a number of outages, which could only be resolved manually by our on-site teams. So this project was about putting ourselves on the best possible footing and ahead of the curve – without having to constantly reinvent and reinvest.”

This project was about putting ourselves on the best possible footing and ahead of the curve – without having to constantly reinvent and reinvest.

How Redcentric helped

Following a competitive tender process, Redcentric’s ICT services team upgraded the network environment with the deployment of Brocade’s MLX Series core routers.

Built on a programmable architecture with high-density 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), 40 GbE, and 10 GbE routing, Brocade’s MLX Series core routers are designed to meet massive bandwidth demands, while maximizing return on investment (ROI).

The project also saw the installation of a NetIron CES 2000 Series switch at the University’s Marylebone Campus to deliver IP routing and advanced Carrier Ethernet capabilities.

We’ve been very impressed by Redcentric throughout. There was a clear understanding of the demands of the University environment, they listened to what we wanted and where we needed to be, and have designed and delivered a solution – smoothly and efficiently – that enables us to comfortably stay ahead of user expectations.

Business benefits

Daniel is very clear on the value of the Redcentric team and the project it has delivered: “We’ve been very impressed by Redcentric throughout. There was a clear understanding of the demands of the University environment, they listened to what we wanted and where we needed to be, and have designed and delivered a solution – smoothly and efficiently – that enables us to comfortably stay ahead of user expectations.”

Improved performance

The University of Westminster can now meet student expectations of constant, high-speed connectivity, enabling them to study, socialise, game and stream across numerous devices.

Enhanced business continuity

The previous network vulnerability has been removed, with traffic now able to be rerouted seamlessly with no impact or interruption to users.

Greater cost efficiencies

The Brocade deployment has enabled the University to streamline and rationalise its infrastructure, with the same technology now in both data centres reducing the management and maintenance burden accordingly.

Increased flexibility

The solution has the scope and flexibility to be a strong foundation for future evolution and strategic development. There’s now a robust platform in place on which the University can build, taking advantageof emerging technologies such as Software-Defined Networking to ensure it can remain ahead of the curve for many years to come.

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