IT solutions provider, Logicalis has begun a £1.7million data centre refresh project at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). Procured via JANET (Joint Academic Network), the project will enable a hybrid cloud approach, providing an agile IT infrastructure for high-availability services to support the student experience and help meet the university’s ambitions for a 48% carbon reduction by 2020.
NTU has 3,500 professional and academic staff members and 28,000 students spread across three campuses, all with a growing thirst for technology innovation in the learning environment. With its existing data centre equipment becoming outdated, the university sought a new approach to support its strategic imperatives for delivering agile, cost effective and green IT services. Amanda Ferguson, Infrastructure Services Manager at NTU, explains:
“We last invested in refreshing the data centre facility, that’s spread across two sites, in 2009. Five years on, when discussions started around updating, we knew we wanted the means to gain greater flexibility as well as efficiency. We want the ability to move data and workloads to the most appropriate place for delivery and performance at certain points during the year. With this project, we’re preparing for a hybrid cloud approach, where we can keep business critical data on premise and then push other stuff out to the cloud as and when required.”
NTU opted to go through the JANET Cloud and Data Centre Framework, and following a very rigorous bidding process chose to partner with Logicalis, the first commercial supplier to connect directly into JANET. Ferguson continues, “JANET’s pre-tendered framework made finding the right supplier easy. Without it, it could have taken us around 14 months, but here we kicked off the selection process and placed our order within just six! As well as saving us time, we had worked with Logicalis in the past, and were confident that this project played to their strengths as an organisation".
NTU and Logicalis are reducing the cabinets in the onsite data centre facility from nine down to just three. This not only provides a considerable saving for the university on capital expenditure, but it also puts NTU firmly on track to meet its target of a 48% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, as Ferguson explains:
“Just with fewer servers we’re looking at a 40% reduction in power consumption and cooling. More than that, we’ve spent less than half of the 2009 refresh on this new infrastructure approach, and we’re getting far more for the money.”
The project is nearing completion and the next stage will see the installation of peer persistence on the storage array. According to Ferguson, this is the final piece in the puzzle for its high availability objectives, “We will be able to push data out to the cloud quickly and easily. Being able to move servers around internally and externally depending on need in this way will create the optimal environment for us.
“Student and user experience is paramount and as we innovate and evolve to meet growing technology expectations, there’s an ever increasing demand for capacity. The flexibility and elasticity this new infrastructure approach is our answer to achieving our goal of high performance where and when we need it.”
Mark Starkey, MD of Logicalis UK, concludes, "This is a great example of a client partnership, where we‘re closely collaborating with the university to deliver an agile environment that will provide strategic goals both short and long term. Having worked with the university on a number of projects over the last decade, we understand the pressures and requirements for delivering optimal services to an increasingly tech-demanding student and staff base. We look forward to more collaboration with NTU in the future as the project, and our partnership, evolves.”