TAFE boosts network capacity with a SAN

Holmesglen TAFE is providing internal e-mail addresses for up to 55,000 students for the first time through a SAN solution that has increased network access by 30 percent.

The TAFE is one of the first education providers to rollout Internet Protocol (IP) technology from Cisco to reduce implementation and maintenance costs. Known as Small Computer System Interface over IP (iSCSI), it has allowed Holmesglen to streamline its data sharing system, aiming to provide greater flexibility to grow the network as demand for online teaching and network access increases.

Holmesglen manager of information technology Ron Gascoigne claims one of the principal benefits of the new network is greater storage capacity.

"This allows internal e-mail access for all students, something the old system was unable to facilitate. This will reduce student reliance on third-party e-mail, and make it easier for students and the TAFE to communicate," Gascoigne said.

"The SAN is also increasing network capacity from 1Tb to 5.5Tb, helping Holmesglen to better satisfy student needs as they move towards online learning methods."

Gascoigne believes the network, based on Cisco MDS 9216i switching technology, in concert with Hitachi's Thunder 9500V disk arrays, and IBM's eServer BladeCenter, is significantly simplifying infrastructure requirements across the TAFE'S three campuses.

Holmesglen has been able to eliminate reliance on more traditional storage solutions, specifically by avoiding the need to deploy Fibre Channel switch blades within the IBM eServer BladeCenter servers.

TAFE is now investigating off-site storage and disaster recovery centres and hoping to deliver further operational and budget savings in the future.

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