Deakin Uni chooses Cisco Unified Computing for data centre

Green data centre strategy and faster response times key to project outcomes.

Deakin University will move to the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform for its next-generation data centre.

The research university aims to streamline its data centre resources, reduce infrastructure costs and improve business agility. IT services company, Dimension Data, has worked with the institution to design and support the deployment of the system.

The university’s information technology department supports 300 software applications for more than 34,000 students and 2600 academic and administrative staff. It hopes the new Unified Computing system will improve responsiveness by accelerating the delivery of applications from weeks to minutes.

The system also provides single point of management for server, network and storage access, reducing setup and management overheads as well as cooling and cabling needs, according to networks manager, Simon Mills.

“The deployment of the Cisco Unified Computing System will allow the department to be so much more responsive and efficient,” he said in a statement. “It will enable us to maximise resources and give us the opportunity to shift our focus from IT maintenance to technology innovation.”

Deakin will use the new system to roll out online English-learning programs, a new external exam-booking system for student, and a course materials dispatch and tracking system.

It is also working to implement a new Learning Management System which will be accessed by more than 20,000 students each day.

The university is also looking to reduce the carbon footprint of its date centre and is considering systems to help measure, monitor and reduce the energy consumption of devices connected to the network, such as phones, laptops and wireless access points as well as building systems such as lights, elevators, and air conditioning and heating. The goal is to save up to 20 per cent in energy consumption.

The university has outlined an ambitious Green Data Centre agenda as part of its strategic plan. Group manager of maintenance and operations, Ian Alford, said by working cross-functionally with IT, the team was able to shift resources to better align with university initiatives such as faster growth, increased research investment, and our environment sustainability initiatives.

The Deakin University move comes after Western Australia’s Curtin University announced it was conducting a trial of the UCS technology and is a significant win for Cisco.

The UCS platform was first announced in March 2009 and has been received well by many analysts and IT managers despite slow initial sales.

UCS is designed to tightly integrate computing, networking, storage access and virtualisation into a single platform. It features memory extension technology for scaling virtual machines (VM); virtual adapters to reduce the number of physical adapters in a server; embedded management; and service profiles designed to stay with a VM as it moves around an enterprise.

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