London college saves with Dell storage infrastructure

The College of North West London (CNWL) has introduced a new storage system from Dell to increase automation and ease IT management across its three campuses.

The College’s email system, SQL databases, virtual IT environment and CCTV all run off the new storage system and, with an estimated 100 gigabytes of growth every month, CNWL needed a storage platform that could scale to meet its future needs.

To help achieve this CNWL said it needed to replace its existing EMC storage infrastructure with a more scalable, flexible system, that wouldn’t require expensive “rip and replace” upgrades every three to five years, and which would reduce the school’s total cost of ownership.

By splitting its storage solution across three sites and replicating data across those locations, CNWL can ensure that in the event of a power cut or system failure, it suffers no downtime or disruption to the learning process.

CNWL says that in the next five to 10 years it hopes to improve the learning experience of students and teachers through initiatives such as paperless working, and the widespread use of tablets.

Garod Barker, head of IT at the College of North West London, said: “With technology playing an important role in the education process we needed to have the resources available to develop and enhance our IT environment.”

Barker said: “By implementing a Dell storage solution we are able to act pre-emptively and efficiently based on the predictable nature of how the technology works. We’ve also found the instant replay, automation and tiering features particularly useful.”

The new system also provides CNWL with a clear view of annual, weekly and daily usage, allowing the IT team to plan and grow capacity as necessary. Additionally, this feature is valuable to the finance team as the transparency allows them to evaluate their future costs and effectively plan budgets.

The infrastructure change is also supporting the college’s deployment of more virtualised applications using VMware and moving to a Microsoft Lync 2013 telephony system to support unified communications.

These two projects alone have saved the college around £35,000 through the ability to decommission servers, said Barker.