UWS first to reap benefits of strategic storage alliance
The University of Western Sydney (UWS) has selected the Sun Microsystems and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) alliance for its largest IT project to date, signing a $5.5 million contract with the two companies over the next four years.
The University, the third largest in NSW, is consolidating more than 15 servers across three computer rooms into two new data centres with a tailored architecture, to meet the existing and emerging eLearning needs of the institution.
It has been partly funded by the Greater Western Sydney Learning Network (GWSLN) -- a UWS initiative funded by the Federal Government and aimed at establishing a comprehensive learning network across the region. UWS will act as the hub of the network, with TAFE colleges and other participating learning institutions.
eLearning is fast gaining credibility as a mode of learning, not only within the education sector but also across broader segments. IDC predicts that by 2005 Australian businesses will spend AUD$161 million on eLearning, up from current spend of AUD$24 million.
The UWS system will provide students at the university with more flexible options, according to Mick Houlahan, Director of IT Services.
"Already, many of the University's courses are delivered electronically. It enables overseas students to access the learning material as though they were attending the universityin person," he said.
"To implement the system, we required a solution that had the reliability and scalability to support up to 39,000 students and 3,000 staff, including all of their email, data and ongoing applications."
Previously, the server infrastructure at UWS comprised multiple small to medium sized servers from different vendors across multiple campus locations. When the University underwent a major restructure in January 2001, the disparate systems could not cope with the increased load and the decision was made to move all applications across to a Sun system.
The data centres will operate using two Sun Enterprise[tm] 10000 servers, each with 40 CPUs. The University has also purchased two Sun StorEdge[tm] 9960 systems and a StorEdge L700 Tape Library.
Paul Hardaker, Manager, IT Infrastructure at the university, believes the configuration delivers unprecedented advantages to the university. Primarily, the consolidation into two servers from multiple servers each with little or no built-in redundancy means there is no longer a single point of failure, he said.
Additionally, with two identical systems located at separate locations with data mirroring between the sites, the design has a built-in disaster recovery capability and allows for a state-of-the art data backup architecture.
Finally, CPU, memory and disk capacity can be allocated to different applications in an extremely flexible and effective way. The existing systems are also highly upgradable if and when required. This facility of the Sun Enterprise 10000 servers makes it possible for UWS to temporarily augment computing and/or disk storage to particular applications during peak demand or processing periods.
The HDS storage products -- the two Sun StorEdge 9960 systems configured with TrueCopy software for data replication and connected via Brocade fibre channel switches -- offer remote mirroring to ensure data recovery between the two data centres.
Andrew Fox, General Manager and Vice-President, HDS, confirmed this was the first significant win for the storage company in the education sector. Our recent alliance with Sun enables HDS to gain a foothold in new vertical markets.
The alliance of Sun and Hitachi Data Systems for high-end storage solutions means organisations, such as UWS, can benefit from the interoperability of best-of-breed storage and server platforms, he added.
John Fennell, National Product Sales Manager, Sun Microsystems, believes the Sun-HDS alliance has strengthened the company s position in the market. This alliance has taken us to a higher level in the storage marketplace, with capabilities to offer enterprise class data centre storage solutions as is the case with UWS. This includes high level of data integrity and availability as well as connection to a variety of servers and operating systems.
The full partnership with HDS extends to the training of our engineers in their solutions, so we can offer data centre customers a complete service from installation of high-end storage solutions to ongoing service and support.
As part of the deal, UWS has signed a four-year, $1.5 million maintenance contract with Sun to ensure the smooth implementation and operation of the system, with University staff undergoing training programs with Sun Educational Services.
In what has been the single biggest IT project at the University to date, Sun and HDS have adopted a thorough and comprehensive approach, said Houlahan. Clearly, they are not just pushing boxes but are committed to delivering a total solution.
About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision The Network Is The Computer" - has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that power the Internet and allow companies worldwide to take their businesses to the nth. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at http://www.sun.com.au
About Hitachi Data Systems
Hitachi Data Systems is a leading supplier of storage hardware, software, solutions and services. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT), Japan's largest electronics company, Hitachi Data Systems is committed to providing the technological infrastructure for the world's most information-intensive corporations. Hitachi Data Systems Customers include more than 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies. For more information, please visit the company s Website at http://www.hds.com.au.
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