University of Salford case study: data storage and security

BT helps transform data storage and security for the University of Salford with a forward thinking datacentre network.

As one of the UK’s most successful, enterprising universities, with a tradition of ground-breaking research, it was important for the University of Salford to offer the very best ICT services to reflect its dynamism.

With almost 16,000 undergraduates, nearly 4,000 postgraduates and approximately 2,600 staff, it was vital to have a datacentre network that was innovative and would support a new virtualised server and storage requirements.

Having established a successful global presence with three colleges, 12 schools and a reputation for being closely attuned to the needs of business, it’s vital that we have a scalable, reliable and future proofed datacentre for the next decade.

- Derek Drury, Chief information officer, University of Salford

With the majority of its server estate approaching the end of its life and most of the infrastructure located in a single datacentre with limited disaster recovery capability, the University turned to BT to upgrade it.

BT provided the University of Salford with a Cisco Data Center 3.0 to support voice, data and a full suite of applications and services used across multiple campus buildings.

“As well as addressing the here and now, the solution has been specifically designed to facilitate future opportunities. The datacentre network will support and run the University’s new MediaCity site at Salford Quays. This exciting development will create a Research & Development opportunity with the BBC and develop future full time employment opportunities for students. Other plans for the network include a multi-site upgrade of IPT systems.”

As an existing, trusted partner of the University of Salford, BT was ideally placed to understand and fulfil the University’s requirement for a long term strategic, collaborative partner to deploy a solution that would enhance the reputation and economic success of both parties.

Its close working relationship with Cisco and proven track record with their deployments made BT the natural partner of choice for the University, completing the installation within 120 days - ahead of schedule and with minimal disruption to existing users.

“The solution is leading edge, the first of its kind operational within the Higher Education sector," says Derek. “BT had strong credentials in delivering similar projects, with positive customer feedback. They took the time to understand our specific needs and tailored the solution to the University’s budget. It’s extremely important to us to build partnerships with our IT suppliers so we can get their view on the new technology. Having a high profile partner in very technical areas is absolutely crucial - it allows us to really tailor the solution in a way that we otherwise wouldn’t have time to.”

The solution has involved replacing every piece of network and technology within the infrastructure, utilising the latest technology to supply one single 10Gb datacentre network across the entire campus, including the MediaCity site, to cope with the additional demands of transferring media files as well as all their datacentres and VoIP telephone systems.

A new management platform has provided the University with simplified network management and configuration, as well as security and monitoring. BT has fully trained the University staff in operating the new systems and has provided the added reassurance of a 24x7 help desk and on-going maintenance and support of the network.

The datacentre has been housed in two separate buildings, enabling enhanced operational continuity and disaster recovery capability. Network security has been centralised into a single solution that uses the latest ASA and IPS services to provide state of the art network protection and monitoring.

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