University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews has implemented a Dell Compellent storage solution, with a substantial strategic investment.

The solution, which was designed and implemented by managed services provider, Esteem Systems, will provide a robust, centralised data storage repository that underpins core databases, file stores and research data ; and heavily contribute to the University’s objective of becoming carbon neutral by 2016.

Steve Watt, Chief Information Officer at the University of St Andrews said, “Our previous storage infrastructure was unable to meet our data requirements; we had multiple islands of storage infrastructure which were difficult to manage and the solutions were neither cost nor energy efficient.”

Steve said, “Students and staff expect to be able to access University systems on a 24/7 basis, using any device and from any location. The Dell Compellent SANs will ensure the availability and security of our data, without restricting access.”

The solution will also centralise the University’s research data, providing instant access to data which can be shared securely among internal and external researchers.

The Dell Compellent SANs will be housed at the University’s production and Disaster Recovery (DR) sites. Steve said, “Having a resilient platform with adequate DR facilities was a key requirement for us; our data is a critical asset for the University which needs a sufficient level of support.”

It was important for this solution to reduce power consumption as a part of the University’s overall plan of becoming carbon neutral. Approximately 30% of the electricity consumed by the University is used to power ICT equipment. Steve commented, “Currently data is stored in over 50 locations. The Dell solution will allow us to consolidate this data and reduce the number of locations used for storage to just 2. This will result in a significant reduction in power required to run and cool these SANs, dramatically reducing our carbon footprint. “

Moving from multiple platforms to a unified Dell solution will also result in an easier to manage platform for the University’s IT team. Steve said, “Having just two SANs to monitor will free up staff time to focus on innovative projects. We want our IT team to be improving processes, rather than maintaining systems.”

The SANs take up less physical space and the Dell “Fluid Data” technology uses much less power to run, whilst significantly increasing data capacity in comparison to the University’s previous storage solution. Steve said “As a leading research and teaching University, it’s critical we embrace new technologies which can help provide a world class IT experience for our students and researchers.”

Esteem, which last year was awarded the Dell European and UK Partner of the Year Award, was awarded the contract under the National Server and Storage Agreement (NSSA). Sales and Marketing Director for Esteem, Alastair Kitching, said: “Educational organisations need to invest in IT in order to meet the ever increasing expectations of students. As a committed Premier Partner of Dell, we are confident of the benefits Dell Compellent technology can bring to an organisation, in order to meet and exceed those expectations.”

Esteem’s consultants are assisting in the migration of the University’s critical data; which is scheduled to be completed by May 2013 and will provide a 5 year mission critical support service as part of the contract.

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“Students and staff expect to be able to access university systems on a 24/7 basis, using any device and from any location. The Dell Compellent SANs will ensure the availability and security of our data, without restricting access." Steve Watt, Chief Information Officer, University of St Andrews

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