The problem

Railpen initially engaged FourNet in 2008 to assist with improving and updating their network infrastructure. At that time all Railpen’s services were delivered on approximately 60 physical servers with its own individual dedicated storage, network connections, power consumptions and backup devices. The initial project involved FourNet introducing server consolidation through server virtualisation and centralised storage reducing the 60 physical servers to 6.

The Solution

Following the success of the initial project, in 2010 FourNet designed and installed a fully resilient network infrastructure split between two floors in one building. During 2011 and 2012 FourNet introduced server and storage resiliency between two dedicated data centres within one of their offices which allowed for each of the data centres to be relocated twice during a refurbishment project with zero impact to business operations.

Fabric networking has given the IT infrastructure elasticity that has allowed the University to migrate an entire data centre off-site, thereby recovering valuable teaching space, into which the University can expand with no impact on security or performance. The use of Fabric further allows secure

virtual networks to be created that separate all transactional data, thus eliminating the potential for accessing secure data (intentional or otherwise); whilst also complying with current financial regulations (PCI compliant).

The C>Ways design ethos is based on no single point of failure. The C-Ways delivery plan included the initial up-skilling of University IT staff and a shared roll-out programme, project managed by C>Ways , utilising resource from both the University and C>Ways’ technical teams. C>Ways’ design method has successfully allowed the University to deliver network services, with zero downtime for 12 years, during which, major network change programmes and the introduction of Fabric has occurred.

Return on Investment

As Railpen continued to grow it recognised a requirement for its own dedicated data centre which would provide the necessary business continuity to support that growth. FourNet facilitate this growth through increased storage and network bandwidth to improve performance and designing and implementing the new data centre.

During the lifetime of the partnership FourNet had a vision of the future for Railpen ensuring that each stage of the IT development has been a stepping stone to the bigger picture, taking advantage of the ever evolving IT landscape, crystallising in what we at FourNet have coined ‘Elastic IT’; allowing your IT infrastructure complete freedom to react to your current requirements.

FourNet have made Railpen’s IT ‘elastic’ via the use of virtualisation technology and software to control where applications, and the data created by those applications, are housed. This technology empowers the Railpen IT team to do ‘really clever things’ such as move applications, data and services where they fit best without affecting service. Taking this further, it allows Railpen to use Cloud in an innovative way, they can control what they need to push external into the cloud and what they need to bring out of 3rd party cloud services and back into their data centres.