The problem

C>Ways partnership with Leeds Beckett University started in 2004 as the result of its successful appointment, following an intensive public tendering process. During this 12-year period the University’s network infrastructure has undergone two major network refreshes, both carried out by C>Ways. We designed the network and change control procedure in order to ensure quality, structure and organisation for the project; and the latest upgrade of the WAN has seen the introduction of software designed networking (using Avaya Fabric).

The Solution

The University places great importance on the quality and reliability of the technology services it delivers to its students. With technological demand increasing, these are uniquely challenging times for IT teams working in UK universities. Cuts to Government funding makes the education sector a more competitive environment and for IT departments, thus creating a high benchmark to deliver world-class services that will attract those students, and which can be accessed from anywhere, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Students now have easy access to an ever-increasing array of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices, all of which are shifting expectations of how learning experiences should be delivered.

Combined, these factors mean that IT departments need to continually improve infrastructure and services, all on a limited budget. The need to find new, more flexible ways of building IT infrastructure has never been greater.

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

Looking to the future C>Ways are collaborating with the University to deliver secure flexible service based networks across the entire WAN. This will allow the University to optimise and right-size WAN links, introducing cost savings and guaranteeing resilience. C>Ways have delivered Leeds Beckett University a high-profile IT infrastructure solution, which fully satisfies the business need, and provides a sound foundation for future development projects.

"We've moved from a situation where we had a very large flat network to a subnetted architecture with VLANs per location. We now have a very stable core network that has really moved us on in terms of flexibility and resilience. From there we've been able to overlay crucial new services such as CCTV, VOIP, retail systems, and also staff and student data services."

Steve Keating

Communications Consultants, Leeds Beckett University

Extreme Networks

Find out more about our strategic partnership with Extreme Networks.