CHEVALIER COLLEGE DEPLOYS BROCADE VCS FABRIC AND SWITCHING SOLUTIONS FOR “BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE” NETWORK
Independent College Pioneers High-Performance Networking with Brocade to Extend WiFi Capabilities by 400 Percent
Bangalore, India; September 10, 2014 – Following an end-to-end upgrade with Brocade® switching infrastructure based on Brocade VCS® Fabric technology, Chevalier College, located near Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands, now has the benefit of a highly automated, scalable, and resilient network. The upgraded network has enabled the College to increase WiFi capacity by 400 percent, providing more than 1,100 students access to the College campus network from their own mobile devices for the first time.
Chevalier College is a co-educational secondary day school, owned by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, which provides affordable high-quality education to students from Catholic families and those of other faiths. In common with schools across the country, the college had been looking for a cost-effective solution to the challenge posed by the increasing use of multimedia video content, Web-based learning, and mobile devices in the classroom and across the campus.
“We’ve had a campus-wide WiFi network in place for the last five years, but many areas were speed-limited to approximately 20 percent of capacity due to bottlenecks caused by our previous switching infrastructure,” said Adrian Burgess, Chevalier College’s IT manager. “We wanted to increase capacity for students to be able to use their own mobile devices – in addition to nearly 900 desktop and tablet devices the school operates for staff and students – which meant we needed to upgrade our core and edge switches.”
The new network had to meet tight budget requirements while providing a robust core switching platform that would provide a road map for future capacity expansion. Brocade partner, ASI Solutions, which has extensive experience in IT solutions for the education sector, devised a proposal that not only met the performance and budget criteria for the College, but also offered advanced capabilities that have enabled it to transform its data storage environment.
The core of the new Chevalier College network utilizes Brocade VCS Fabric technology and Brocade VDX® 6720 switches. Usually deployed in cloud data centers, Brocade VDX switches form a high-performance, highly resilient, scalable, and self-managing Ethernet fabric, which in turn supports wire-speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) backbone connectivity. When the College needs to increase core network capacity, it simply has to connect another Brocade VDX switch into the fabric, delivering almost limitless scalability and reliability.
To provide 1 GbE network access and to support WiFi access points, Chevalier College has also deployed Brocade ICX® switches. A combination of Brocade ICX 6610 switches and Brocade ICX 6450 switches are placed throughout the rest of the college campus. These competitively priced stackable devices provide capabilities typical of enterprise-class chassis switches – such as support for virtual LANs and 10 GbE fiber uplinks.
“Chevalier College is pioneering in terms of using Brocade VDX fabric switches for its school campus network core instead of a conventional chassis switch – and we are starting to see this becoming a lot more common,” said Gary Denman, Senior Director, Australia and New Zealand for Brocade. “In addition to providing cost-effective performance and scalability, the level of intelligence embedded in the fabric makes a significant difference to network operation. This is complemented by the Brocade HyperEdge® Architecture supported in Brocade ICX switches to automate network lifecycle management and share services, enabling the College to reduce network complexity and costs.”
The availability of low-latency 10 GbE capacity and VLAN support has also allowed Chevalier College to deploy over 40 terabytes of network data storage in the form of two Coraid EtherDrive VSX appliances. These use the ATA-over-Ethernet protocol to provide network users with fast virtual disk drives while giving the school advanced data management features such as logical volume management, snapshots, cloning, mirroring, and remote replication.
“The network upgrade with Brocade technology providing a 10 GbE backbone has been a huge success. Reliability and throughput are much better, and there’s been a significant reduction in overall network latency. Despite students now bringing in their own laptops and tablets, people are commenting that the network is much faster. The Brocade solution is also very cost-effective. We’re enjoying 15 to 20 percent cost savings across the board,” said Burgess.