Coleg Gwent Migrates to Viglen Storage Platform
Coleg Gwent, in Southeast Wales, is the largest Further Education College in Wales, consisting of six campus sites as well as two satellite IT centres. Its mission is to become the most successful college in the UK. One of Britain’s newer colleges, Coleg Gwent, formerly Gwent Tertiary College, was founded in 1992 and has seen a steady rise in both students and staff since then. Currently the institution has more than 35,000 students and approximately 1,500 staff.
The campus sites of Coleg Gwent are all linked by a wide-area network (WAN), with predominantly 100MB connections between sites. Originally the network operating system was based on Novell Netware, using a third party email product on servers with internal disks. Although very happy with Novell and even though the IT staff considered using Novell Groupwise as the backend email system, Coleg Gwent made the decision to standardise on Outlook as their client email system.
The Viglen Storage Group (VSG), who had already been advising Coleg Gwent for several years, tendered for and won the bid because of their recognised and proven ability to deliver solutions that met the college’s needs, without overspending their budget. VSG originally proposed DataCore’s SANsymphony product but soon realised that SANsymphony provided far more than Coleg Gwent initially needed. After consultation VSG finally proposed DataCore’s SANmelody solution, which met all of Coleg Gwent’s technical requirements as well as their budgetary constraints.
VSG decided upon SANmelody because Coleg Gwent needed to replicate between two different storage platforms and DataCore have the best products for this.
VSG Account Manager
Implementing the Solution
The SANmelody solution provides Coleg Gwent with the ability to replicate data from the HDS storage on the main Pontypool site across to the InforTrend storage on the Usk site. SANmelody’s use of commodity-priced memory has provided performance enhancements through its use of buffer/queuing using the cache. Pontypool hosts the main data with high availability provided via two synchronously mirrored storage servers, and Usk provides the DR site with asynchronous mirroring across the WAN.
Looking to the Future
The implementation of DataCore software is one element of the IT Strategic plans for Coleg Gwent. The College has plans to widen the availability for Remote Access to College systems through VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks), Portal services and wireless technology. The college is also implementing an archiving system to provide appropriate storage media dependant on the age and usage of data files.
Viglen Storage Group has been a valued partner to Coleg Gwent for a number of years now. Our relationship has been built around our understanding and awareness of the constraints and challenges Wales largest Further Education College possesses. We won the Prometheus project tender based on our capability to deploy a unique and complex storage infrastructure project over a number of key stages, whilst minimising disruption. I am pleased to confirm that Viglen has met the colleges key performance indicators in a number of areas, particularly that of data retrieval performance. We look forward to supporting the college over the months and years to come, ensuring this capital investment in fully maximised.
Chief Executive Officer, Viglen