The higher education market is flooded with choices. With community colleges, vocational schools, and online universities, students have more options than ever to decide where to focus their studies and their funds. Given the abundance of options available to students, many higher education institutions are turning to technology to gain a competitive advantage and to better support their main missions of education and research.
In fact, EDUCAUSE recently published its 2017 Top 10 IT Issues for Higher Education, highlighting several technological strategies that will help institutions become more competitive, including:
- Student success and completion: Effectively applying data and predictive analytics to improve student success and completion
- Data-informed decision making: Ensuring that business intelligence, reporting and analytics are relevant, convenient and used by administrators, faculty and students
But before IT can help make institutions more competitive, they must first focus on improving underlying infrastructure, another top issue EDUCAUSE picked up on. The list noted that institutions need to develop and implement enterprise IT applications, architectures, and sourcing strategies to achieve agility, scalability, cost-efficiency, and effective analytics.
These organizations must cater to a vast mix of end users that require high availability, reliability, and top-tier performance. So it should come as no surprise that higher education establishments across the globe are adopting hyperconverged infrastructure to not only gain a competitive advantage and deliver a great experience to students and faculty, but also to ensure that end users don’t miss a beat in the event of a disaster or failure.
As a leader in hyperconverged infrastructure, SimpliVity delivers on the promise of simplified IT for organizations in all verticals. Higher ed organizations are no exception as many leading universities are implementing SimpliVity to improve their data protection strategies whilst driving business value and improving end user experience.
Understanding that the stakes are high for universities, Harold Shin, CTO of the Humanities Department at UCLA, began looking for an infrastructure solution that could meet the organization’s backup and retention needs. When he learned about SimpliVity’s disaster recovery capabilities, he called it a “no-brainer.” Before SimpliVity, UCLA was running daily backups with only a 30-day retention window. With SimpliVity, Harold is able to keep hourly backups and keep a full copy for disaster recovery that can roll back 24 hours. In the event of a failure or a disaster, UCLA can recover and restore in just seconds to minutes! Students and staff would likely never even feel it. With SimpliVity, UCLA now has a sound disaster recovery strategy and also benefits from improved data efficiency and operational efficiency thanks to the simplicity of the infrastructure. These are all things that help students be successful and it all happens behind the scenes so that students don’t have to worry about IT operations – and that’s how it should be.
SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure addresses a whole host of use cases for higher education organizations, in addition to disaster recovery, that help make colleges and universities more appealing to students, including improved application performance, VDI, and cloud deployment.
For example, Zurich University of Applied Science (ZHAW) refreshed its IT infrastructure to support a VDI environment. The university’s VDI was growing as each new semester came with new requests for “high-end” desktops that supported NVIDIA GRID. NVIDIA’s GRID™ technology offers the ability to offload graphics processing from the CPU to the GPU in virtualized environments, allowing the data center manager the freedom to deliver graphics-rich experiences to more virtual users. Prior to SimpliVity, ZHAW was unhappy with its NetApp metrocluster, which was difficult to configure, manage, and operate. ZHAW chose SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure because of its exceptional performance, efficiency, storage, and administration as an integrated unit with Cisco UCS and NVIDIA GRID. After deploying OmniStack with Cisco UCS at two sites, ZHAW not only benefited from improved data efficiency and centralized management of its environment, but perhaps more importantly, the university is now able to provide students with improved performance during peak periods and demand spikes.
Every type of organization faces IT issues that need solving, but as EDUCAUSE lists, higher ed customers must solve as many problems as they have end users to cater to – and attract. SimpliVity is leading the charge to meet these needs and exceed expectations with a simple, agile, and cost-effective solution.