Supporting technology-enabled learning

Lakes College West Cumbria (LCWC) provides a range of training and educational opportunities on every level from apprenticeships to university. Lakes College supports approximately 7,500 users, including students and staff, who rely on a number of technology-enabled academic services. These business-critical applications and services depend on a reliable infrastructure foundation, so the college looked to expand their virtualisation strategy in order to improve their IT environment and better support end users.

Improving power efficiency and saving money on energy costs were also drivers behind the project, in addition to the impact that an improved, virtualised infrastructure solution would have on the college’s IT team. Neil Hamblin, Computer Services and Systems Manager at Lakes College West Cumbria, explains: “Reducing our power and cooling requirements was a primary consideration, but it was also important for my team to be able to provision services and servers a lot more quickly and robustly than before.”

Supporting technology-enabled learning

The current IT environment also posed potential problems for students and staff. With the present setup, a server issue would lead to a temporary loss of service. In real terms, this means that students wouldn’t be able to access their virtual learning environment, an intranet-based portal that offers access to interactive learning opportunities and resources including course handbooks, recorded lectures and webinars. Lakes College is committed to developing and promoting technology-enhanced learning, so maintaining access to these services is critical. Reliable access to these services is also essential for students who take advantage of the college’s distance or flexible learning opportunities.

ANS worked with Lakes College on a Readiness Assessment, which includes a capacity planning exercise designed to gain accurate usage and performance statistics, which were then used to develop a business case. Neil Hamblin explains: “ANS had the best value tender and we had a very positive experience with them throughout the capacity planning exercise. The assessment resulted in a well thought out, well-constructed report that highlighted exactly what we could achieve. It really gave us the confidence that ANS had the skills and capabilities we needed in a partner.”

The environment is definitely much improved and the team is a lot happier using the new system. They have an up to date, modern system that is not only fit for purpose, but that we can see will be continue to be fit for purpose over the next few years. Neil Hamblin, Computer Services and Systems Manager, Lakes College
  • ANS designed and implemented a Managed Infrastructure Service built on FlexPod technology.
  • An innovative infrastructure solution that hosts the college’s existing physical servers and associated services.
  • FlexPod comprises best of breed technologies from NetApp, Cisco and VMware.
  • Cisco UCS unifies the infrastructure and reduces the number of management points for the network.
  • Cisco Nexus switches provide the power to run the data centre with the required high availability and performance.
  • NetApp storage uses thin provisioning and deduplication technologies to offer storage that can run at 90% efficiency.
  • VMware vSphere increases the efficiency of the NetApp storage.
  • ANS’ Managed Infrastructure Service is supported by an award-winning, ITIL-accredited Service Management team that works closely with customers’ internal IT team.
  • With ANS providing maintenance and management support, the college can focus on change and improvement.
  • The project has enabled Lakes College to meet their objectives and create an infrastructure foundation that will put them in good stead over the coming years.
  • By moving key systems and applications to virtual machines, the college has achieved increased flexibility and reliability.
  • With ANS providing maintenance and management support, the college can focus on change and improvement.
  • With a more secure platform, the college is not only capable of running their mission critical applications in line with current capacity and needs, but has the latent capacity for future growth.
  • With increased system performance, the platform improves service levels even as the number of students increases.
  • It also increases uptime and allows essential maintenance to be carried out ‘in hours’ without disrupting service.
  • As anticipated, the new infrastructure has improved the daily experience for the college’s IT team.
  • A reliable infrastructure solution underpins all business functions, so with a future-proofed IT infrastructure, the college will be able to easily support future organisational changes.
  • Lakes can accommodate that and scale their infrastructure up and out without needing to replace underlying components or change their technology.

Features and Benefits

ANS’ Managed Infrastructure Service is designed to be flexible and adaptable to any business needs, so it provides the perfect foundation for Lakes to grow on, whether they are developing new e-services or increasing their student population.

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