Oxford University Establishes a Secured Data Center for Higher Learning

Oxford University Establishes a Secured Data Center for Higher Learning

Oxford University, a unique and historic institution, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Today it teaches students from more than a hundred and forty countries and has a student population of over twenty thousand.

Being such a huge organization that needs to facilitate so many students, the University has to ensure it has reliable and up to date infrastructure in place. The IT network at the University is controlled by Oxford University Computing Services. The OUCS offers facilities, training and advice to members of the University and is responsible for the core networks reaching all departments and colleges across all campuses.

In 2011, OUCS required a new data centre to allow dual site resiliency with its existing data centre at Banbury Road. The data centre was vital to ensure that the University could maintain a high quality network and they needed an experienced installer to help them with the project. Meeting this requirement, J Brand was chosen to complete the implementation.

After listening to OUCS and understanding their requirements, J Brand chose to use Unite Technologies' power and environmental monitoring solutions, cameras from MOBOTIX, storage products from Overland, cabinets from Cooper B-Line and cable from Excel and CommScope.

The first stage of the data centre was designed as a cold aisle contained pod of communications cabinets. Cabling was run in overhead containment and "waterfalled" into the communications cabinet. Each cabinet was fitted with two 32 Amp intelligent PDU's supplied via a ceiling mounted commando socket and fed from separate UPS's.

The use of the aisle containment from Cooper B-Line was particularly important as it makes the system far more energy efficient as a much smaller area needs cooling. This efficiency goes even further with the use of intelligent PDU's from Unite Technologies, which will allow Oxford University to monitor the power consumption of each department and charge them accordingly. Using intelligent PDU's, OUCS has the capability to remotely monitor and manage what is happening across the University, cutting down man hours and increasing effectiveness.

Another major benefit to this functioning data centre is that it will allow OUCS to rent out cabinet space to University departments and colleges, and also preferably to rent space on virtualized infrastructure provided by OUCS. To work with the cameras, Overland SnapServers were used to store the recorded images. SnapServer network attached storage solutions offer exceptional price/performance ratios, and include legendary ease of use and "set it and forget it" reliability that minimize the demand for IT resources and lower the total cost of ownership of any storage solution.

In total, 16 MOBOTIX cameras were installed and 50 pairs of Excel cables to complete phase 1 of the installation. The benefit of using Excel cable is that when it is installed by an Excel Cabling Partner, like J Brand, the products come with a 25 year warranty, offering long term peace of mind for Oxford University. In addition to this, CommScope copper and multi-mode fiber formed the backbone of the main data centre cabling infrastructure, giving 10Gb/s capability over copper and up to 100Gb/s over fiber as all fiber terminations were carried out using the MPO connector.

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