Daramalan College, Australia, upgrades IT infrastructure with Brocade’s Ethernet fabric

Telecom Lead Asia: Brocade announced that Daramalan College, Australia, has deployed Brocade’s Ethernet fabric to support its IT operations.

The college is the largest single-campus independent secondary school in Canberra.

Over the last two years it has undertaken a comprehensive revamp of its network infrastructure with local Brocade partner, Correct Communications, as part of its efforts to create a “best-practice” design.

“With the improvements we’ve made to the core network and campus LAN, it was obvious that server access had become the performance bottleneck,” said Rob Wilson, Daramalan College’s IT manager. “In a sense we’d become victims of our own success. Staff and student usage has become more intensive since the campus network upgrade, and I’m expecting traffic to at least double in the next two years.”

The college had also started to virtualize its server environment but, with a single 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connection per server having to support virtual machines and a virtual LAN connection to the storage array, performance was being impacted.

While upgrading the server access to 10 Gigabit Ethernet was a consideration, the college also wanted to ensure it had the right infrastructure in place to meet their future requirements including supporting the BYOD initiatives.

Having succeeded in two previous network upgrades with Brocade Ethernet switches, the college adopted Brocade VCS Fabric technology to facilitate the college’s transition to a flexible, mission-critical, fabric-based network designed to support highly virtualized operations.

Brocade VDX 6720 switches are deployed as the high-availability infrastructure connecting Daramalan College’s server farm to the rest of its network. The switches are interconnected over multiple 10 Gigabit Ethernet links, creating a low-latency, single-layer Ethernet fabric with multiple 10 GbE links to the college’s Brocade-based core network.

As a result, the college is able to establish fully redundant, high-bandwidth connections to its servers and storage array, with each device being connected to the Brocade VDX 6720 switches over 10GbE links that, thanks to the intelligence of Brocade VCS Fabric technology, are load-balanced to maximize performance.

In addition, the switches transform the way servers talk to each other – which is critical in highly virtualized environments – automatically establishing high-performance virtual machine-aware connections over the Ethernet fabric without any legacy network protocol issues.

Wilson is already benefitting from a dramatic reduction in network administration workload, the company said. With Brocade switching infrastructure now in place at the network edge, core and server levels, the IT staff has deployed a single easy-to-use, GUI-based management platform for the entire network.

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