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UK’s Largest Distance-Learning University Taps EMC for Information Lifecycle Management Infrastructure


EMC Provides Common Framework to Unify Storage, Retention, Access and Retrieval of Educational Materials; Significantly Improves Distance- and Supported-Learning Experience

Hopkinton, Mass.-Tuesday, January 24, 2006, EMC Corporation, the world leader in information management and storage, today announced that The Open University, the largest university in the United Kingdom dedicated to distance learning, has signed an agreement to deploy an information lifecycle management (ILM) infrastructure. As one of the top-ranked universities in the United Kingdom based on teaching quality(1), The Open University enlisted EMC to help improve the management, storage, retention, access, retrieval and value of its most important information assets – the educational materials it provides to students.

“Faced with a profusion of data in different file formats – from student materials in the form of audio cassettes and CD-ROM software, to staff materials in the form of PDF reports – we needed a common framework capable of managing a variety of educational materials in an efficient and holistic manner,” said Jed Cawthorne, Project Manager, Enterprise Content Management Procurement at The Open University. “EMC was the only vendor that had a comprehensive, scalable enterprise content management system with comprehensive ILM and an archiving solution that can manage both our internal- and external-facing content. With EMC, we expect to realize significant efficiency gains, and, more importantly, increase the value of information we provide to our students.”

The Open University will deploy the EMC Documentum® enterprise content management software platform; EMC Documentum eRoom™, EMC EmailXtender® and EMC DiskXtender® software; and EMC Centera™ content addressed storage (CAS) system. The Documentum platform provides online learning materials to students from a single point of access, regardless of content type or location. And Documentum eRoom provides an online portal for staff to collaborate and share information on existing and new content. EmailXtender software collects, organizes, retains and retrieves all internal e-mail messages, and DiskXtender software then enables the movement of data to EMC Centera, where the data is retained and protected. Together, these solutions ensure The Open University derives the maximum value from its content, at the lowest cost, at every point in the information lifecycle.

Cawthorne adds, “The management of the information lifecycle is critical to the effectiveness and flexibility of our storage infrastructure. As an educational institution, The Open University must retain all course materials, which leads to a rapid increase in electronic data storage requirements.”

To ensure non-amendable data is archived appropriately and does not take up unnecessary space on the storage area network, university IT staff will use EMC Centera functionality to set rules on documents to assess the life of the information and move all non-critical data to an online archive.

The Open University is the largest university in the United Kingdom dedicated to distance learning. Its mission is to promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality education to all who wish to realize their ambitions and fulfil their potential. Through academic research, pedagogic innovation and collaborative partnerships, The Open University seeks to be a world leader in the design, content and delivery of supported open and distance learning.

(1) Times Higher Education Supplement, September 2005

About The Open University

The Open University is ranked fifth of all U.K. universities for teaching quality in the Sunday Times University Guide 2005. In the independent National Student Survey 2005, The Open University achieved 4.5 out of a possible 5.0 points for “overall satisfaction” among surveyed students – an achievement bettered by none of the other 130 participating universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 1,000 academics are involved in writing materials for more than 200,000 students and in research that ranges from e-learning to space sciences. A further 7,000 people form the university’s group of associate lecturers, who provide personal tutoring and support. For more information, please visit

About EMC

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) is the world leader in products, services and solutions for information management and storage that help organizations extract the maximum value from their information, at the lowest total cost, across every point in the information lifecycle. Information about EMC’s products and services can be found at
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