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Dutch University Virtualizes Applications, Reduces Costs and Improves Provisioning of Education Applications with Cisco Application Networking Services


Avans University of Applied Sciences, a university with 19,000 students in the South of The Netherlands, expects to reduce the cost, and improve the speed of deployment for new e-learning systems and applications with a Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE). The University will use Cisco ACE to make better use of existing server hardware, centralise management of 230 servers and make application maintenance faster and more efficient.

Virtualization functionality in Cisco ACE will be used to enable University applications - such as web mail, an e-learning portal and a learning management system, as well as applications specific to various department and schools within the University - to be shared across servers making it easier to control applications, simplify management and reduce costs.

Avans estimates the Cisco ACE will help save it €1000 per server by removing the need to buy extra hardware to enable multiple applications to share multiple server resources. Cisco ACE also means the University can develop new services faster and carry out application maintenance during the day without interrupting services to students and staff. Previously, maintenance operations were done out of hours to avoid disruption.

In addition, Avans also expects the Cisco ACE to help the University reduce the number of servers it needs over the next few years by 30 percent.

The Cisco ACE’s will be deployed in two data centers as part of the Cisco® Data Center Network Architecture which Avans has adopted to help make its learning, communication and administration applications available to students and staff quickly and from any University location or remotely.

Hans Marcus, network engineer at Avans said, “The Cisco ACE will make the whole process of developing and managing learning and administration services at Avans much easier. It will help enable more effective use of server resources by virtualizing applications, and support the University in maintaining existing applications more efficiently and deploying new applications faster. Using the server and application virtualization capabilities in Cisco ACE, we will also be able to scale services as demand increases without large increases in hardware investment. .”

Avans’s Cisco data center infrastructure comprises the Cisco Application Control Engine Module (ACE) running on Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches which are located in two data centers in Breda and ’s-Hertogenbosch. The University uses Cisco routers and switches for local area networks at it key sites. These are connected via SURFnet, a fiber optic network used by research and educational institutes across the Netherlands. The Cisco network infrastructure acts as a platform for delivering a range of advanced technologies in the future. The Cisco® Data Center Network solution at Avans is being implemented by IMTECH ICT, a Cisco Silver Certified Partner.

“Organizations like Avans face increasing pressures to improve the reliability and quality of applications while reducing costs. They may have disparate departments with discrete applications that need to be managed and controlled; they may also have a variety of different point products needed for specific educational or operational requirements; and there are security and compliance issues that place additional constraints on how IT can respond,” said Coks Stoffer, general manager, Cisco Netherlands. “As a core part of the Cisco® Data Center Network Architecture and the Cisco ACE Application Control Engine Module, virtualization can give organisations control over their application infrastructure so they can manage, secure and improve application services across the enterprise.”
About Avans Hogenscholen

Avans Hogeschool, the Avans University of Applied Sciences was founded in January 2004 following a merger of Hogeschool Brabant and Hogeschool ’s-Hertogenbosch. It has 19,000 full and part-time students and offers 41 vocational focused courses from international business and economics to health services and computer sciences. It has 19 faculties located in various buildings in three cities - Breda, s-Hertogenbosch and Tilburg - in southern Netherlands.
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