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  • Replacing EMC legacy infrastructure with Dell Storage has allowed for the undertaking of new IT projects, saving approximately £35,000
  • Electricity usage dropped by 12 Amps, the equivalent of running an electric shower 24/7 for a year
  • Scalable solution allows for the implementation of new projects across all sites

The College of North West London (CNWL), a further education college offering a range of courses from beginner to degree level, has introduced a new storage solution from Dell to increase automation and ease IT management across its three campuses. 

CNWL has made a significant investment in IT over the past five years in an effort to reduce costs whilst supporting future development projects.  In the next five to ten years, it hopes to improve the learning experience of the students and teachers through initiatives such as a paperless environment.  The fresh focus on a virtualised environment will enable CNWL to stay in touch with the needs of the modern student and enrich the learning experience by taking advantage of educational benefits offered by mobile devices such as tablets. 

The College’s email system, SQL databases, Virtual environment and CCTV all run off the new storage solution and, with an estimated 100 gigabytes of growth every month, CNWL needed a storage platform that could scale to meet its future needs. To help achieve this, it needed to replace its existing EMC storage infrastructure with a more scalable, flexible solution that wouldn’t require expensive ‘rip and replace’ upgrades every three to five years, which reduce the school’s total cost of ownership.  

Dell Compellent was selected because of its ability to provide a cost-effective, scalable storage solution that will allow for simplified management of data across its three campuses. By splitting the storage solution across three sites and replicating data across those locations, CNWL can ensure that, in the event of a power cut or system failure, it suffers no downtime or disruption to the learning process. Dell Compellent also gives the IT team the tools needed to move away from reactively managing IT. Instead, resource and skill now can be refocused to develop and enhance the College’s IT environment through projects like enabling students and teachers to access educational content online via the cloud.

Garod Barker, Head of IT at the College of North West London, comments, “With technology playing an important role in the education process, we needed to have the resources available to develop and enhance our IT environment. By implementing a Dell Storage solution, we are able to act pre-emptively and efficiently based on the predictable nature of how the technology works. We’ve also found the instant replay, automation and tiering features particularly useful.” 

From a budget perspective, Dell Compellent provides CNWL with a clear view of annual, weekly and daily usage allowing the IT team to plan and grow their capacity as necessary.  This feature is particularly valuable to the finance team as the transparency allows them to evaluate their future costs and effectively plan budgets.

With the new, scalable and automated storage infrastructure in place, the IT team has had the chance to expand on the college’s virtualized environment and will be rolling out VMware thin applications this summer. The College also has been able to move to Microsoft Lync 2013 telephony system, which runs on the virtual environment and allows staff to make calls via a USB. These two projects together have already saved the College approximately £35,000 through the ability to decommission servers. This has also led to a drop in electricity usage equating to 12 Amps.


“With three campuses and 12,000 students, we needed a storage solution that would allow us to manage a high influx of data much more efficiently. We wanted to increase the level of virtualization in our infrastructure which wasn’t possible on our legacy EMC SAN. Since implementing Dell Storage, we have been able to carry out a number of projects that will have a direct impact on the standard of learning we are able to provide.” Garod Barker, Head of IT at the College of North West London

“As education institutions continue to be battered by an ever increasing inflow of data, IT teams are struggling to keep pace with out-dated systems.  By supplying an IT infrastructure that is scalable and can be upgraded, we hope to help IT teams focus on day-to-day management and improving the student experience rather than reactive problem solving,” said Kenneth Harley, director for education, Dell UK. “In an increasingly digitalized world, we see this as the key to ensuring continued progression and improvement in the education space which will help to meet the needs of the next student generation.”

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