Northgate Managed Services

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Companies selected to provide infrastructure for Europe's first Education Cloud

06 Jul 2012

Cisco, EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), VCE and VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW) today announce their technologies will serve as the IT infrastructure for the new Education Network Northern Ireland, Europe's first education cloud - a centralized repository of education materials accessible to all schools and students via the Web - that will serve 350,000 students and teachers in 1,200 schools

Northgate Managed Services has been awarded a £170m contract for the provision of cloud services in the Classroom 2000 (C2k) programme. This is a government-funded private cloud project and will be delivered over the next five years by Northgate using the technology of Cisco, EMC, VCE and VMware. The project provides students and faculty staff with increased access to learning resources, and the ability to efficiently collaborate and support the growing trend for using mobile devices, including tablets, laptops and smartphones in the classroom.

Among the technologies that will be deployed are:

  • VCE™ Vblock™ Systems. These converged infrastructure systems bring together leading computing, networking, storage, security and virtualization technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware into a single, integrated and pre-configured system with end-to-end support. The multiple Vblock systems used in this project will be manufactured by VCE at its facility in Cork, Ireland.
  • Cisco data centre and wide area networking technologies. The data centre will feature the latest network innovations from Cisco which will enable the customer to deliver a flexible and highly secure service to all Northern Ireland schools. The enhanced service also features additional security, increased resilience and greater scalability while additionally supporting more applications with a reduced carbon footprint.
  • EMC RSA security and Isilon scale-out NAS technologies. The EMC RSA Envision solution, which is one of the leading security information and event management (SIEM) platform, will enable the Northgate security professionals to identify and address high-priority security incidents in real-time. Evolving big data requirements within the Northern Ireland schools will be addressed by providing centralised backup and archiving services utilising EMC Isilon Scale Out NAS technology for access to virtually unlimited storage.
  • VMware vSphere® and VMware View™ virtualization software. VMware vSphere delivers uncompromised control over all IT resources with the highest efficiency. VMware View simplifies desktop and application management while increasing security and control. It enables higher availability and agility of desktop services unmatched by traditional PCs, while reducing the total cost of desktop ownership up to 50%.
  • With a highly secure Cisco, EMC, VCE and VMware-based private cloud, it is intended that education and administrative resources will be available at any time from any device and will foster a technology-driven learning environment that will help to prepare students for the future. Implementation of the five-year project began earlier this year.

Andy Ross, CEO , Northgate

"We work closely with VCE, EMC, Cisco and VMware on a daily basis. The technologies we have selected are ideally suited for the workloads we expect to deliver with this network. The foundation of this cloud will be the Vblock Infrastructure platforms, which bring together leading technologies from each of these companies. Because Vblock platforms are pre-configured and tested, we'll be able to get the infrastructure up and running faster and focus our staff efforts on providing the best experience for students and staff."

James Stewart, Director C2K, Education Network Northern Ireland

"Once implemented, the faculty and students of Northern Ireland will be using state-of-the art technologies. This project will enhance their collective ability to collaborate and learn and will ultimately allow them to successfully compete in the digital economy."