A university’s academic reputation is driven by – and based upon – many factors, including great academics, discipline, research, and publication. To be successful, both students and faculty need an agile and solid IT foundation that automates access to fast and reliable technology, scaling out and in to accommodate their frequent changes in digital assets and population size.
For the University of New Mexico, well known as a research institution, it must have a solid IT foundation for 30,000+ students across multiple campuses. A good 1,500 of those students are studying computer science and must have the best digital tools to succeed and an incredibly secure network to shelter and protect coursework and research.
The university found itself struggling to keep up with the increasing demands on its IT network, with students and faculty complaining about the systems being slow, so it turned to NetApp’s SolidFire Software and NetApp ONTAP® 9 data management software on NetApp FAS systems to improve performance and efficiency.
Rudy Martinez, a senior system support analyst with the University of New Mexico Computer Science Department, and his group ensure that the department has the ability to secure its coursework and scale as needed.
“Everything is changing all the time. Every 3 to 4 months, we tear it all down and set it up again for the incoming class. New syllabus, new teachers, new students,” shared Martinez. “We [also need] an infrastructure that enables us to completely shelter and prevent Computer Science Department coursework from reaching other parts of the university’s IT ecosystem.”
Martinez worked with NetApp to deploy SolidFire Element Software. The new system was deployed in a week and has been running without incident since it went live.
“SolidFire allows us to spin up hundreds and hundreds of virtual machines [VMs] at once for students with no waiting. Previously I would have to start 50 and wait for the filer with spinning drives to catch up, start another 50 and wait for the filer to catch up, and so on. Today, with SolidFire Element Software, I can start all of my 700 VMs at the same time. They all come up at once with the right amount of bandwidth.”
UNM also is saving space through deduplication and is benefiting from SolidFire’s intuitive interface.
“We have professors come to us and say, ‘I really want to do X, Y, or Z.’ We’re able to say, ‘Yes, we can set up your cluster or amass a large amount of fast storage for your research or project.’”
“There’s a lot to like about SolidFire, but the user interface makes everything so easy. No deep dives into menus, and things feel well thought out, like it was designed by people who actually use it. And getting information out takes just a click.”
Download the full case study to learn more about the benefits the University of New Mexico is experiencing with its agile infrastructure.