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Article Type: Case Study          Published: 11-2014         Views: 1847      

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Leading US university extends its distance learning reach into Europe .

Founded in 1949 in the heart of San Diego, University of San Diego (USD) has grown to become a premier institution dedicated to providing academic excellence, Catholic intellectual and social traditions, and a top-notch liberal arts education for scholars of all faiths. USD is committed to the intellectual, spiritual, and overall development of its student body. The university has more than 8,000 students and more than 900 faculty members.

USD has recently streamlined the expansion of its international studies program to Madrid by replicating curriculum into VMware vCloud Air over a Silver Peak accelerated wide area network (WAN).

"The University of San Diego is consistently ranked among the top national doctoral universities for undergraduate study abroad participation," said Christopher Wessells, vice provost & CIO for the University of San Diego. "The large volume of global study abroad participants presents a basic challenge to offer faculty and students nearly identical experiences with core academic and administrative information systems, irrespective of global location. Consequently, the University Information Technology Services unit has identified a robust and flexible cloud solution that can address growing global data and systems requirements. This solution offers a rapid, affordable and highly secure way to migrate data overseas."

USD selected VMware vCloud Air to solve the challenge. VMware vCloud Air was chosen for its ability to seamlessly extend USD's VCE Vblock System and VMware vSphere infrastructure to Europe, which provided geographic proximity to the USD Madrid Centre. USD extended its footprint over 5,500 miles over the public Internet to vCloud Air's UK-based data centre. Long distance and varying quality levels of the Internet negatively impacted application performance and were a potential impediment to USD's plans. To accelerate connectivity to vCloud Air, USD turned to VMware vCloud Air partner, Silver Peak.

Silver Peak's Unity transformed USD's long-distance 10 megabit-per-second (Mbps) public Internet connection into a secure WAN fabric performing at up to 150 Mbps of effective throughput into and out of VMware vCloud Air in the UK.

Adding Silver Peak to the VMware vCloud Air and VCE Vblock System environment solves two major challenges for the University of San Diego:

• Initial Migration: Replicating the university's VCE Vblock System-based servers and Blackboard learning environment of approximately 500 virtual machines (VMs) with an average size of 50 gigabytes (GB) from San Diego to the vCloud Air UK data centre is reduced from 26.5 hours to one hour.

• Ongoing Content Updates and Remote Access: Regular updates of hundreds of Blackboard courses from San Diego to Europe have been accelerated by 20x, updating course content in a matter of seconds. Remote access from Madrid to the vCloud Air data centre for Blackboard and other content is also improved, with consistent performance and delivery of distance-learning content regardless of Internet conditions between Madrid and vCloud Air.

"With Silver Peak and VMware vCloud Air, the options for expanding our course content globally are limitless," said Mike Somerville, IT manager, systems support and chief cloud evangelist for the University of San Diego. "I can't even imagine what dedicated infrastructure and an MPLS network would cost us to connect our remote campus in Madrid. Once Silver Peak was enabled with vCloud Air, data was moving so fast that I wanted to keep moving files into the cloud. The performance improvement was unlike anything I've seen before."
More info: www.silver-peak.com

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