HTL's recommended solution was backed by their reliable IT support team throughout the entire migration process, which made us feel in control of the situation at all times

Paul Bonter, Company Secretary, Nafas

HTL helps a global university to deploy a load balancing and content switching solution

Overview

The Open University is Britain's largest university with more than 200,000 people studying its courses on-line and through its distance learning programs. Since its establishment by royal charter in 1969, it has opened the door to higher education for more than 2 million people.

More than 150 Open University courses are using IT to enhance learning in various ways, including virtual tutorials and discussion groups, electronic submission and marking of assignments, multimedia teaching materials and computer mediated conferencing. Around 160,00 Open University students read more than 170,000 email and computer conference messages each day. The Open University currently delivers fourteen courses via the Internet at the moment but many more will follow.

Problem

The University were looking for a technology partner that could provide Content Switching and Server Load Balancing to specific parts of their web farm.

The specific requirements were to provide:

  • High Availability solution that could be integrated into their Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure and provide URL and cookie based Content Switching between multiple pairs of redundant content servers.
  • A high throughput solution that could deal with a demanding daily amount of web traffic. To deliver the required solution and to meet a predefined deadline.
The Open University

The Open University has successfully integrated the High Availability pair in to their production environment, and are beginning to benefit from the NetScaler's powerful flexible content switching and load balancing capabilities.

Solution

During the initial IT planning and consulting phase, HTL analysed The Open University's requirements carefully and created an IT solution based on the integration of NetScaler traffic management technology into the universities existing web infrastructure, the project consisted of the following elements:

  • A 6-week evaluation utilising a NetScaler 9400 T Request Switch and the Universities in-house pre-production environment, to test functionality and define final deployment criteria.
  • Specification of final hardware and software solution of NetScaler 9800 HA-T request switches and confirm project readiness.
  • Pre-configuration and testing in HTL labs.
  • Delivery and on-site commissioning of final solution with the Universities Web team.
  • Provision of a 12 x 5 Silver technical support package with advanced hardware swap out for the chosen solution.

Conclusion

The solution was installed on time and to budget, and has fulfilled all of its requirements.

Since installation, The Open University has successfully integrated the High Availability pair in to their production environment, and are beginning to benefit from the NetScaler's powerful flexible content switching and load balancing capabilities.

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