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Savannah College Pumps Up Network Capacity

Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia has begun using new IP gear from Brocade to expand its digital bandwidth to serve a global student population. Currently, the college has three campuses--in Savannah; Atlanta; and Lacoste, France; it'll be opening a campus in Hong Kong in fall 2010.

The institution was seeking a simplified, reliable network that would support a wide range of bandwidth-intensive creativity applications and large file transfers between domestic and international locations with minimal staff resources. The college has deployed an extensive distributed network that includes the Brocade FastIron SX 800 chassis with FastIron CX Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) fixed switches, and FastIron GS and Brocade BigIron switches.

"Over the past five years we've continuously brought in more Brocade equipment, and I've seen the uptime increasingly improve," said Brad Grant, executive director of campus technology systems. "The management methods and interfaces for the various products are so similar that we've seen a reduction of manpower needed to manage the network. At the same time, the network and complexity has grown--we've been able to keep the same manpower force in place."

Grant said he's especially impressed by the low learning curve his IT team has experienced in moving their skills to the new equipment. "I'll give you a perfect example," he said. "I hired a network manager who had several years of experience managing another manufacturer's equipment and within two weeks the manager was handling Brocade's equipment with ease."

Grant added that the college's voice network and data network have both grown over the last few years, and, through the use of converged networking, the two have been combined into a single group. "Now we're at a point that I am able to overlap those two areas of responsibility," he said. "The voice manager can now work with data and the roles can reverse--through this I've definitely seen operational efficiency."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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