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Claremont McKenna College Taps VCE Vblock Infrastructure Platform as Cloud Computing Cornerstone

A Los Angeles area college will outfit a new data center with a pre-packaged computing infrastructure. The 1,200-student Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, part of the Claremont University Consortium, will be implementing the VCE Vblock Infrastructure Platform from the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Coalition as part of a data center currently under construction and scheduled to come online in July 2011.

This integrated hardware and software set combines virtualization, networking, processing, storage, security, and management technologies, as well as service and support from the coalition. The companies behind VCE include Cisco, EMC, and VMware, with an investment from Intel, along with their certified partners, which have vetted the combination of products to work. Customers can expand the infrastructure incrementally through a modular approach.

Claremont McKenna had four primary goals for its choice of Vblock:

  • To support virtual desktops in a lab setting;
  • To be able to rapidly set up infrastructure as a service as members of the campus community needed it, such as for launching a new Web site;
  • To introduce new apps and services through the cloud and with less staff effort; and
  • To speed up technical assistance.

"VCE took a completely fresh look at data center infrastructure, with the result that the Vblock platform is optimized for cloud computing," said Jeremy Whaley, director of Information Systems and Network Services. "As our computing needs grow, we can add storage and compute capacity in small increments. And we'll be able to control numerous Vblock systems from the same management interface."

While construction is underway, he added, the college has deployed a vBlock 0 in its current data center. "This has given our staff an opportunity to familiarize themselves with [Cisco's Unified Computing System] hardware and vBlock orchestration software." vBlock 0 is an entry-level configuration that supports between 300 and 800 virtual machines.

The college selected Vblock over two other pre-integrated data center platforms, in part, based on its service offering, which provides a single support number for all aspects of the combined solution. "Having a single point of contact for any issue, whether related to servers, storage, or virtualization, saves staff time and accelerates issue resolution," Whaley said.

In the future, to help with disaster recovery, CMC will consolidate storage from the Claremont Colleges onto the Vblock platform and then replicate virtual machines and data over a wide area network to a private cloud service provider.

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