The University of Auckland Medical School’s makeover

The University of Auckland's medical school is upgrading its data network to meet escalating growth in traffic.

The upgraded network with Juniper Networks EX series ethernet switches, delivered with IBM, leverages 10 Gigabit per second throughput to enable the faculty’s 5,000 users to share research and other data.

IBM New Zealand global technology services executive, Greg Farmer, told the National Business Review the company offered the school solutions of both Juniper and its rival Cisco.

“We have a very agnostic view: we like to provide what we believe is a range of solutions to clients and that range of solutions has certain merits based on the client’s requirements.

“We typically make recommendations based on what we see but at the end of the day we maintain that independence.

“In this particular instance we took that agnostic approach with the client and offered the solutions up that we though was appropriate which actually as turns out was Cisco and Juniper and we allowed the client make that decision.”

The school decided solutions offered by Juniper were more “appropriate” for its specific needs, said Mr Farmer.

IT architect for the university, John Askew, said the university’s data networks have traditionally been largely single-vendor environments.

“The imperative behind this upgrade was to meet current and projected growth in traffic generated, in large part, by research teams relying more and more on data-intensive applications in virtual machine environments,” said Mr Askew.

The new upgrade, which coincides with a major renovation of the facility’s main campus, will not just improve performance of the school’s data network, but also security management and compliance with government data confidentiality requirements and total cost of ownership.

The faculty’s data network serves the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Population Health and Medical Sciences, and also serves four off campus clinical schools.

The network also supports a wide range of undergraduate, post-graduate, clinical and applied research programs.

The university is employing switches from across the EX series family including the EX3200, EX4200 and the chassis-based EX8208.

The EX4200’s virtual chassis fabric technology, which enables up to 10 interconnected EX4200 switches to operate as a single device simplifying maintenance and management while lowering total cost of ownership, makes it more accessible to share large datasets.

Juniper Networks New Zealand country manager, Ian Quinn, said this new technology is quickly gaining popularity in the market for its long-term value.

“The combination of EX series switching performance and the efficiencies of the Junos operating system produce total cost of ownership benefits that are increasingly being recognised in the most demanding networks.”

Junos is a network operating system for routing, switching, and security. It reduces the time necessary to deploy new services and decreases network operation costs by up to 41%.

Both, the University of Auckland and IBM decline to reveal how much was the deal.