University of Birmingham chooses Brocade as network partner

University has installed the company's switches and fabric to drive forward research

The University of Birmingham has announced it has installed Brocade's VDX switches and VCS fabrics to help power the university's research data network.

The university's groundbreaking research includes investigations into the use of microwaves, transplant surgery, the development of artificial Vitamin C and cancer-fighting vaccines. It needed the infrastructure to handle data-intensive instruments and the compute resource because its existing network was unable to cope with the streamed data.

"One of the things we didn't want to do is have to push traffic via a firewall from data intensive instruments, but be able to route it by just switching it where we can," commented Simon Thompson, Research Computing Team, IT Services, University of Birmingham.

"Brocade's solution allowed us to do this and maintain speed across the network. The solution worked so well, we are hoping researchers will move away from a local staging server in the lab and just stream data directly to our central storage."

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The research computing team needed to use Brocade's technology to ensure the safe transit of information from its secure facilities, across the University of Birmingham's campus network and into the university's storage servers so the research teams were able to access it freely, without any latency.

Thompson explained that if an ISL fails between two switches, and there is another path over the fabric, the switch will just kick over to using that instead. It means the time spent on management and design is reduced significantly, improving the overall experience.

"The University of Birmingham continues to be an educational and research institution at the forefront of pioneering technologies in the UK," Marcus Jewell, vice president EMEA at Brocade said.

"Researchers are often working with some of the most complex data sets, and without the infrastructure to support this, making the latest discoveries can be a painful process. In deploying a suite of Brocade solutions, the University of Birmingham will have a non-stop software-enabled networking environment that is built to accommodate increased traffic and ultimately enable teams to have a more flexible approach to accessing their research."

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