Italy’s first open university, Marconi University, has launched an IT project to host its e-learning services on a cloud platform.
The move away from a colocation facility to cloud will help it improve the reliability and performance of its digital learning resources and cut the costs of running the e-learning platform.
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The university, which offers graduate and postgraduate courses to more than 14,000 students around the world, offers educational resources via an e-learning platform and mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.
It previously hosted its IT infrastructure in a colocation facility in Rome, with the servers and storage managed by a third party. The ageing storage hardware in the facility was costing the university’s IT department more and more to maintain, hampering its focus on innovation and affecting the availability of its e-learning services to students.
High-performance IT infrastructure
So its IT department wanted a technological infrastructure to improve the uptime of the e-learning platform and boost the educational experience of its students.
"We wanted to completely release our IT department from the burdens of managing hardware systems,” said Marco De Nicola, IT area systems manager at Marconi University.
By moving its e-learning platform to VDC, Marconi University has achieved cost savings and financial flexibility
Matthew Finnie, Interoute
"Our students around the world need to be able to access our services and educational materials any time, day or night. In technology terms, this means we need a high-performance infrastructure that has very high levels of availability and network resilience," she added.
The IT team then selected colocation, cloud and managed datacentre services provider Interoute for its cloud project. The university has decided to host its online campus e-learning platform on Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC).
Combined with a virtual private network (VPN), also from Interoute, the university’s headquarters in Rome and its regional offices are now connected to their own private cloud. The platform is hosted in the Interoute VDC facility in London.
Linked by the VPN, the university also uses the Interoute VDC facility in Amsterdam to back up training materials, including data-rich media such as video recordings.
Cloud cost savings
The VDC cloud has enabled the university to cut the cost of running its learning platform by 23%.
“The Interoute VDC solution is 23% cheaper a year to run than our previous solution, which means we can now focus much more time and financial resources on driving strategic projects for the university,” said De Nicola.
The scalability of Interoute VDC will allow the university’s IT to add a new range of services at any time, and because the price for “bursting” beyond its committed resources is fixed in advance, there will not be any cost surprises later on, according to Interoute.
“Educational institutions are increasingly turning to virtualised online learning platforms to make sure students can follow lessons, prepare for exams, take practice tests and interact with tutors at whatever time of day they wish,” said Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute.
“By moving its e-learning platform to VDC, Marconi University has achieved cost savings and financial flexibility,” he said.