A New Campus Network: Powerful, Cost-Effective and Stable
High-availability and high-performance IT infrastructure is indispensable for modern school teaching. This is also known at the Kantonsschule Zug, where the demands on their IT network have increased massively in recent years. Despite high cost pressure and scarce resources, the optimal solution was found: The Kantonsschule Zug relies on Juniper Networks for a high-performance network that is also built for the future.#Network as a Service #Juniper Networks
The Kantonsschule Zug places high demands not only on its students, but also on itself, and is therefore dependent on a high-performance, always available and simple network infrastructure. «Teachers are extremely demanding, very individualistic and typically not crazy about IT. The IT infrastructure has to be fast, work easily and not cause any problems - if it doesn't meet these requirements, then teaching is at risk,» says Christian Wittenhorst, who as Head of IT is responsible for the infrastructure and network at the Kantonsschule Zug.
After network traffic had increased massively in recent years, the existing IT solution hit its limits and was no longer able to meet the growing demand for bandwidth. «In order to create the best possible conditions for contemporary teaching and to meet today's educational approaches, it was time to replace our outdated IT infrastructure with a new, high-performance campus network,» explains Wittenhorst. «As a public organization, we put the project out for bids.»
The school environment is very special and carries requirements otherwise found with service providers. At the same time, price played a weighty role in the RFP process. «We face the same challenges as many other industries and companies. On the one hand, we have high specifications; in Switzerland, for example, MINT promotion (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology) in particular is a big issue. On the other hand, we have cost pressure. So, there is a certain discrepancy between budget and requirements. Our goal was to find the optimal solution at the best price.»
After careful evaluation of the offer, the Kantonsschule Zug decided on the efficient network concept of the local Juniper Networks Elite Partner UMB and thus for the implementation of a new campus network based on a Juniper Networks infrastructure. Running under the advanced Junos OS end-to-end network operating system, the EX Series Ethernet switches are high-performance, cost-effective carrier-class switches that combine high availability and reliability with flexibility, enable high data rates, and feature simplified network management.
Even before the modernization of its network, Kantonsschule Zug had been using Juniper Networks solutions and had been working with UMB for some time. «We have had consistently positive experiences with Juniper products and have come to know UMB as a technically skilled and reliable partner with whom we maintain an open exchange, even outside of commercial projects.» Christian Wittenhorst looks back: «It all started back then with SRX series services gateways, followed by MX 3D series universal edge routers for peering and additionally QFX series switches, because in order to create synergies, we operate the Internet for other schools in the canton. So together with the EX Series switches for the campus area, I would say that we now have a significant part of the Juniper range.»
«The concept, which was tailored to our technical as well as budgetary needs and prepared by UMB, convinced us. At the same time, no other bidder could match the price-performance ratio offered. The feature set offered in relation to the price was decisive. Quite simply, we opted for the best offer.»
The solution was implemented in collaboration with UMB's experienced network specialists. «Of course, there were a few challenges to overcome, but that was not unusual. Especially since we were dealing with a heterogeneous environment and the purchased hardware due to financial constraints had to be pushed to the limit,» says Wittenhorst. The project was started on schedule and the initial difficulties were solved with the support of UMB. After the migration, everything ran exactly as it should, without fail. «All in all, the migration went much better than expected. And what makes us especially happy: our users noticed almost nothing of it. Maybe we annoyed users for an hour over three months, so everything was within reason.» The IT manager attributes the positive course of the project not least to the expertise and competent work of UMB. «UMB's commitment to this project was exceptional!»
By switching to Juniper Networks products, the Kantonsschule Zug has cost-effectively built a high-performance, reliable, robust, and future-proof campus network with the qualities of a service provider network that can also serve as a reference model for many small providers. In this way, numerous services that are normally provided by service providers can be delivered by the school itself.
Christian Wittenhorst draws attention to other advantages of the modernized infrastructure: «Performance has improved considerably. We used to have 1 GbE, 10 GbE at points, but now we are at multiple 10 GbE to 40 GbE throughout. We also particularly like Junos OS as the single interface for our Juniper Networks routing, switching and security platforms, and the many features implemented that invite trial and testing.»
The unified OS and automation features simplify network operations and enable operational and economic efficiencies that accommodate the school's lean structure and scarce resources. «It's important for us to be able to operate the infrastructure as independently as possible and to have the know-how in-house - if only for cost reasons,» argues the IT manager. «But it's a good feeling to know that if we can't get anywhere ourselves, we can rely on UMB 100%. The support works great, problems are followed up quickly and energetically until they are solved.»
Support works great, issues are followed up quickly and vigorously until they are resolved.
The Zug Cantonal School is a large, modern secondary school in the center of the city of Zug. It runs a Gymnasium and a Wirtschaftsmittelschule and is attended by a total of more than 1500 students. Around 200 teachers support, encourage, and accompany them on their way to higher education entrance qualification or prepare them for studies at a university of applied sciences and for a career. The Zug Cantonal School stands for sound education and strives for a high level of achievement.