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Customer Case Study

University Improves Data Center Services Delivery
University of North Carolina at Charlotte transitioned their outdated campus computing
facility into an agile services-oriented data center.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT
CHARLOTTE
● Higher Education
● Charlotte, North Carolina
● 22,300 students; 900 faculty
BUSINESS CHALLENGE
● Prepare for more students, faculty, and data
● Accelerate introduction of new business
services
● Help ensure business continuity
NETWORK SOLUTION
● Built a scalable, resilient data center that
facilitates new service introduction
BUSINESS RESULTS
● Increased data center scalability and
availability
● Strengthened business continuity
● Reduced total cost of ownership

Business Challenge
Part of the University of North Carolina (UNC)
system, UNC Charlotte (UNCC) enrolls more than
22,300 students and 900 full-time faculty. The
university expects to increase enrollment by 10,000
students and add 150 faculty members by 2015.
To prepare for growth, the UNCC IT group needed a
more scalable, resilient data center. “We had
outgrown the previous data center’s electrical,
cooling, floor space, and data storage capacity,” says
Tom Lamb, chief technology officer for the university.
“To support more user services and more data, we
need a service-oriented data center design that
provides network, power, and storage to applications
as needed.”

Solution
UNCC currently operates a data center in Atkins Library, which has not increased in size in 25
years. The data center has gone through significant upgrades over the past several years, but
given the projected growth of the university over the next five to ten years, the data center physical
plant will not be sufficient to sustain the requirements of campus computing. To meet the
computing needs of the university, a second data center has been created at the MCNC data
center in Raleigh, NC. Once this facility is operational, the production applications managed by the
central IT organization will be migrated from the old data center in Atkins Library to the
Microelectronics Center of North Carolina campus. The facility in Adkins Library will be retained as
a disaster recovery site and for asynchronous replication of data storage frames, high-availability
elements of the Exchange and Banner application clusters, and development and testing servers
and storage.
Cisco and UNCC have tested the design in Cisco’s Proof of Concept Lab in Research Triangle
Park, North Carolina. “We will thoroughly test the data center solution before we deploy it,” says
Lamb. “The Cisco Proof of Concept lab is invaluable, because the university does not have the
physical space for such extensive testing.”
“Cisco provides outstanding excellent data center design and deployment services,” says Lamb.
“Our Cisco data center consultant has become part of the team, conducting a couple of half-day
sessions monthly. We regard him as a trusted advisor for all aspects of data center design, not just
the Cisco solutions.”

© 2009 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.

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Customer Case Study

“Our Cisco data center consultant has become part of the
team, conducting a couple of half-day sessions monthly. We
regard him as a trusted advisor for all aspects of data center
design, not just the Cisco solutions.”
—Tom Lamb, Chief Technology Officer, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Results
Migration of the production applications to the new facility will take advantage of the serviceoriented design of the new data center. Service orientation allows the network and the applications
that it supports to work together. The primary goals of this design are to increase the performance,
availability, scalability, and manageability of enterprise applications in the data center, while
simultaneously providing a secure environment. In addition, these designs reduce the complexity
and implementation time of enterprise applications in the data center, using virtualization
technologies and network design best practices.
The solution is targeted to provide the advantages of high availability, combined with an enhanced
level of recoverability within the campus in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.

Technical Implementation
When the transition is complete, the original data center will be used for asynchronous replication
of data storage frames, high-availability elements of the Microsoft Exchange and the enterprise
resource planning (ERP) application cluster, and services development and testing.

PRODUCT LIST
Data Center
● Cisco® MDS 9513 Series Multilayer Director
Switches
● Cisco ACE Application Control Engine
modules
● Cisco ASA 5580 Series Adaptive Security
Appliance
● Cisco Catalyst® 6500
● Cisco Catalyst 4948
● Cisco Bladeswitch 3120X
● Cisco GSS Global Site Selector

© 2009 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.

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Customer Case Study

Figure 1.

UNCC Service-Oriented Data

Printed in USA

© 2009 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.

C36-522112-00 02/09

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