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POINT OF VIEW

An innovative, award-winning higher education institution based in Scotland and one of the world’s top 150 universities – has the same problems as most other UK Universities.

Like any educational institution, our customer’s transient student community moves through a fixed calendar schedule each academic year.

Like any educational institution, our customer’s transient student community moves through a fixed calendar schedule each academic year. The result is creation of clear usage peaks during certain time periods; students searching for accommodation, registering for courses, or searching for exam grades.

 

Traditional Technology procurement and peaks don’t mix

Significant peaks in demand (3x) place technology environments under extreme stress: putting as much as three times the average demand on network services and software licences.

Buy for the peak and waste capacity for most of the year, or buy for average capacity and suffer when the system actually needs to perform.

For our customer, providing these services using a virtual private network (VPN) over the cloud was compromising security and performance. It simply wasn’t sustainable.

They required a powerful Integration platform which could handle the peaks in traffic, was scalable to expected growth, and could integrate with around 40 different systems. The solution was required to connect with a number of protocols, including ODBC, FTP, FTPS, MQ, HTTPS, and SMTP. These protocols must be supported to pass JSON and XML payloads.

 

Differential scaling and cloud

The solution is to gather data from most of the Universities systems to make it quickly available when the peaks arrive. The result is a single view of the information to satisfy requests from students, while allowing business to continue as usual.

This approach allows systems to be scaled according to their need rather than having to scale everything at the same time. The result also allows much of the student demand to be handled in the cloud.

The University had searched the market and had found technically suitable solutions, but none that could meet their budgetary requirements. The vendors identified based commercials for their solution on either peak traffic periods or used expensive overage charges to accommodate them.

 

Engaging Responsiv

Our customer needed to move to a managed server that could cope with these demand surges by synchronising data across different systems to give students a single, up-to-date source of information wherever it was accessed.

Existing IT support and budget constraints – as well as an aggressively short timeframe – meant that the customer needed a partner who was able to provide a solution quickly and cost-effectively.

Responsiv Unity has provided us with the flexibility we needed to manage our usage peaks and in a cost-effective way.

Responsiv was engaged, and the University procured Responsiv Unity Integration Modules, and a DevOps environment, both hosted and served as a Service from the Responsiv Cloud.

 

An agile platform for modern education

After consulting with the customer, Responsiv developed a proposal to deliver these requirements using Responsiv Unity in the cloud.

This approach avoided the need for the University to procure and deploy hardware and operating systems, disk, and monitoring. Instead cost and time were minimised while simultaneously creating the flexibility to increase capacity on-demand.

This innovative and agile structure now means that IT activity peaks like new student onboarding, course allocation and clearing processes pose no problem.

After spending a lot of time exploring options without finding anything viable, the institution feels that Responsiv has delivered exactly the solution it was hoping for – with the desired results.

Responsiv Unity in the cloud can respond to peaks using “Overdraft cores” rather like a bank account facility that provides vital extra capacity when its needed at a fraction of the cost of a permanent loan.

Responsiv Unity as a Service manages the servers, while our customer can access and update them as needed.

Responsiv provided relevant mentoring and training along the way to ensure everyone is kept up to speed and fostering a culture of continuous technology improvement.

 

Flexible, cost-effective IT

The University is delighted with the flexibility and performance of Responsiv Unity. In addition to seamless operations, a convenient usage-based cost model means that it only pays for what it uses per month – resulting in significant monetary savings compared to using the full service all year round.

Use products to accelerate and improve the quality of a solution rather than dictate what the solution should be.

After spending a lot of time exploring options without finding anything viable, the institution feels that Responsiv has delivered exactly the solution it was hoping for – with the desired results.

‘I have been working with .net my entire career. Solutions that would take a me a week to build in .net are taking me a day and a half using Responsiv Unity.’
University Technical Lead

At Responsiv we pride ourselves on listening to our customers and developing solutions that are suited to their unique needs. We don’t believe in one-size, and we use the products available to us to accelerate and improve the quality of the solution rather than dictate what the solution should be.

  • Flexible usage and licensing capabilities create a unique operating model which can be tailored for individual customer needs
  • Focused approach, to assess customer objectives and deliver a solution aligned specifically to deliver them
  • Ongoing technical support to ensure continuous training and maintain optimal solution performance – over and above standard contractual obligations
Richard Whyte
Richard Whyte

Richard Whyte has been building enterprise IT solutions for over 20 years. He is known for creating innovative practical solutions that provide a strong foundation for future development, whilst solving immediate problems. Previously the European CTO and Principal Architect for IBM Systems Middleware at IBM, he has an MBA, a degree in Statistics and Computing, is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered IT Professional, and Fellow of both the Institute of Technology and the British Computer Society.

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