FE college joins data centre for education and research

City of Liverpool College becomes first FE provider to move into the UK’s national shared data centre for education and research

The data centre – which is offered through a framework agreement by digital technologies charity Jisc and specialist data centre provider Infinity SDC – will house the IT infrastructure for a new shared service venture the college is launching to support its core business strategies.

It was selected for offering a resilient service, all via direct connections to the core of Janet, the UK’s education and research network. The data centre will also allow the college to achieve significant cost savings by not having to set up and run a whole new data centre themselves, as well as giving them the flexibility to scale up requirements as needed.

Tim Kidd, executive director Jisc technologies, said: “We are really pleased that City of Liverpool College is taking advantage of the Jisc shared data centre. What we are offering through the framework with Infinity is a world-leading facility where users can store their data in a secure, safe and scalable environment, and allowing access to that information quickly and easily via the Janet network.

“There’s a big cost benefit, which will come as welcome news to FE colleges with ever-tighter budgets. Moving equipment off-site means reduced operational costs and allows better use of campus space and resources for teaching and learning. Savings are set to increase even further as more colleges and universities take up the offer and we’re able to provide economies of scale at a larger level.”

Alasdair Redmond, group CIO of City of Liverpool College, added: “As a top 10 national FE provider with over 22,000 students, we need to continually review how we deliver teaching and learning so that we can offer the best possible experience under increasing financial pressures. Using the Jisc data centre will allow us to achieve both aims, while passing the management of this service over to people who are experts in their field.”

City of Liverpool College will use the data centre to launch a new shared service for accelerated transformation of FE organisations, called SharEd. Made up of a portfolio of services – including HR, facilities, finance, IT and management information systems, as well as professional services and consulting – SharEd is designed to free up staff time to concentrate on delivering excellent services for students.

As well as supporting through the data centre, Jisc is actively looking at other ways it can support SharEd and other shared service schemes for the benefit of UK education and research.

Alasdair continued: “Our SharEd offer is developed for the sector, by the sector. It will give organisations the tools they need to be able to achieve positive change and transform their operations at an accelerated pace, ensuring they are able to survive and thrive in such a challenging environment.” 

Run out of Infinity’s flagship data centre in Slough, the data centre service has the capability to grow to more than 800 racks. In just under a year since launching, the initial data hall dedicated to Jisc customers has reached full capacity, featuring 84 racks with a total power requirement of 732kW, and the charity is now filling its second dedicated hall.

For more information on the data centre or to make an enquiry about joining contact 0300 300 2212 or visit the website.

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