Using Clustering Services in Open Enterprise Server, Hogeschool Rotterdam created a stretched cluster of 16 servers across two data centers. Workload is split across paired servers, one in each center, creating a highly resilient IT infrastructure. As a result, the institution can deliver extremely reliable information services to its 30,000 students.
"The Novell (now part of Micro Focus) solutions help us to deliver maximum functionality to users with the minimum of management overhead. As an educational institution with limited budgets, the low running costs are a great benefit."
With 12 campus locations, 3,000 staff and approximately 30,000 students, Hogeschool Rotterdam is one of the major Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Divided into eleven institutions, and offering more than 80 graduate and undergraduate programs, the organization has a vast international network of partner universities and corporate links.
As a modern institution that is focused on professional education, Hogeschool Rotterdam is highly dependent on the smooth functioning of its ICT services. Students and staff alike access tools for communication, learning and administration on a daily basis.
To minimize the possibility of downtime—which could significantly disrupt both operations and learning—the institution decided to build a second data center in Rotterdam. The plan was to split IT services across both centers, so that the loss of an individual server, a set of servers or even an entire data center would not prevent staff and students from accessing their applications and data.
Hogeschool Rotterdam needed a solution that would be highly effective yet also easy to run, so that it could continue to maintain a relatively small staff of IT specialists.
Based on its many years of satisfaction with our technologies, Hogeschool Rotterdam decided to migrate from OES 2.0 to Open Enterprise Server 11. Using Clustering Services, which is a key built-in component of Open Enterprise Server, the institution created a stretched cluster containing 16 server nodes. Key IT services run on pairs of servers, which are divided between the institution’s two data centers.
“Practically all of our systems run on these 16 servers—Clustering Services helps us to ensure round-the-clock availability,” said Eric Kerkdijk, IT Manager at Hogeschool Rotterdam. “Within the cluster, if one node goes down for some reason, its second node in the other data center automatically takes over the workload so that there is no interruption in service.” In the event that one entire data center goes offline, Hogeschool Rotterdam estimates that it can have all operations back to normal in the second center within a few hours.
In addition to protecting users against server or software failures, Clustering Services makes it easy for technical staff to perform scheduled maintenance on servers. If a server is shut down, the others in the cluster automatically and seamlessly absorb its workload, maintaining service and application availability.
Upgrading to Open Enterprise Server with Clustering Services has given Hogeschool Rotterdam a highly available platform for delivering reliable IT services to staff and students. Offering excellent business continuity, the solution is also compact and easy to manage.
“When we looked at other options, we estimated that equivalent solutions would require 20 servers just for the mail environment, whereas we need only 16 machines in total,” said Kerkdijk. “Using Open Enterprise Server preserves our investments in Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) technology and skills, while opening up new possibilities for the future.”
For Hogeschool Rotterdam, a key benefit of using our technologies is their low cost of ownership, made possible by their stability and limited requirements for maintenance. The institution has 35,000 active mailboxes in its GroupWise e-mail and calendaring solution, yet just ten administrators in total—of whom only three are dedicated to our landscape.
“In our opinion, Novell offers reliable, proven technology at attractive pricing,” said Kerkdijk. “The Novell solutions help us to deliver maximum functionality to users with the minimum of management overhead. As an educational institution with limited budgets, the low running costs are a great benefit.”