Daramalan College deploys Brocade Ethernet Fabric Technology to deliver a more robust student experience


Building on the success of its campus LAN and core network upgrade,the Australian Capital Territory’s Daramalan College has become the first high school in Australia to deploy Brocade’s Ethernet fabric to support its IT operations. The decision to move to the third phase of its network infrastructure upgrade with Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD) has seen the college deployBrocade VDX 6720 Switches and VCS Fabric technology to replace its legacy server access infrastructure. The decision was driven by anticipated traffic growth from current applications, including real-time video streaming and the college’s administrative suite, as well as increased demand for higher network performance.

Daramalan College is the largest single-campus independent secondary school in Canberra, with a strong focus on leveraging IT to support teaching and learning as well as administrative functions. Over the last two years it has undertaken a comprehensive revamp of its network infrastructure with local Brocade partner, Correct Communications, culminating in the entire network being characterized as a “best-practice” design.

The college had also started to virtualize its server environment but, with a single 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connection per server having to support virtual machines and a virtual LAN connection to the storage array, performance was being impacted.

Given the positive experiencethe college has had with Brocade Ethernet switches in the two previous phases of network upgrades, it had no hesitation in working with Brocade and Correct Communications to design a solution to the server-based application performance challenges. Correct Communications recommended that the college adopt Brocade VCS Fabric technology to facilitate the college’s transition to a flexible, mission-critical, fabric-based network designed to support highly virtualized operations.

Brocade VDX 6720 switches have now been deployed as the high-availability infrastructure connecting Daramalan College’s server farm to the rest of its network. The switches are interconnected over multiple 10 Gigabit Ethernet links, creating a low-latency, single-layer Ethernet fabric with multiple 10 GbE links to the college’s Brocade-based core network.

This enables the college to establish fully redundant, high-bandwidth connections to its servers and storage array, with each device being connected to the Brocade VDX 6720 switches over 10GbE links that, thanks to the intelligence of Brocade VCS Fabric technology, are load-balanced to maximize performance. In addition, the switches transform the way servers talk to each other – which is critical in highly virtualized environments – automatically establishing high-performance virtual machine-aware connections over the Ethernet fabric without any legacy network protocol issues.

While faster and smarter server connectivity is a critical factor in enabling the further development of Daramalan College’s IT systems, Wilson is already benefitting from a dramatic reduction in network administration workload. With Brocade switching infrastructure now in place at the network edge, core and server levels, the IT staff has deployed a single easy-to-use, GUI-based management platform for the entire network.

Moreover, the network is supported by the world-class Brocade support infrastructure. With multiple Brocade Technical Assistance Centers and more than 170 parts depots in over 40 countries, Brocade is capable of delivering reliable support whenever and wherever it is needed.