Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

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RMIT Expands its Global Campuses with Multi-country Disaster Recovery Solution

Client: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

Location: Australia

With a pedigree dating back to 1887, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) has earned itself a reputation for excellence in higher education and vocational training on an international scale. Ranked as Australia’s best university for Art and Design and one of the top 40 universities in the world for its academic staff’s international profile, RMIT now operates campuses in Ho Chi Minh and Barcelona alongside its flagship campus in the heart of Melbourne.

Challenges

  • A need for resilient, scalable disaster recovery services to support digital growth
  • Complex multi-country legal and governance requirements in challenging Asian market
  • Rapidly increasing hybrid cloud footprint

Solution

  • Data centre solutions in Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh
  • High-scalability network gateway for AWS
  • A primed contract that supports multi-region delivery of services (Australia and Vietnam)

Benefits

  • Successful migration to disaster recovery environments
  • Countless hours saved in negotiating Vietnam’s legal landscape
  • Scalable platform for digital innovations including next-gen wireless
  • Single point of ownership, accountability and responsibility for all services in Australia and Vietnam

With a pedigree dating back to 1887, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) has earned itself a reputation for excellence in higher education and vocational training on an international scale. Ranked as Australia’s best university for Art and Design and one of the top 40 universities in the world for its academic staff’s international profile, RMIT now operates campuses in Ho Chi Minh and Barcelona alongside its flagship campus in the heart of Melbourne. 


CHALLENGES: Laying global foundations for a digital student experience

As part of its strategic plan to 2020, RMIT aims to fully embrace a digital environment that makes students’ experience of the University more agile, collaborative, and impactful. Doing so, however, required the university to undergo transformation to its fundamental IT infrastructure, including a move from legacy data centres into a hybrid cloud environment. To maintain its growing reputation amongst students for world-class digital learning, RMIT also needed to ensure that this new cloud-first model was supported by consistently reliable disaster recovery (DR) and failover systems for both its Melbourne and Vietnam campuses.

“The digital user experience needs to be as consistent as it is intuitive if we want our students to achieve their full potential,” said Sinan Erbay, Director of Technology. “To do that, we needed cloud and data centre solutions that would work the same anywhere in the world, supported by networks with the scalability and resilience to handle rapid workload growth.”

We needed cloud and data centre solutions that would work the same anywhere in the world, supported by networks with the scalability and resilience to handle rapid workload growth.

RMIT also sought a technology partner who could help them navigate the complexities of doing business in Vietnam, particularly in negotiating contracts and SLAs with numerous smaller IT firms. The university recognised that unless its data centre solutions in both Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh were unified under a single provider, the resulting fragmentation would generate costs and potenital service delivery issues that could quickly undermine the quality of students’ digital experience.

NTT ICT had already been working with RMIT for the past 7 years, providing more traditional hardware and infrastructure to the university. The university was quick to realise that NTT ICT’s complementary data centre and networking capabilities, coupled with its market reach throughout Asia, could also help them transition into a more agile, cloud-first operating model.

SOLUTIONS: A networking, disaster recovery, and cloud template for Australia and abroad

“NTT ICT have consistently proven themselves to be practical innovators whose solutions come fit-to-purpose for our business needs,” said Erbay. “Their reputation for enabling Australian businesses to successfully grow in Asia – despite the legal and technical complexities of operating in the region’s developing markets – gave us the confidence that they could power this next stage of our digital journey.”

NTT ICT initially provided highly scalable, fault-tolerant network gateway and DR services that allowed RMIT to connect its Melbourne data centre to its newly-provisioned AWS instances in Sydney. Doing so enabled RMIT to successfully migrate its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) into AWS, while also paving the way for the university’s new DR solution, to be hosted in NTT ICT’s data centres. “Partnering with NTT gave us not just state-of-the-art data centres, but the security, resilience, and accessibility we needed to grow,” said Erbay.

Partnering with NTT gave us not just state-of-the-art data centres, but the security, resilience, and accessibility we needed to grow.

After establishing its DR environment for the Melbourne campus in NTT ICT’s data centre – comprising more than 80 racks alone – RMIT applied a similar solution to its Ho Chi Minh campus. Both sites now enjoy 100% uptime within a single consolidated operating model, backed up by NTT ICT’s local data centres in Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh.

 “While our disaster recovery solution in Vietnam was once fit for purpose, our requirements evolved over the years to require a far bigger, more agile space,” said Erbay. “The multi-country DR solution gave RMIT a solid platform for future digital service expansion within a relatively short time, supported by our Tier 1 Internet network infrastructure that ensures students in Vietnam get a comparable experience to their counterparts in Melbourne.”

RMIT and NTT ICT have already begun collaborating on some of those innovations, including the roll-out of HPE’s Aruba wireless technology to both campuses in Australia and Vietnam. The deployments will provide RMIT with not only campus-wide WiFi that can scale to strenuous student needs, but also analytics and insights into students’ behaviours during Open Days and semesters – allowing the university to track, map, and improve how students interact with facilities and services while maintaining world-class data security.

BENEFITS: Seamless rollout amidst challenging market conditions

The seamless rollout of both DR environments was made all the more impressive by the numerous contractual workflows and legal obligations that businesses typically need to negotiate in Vietnam – a series of processes which RMIT entrusted to NTT ICT to handle. By taking on the commercial liability for suppliers’ contracts and SLAs, NTT ICT eliminated the need for RMIT to adjust any processes to operate in Vietnam – saving the university countless hours and management costs.

“NTT ICT simplified one of the most complicated go-to-market models that we would’ve otherwise had to handle ourselves,” said Erbay. “Their expertise and depth of partner relationships in Asia, combined with a single-contract approach to managing infrastructure in all our markets, means that our existing Australian business model delivers the results we need in Vietnam.”

Their expertise and depth of partner relationships in Asia, combined with a single-contract approach to managing infrastructure in all our markets, means that our existing Australian business model delivers the results we need in Vietnam.

With 100%-uptime now guaranteed for both its Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh campuses, and technical support services from NTT ICT also active in Barcelona, RMIT’s next step is to consolidate its data centres and eliminate its legacy infrastructure – a move NTT ICT is well placed to support.

“Over the past 7 years, the NTT ICT team have maintained a high level of responsiveness, strategic insight, and practicality – we could literally go to them for anything we needed,” said Erbay. “We’re looking forward to deepening that relationship as we take the next steps towards our 2020 vision of a best in class digital student experience.”

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