Netherlands' Deltion College Implements SDN to Better Support Video Services and Lync

By Laura Stotler July 16, 2015

Dutch-based Deltion College has undergone a massive network infrastructure renewal based largely on SDN and using technology solutions from HP, Microsoft and Kemp Technologies. As part of its educational structure, the College makes video recordings of all class lectures, which are then made available to students via live streams or for later playback.

To better support this network and resource-intensive process, Deltion decided to implement a stronger network infrastructure that would be application centric and also better equip staff and students for the future. Most importantly, the network needed to be able to support video services for more than 15,000 students and 1,200 staff members.

“Students want to study at times they find pleasant – at weekends or at night – and they want to have access to their online learning environment,” said Rob Vos, computerization and automation manager at Deltion College. “We think students need to focus on their studies – they don’t need the trouble of a slow IT network or a computer that is not working. We wanted a network structure we could at least work with for the next couple of years.”

The College opted to implement an SDN architecture using HP’s Virtual Application Networks Controller in tandem with adaptive load balancing for SDN from Kemp Technologies. This enabled Deltion to retain two existing Kemp 2600 LoadMasters and add two additional appliances to allocate traffic to roughly 250 Microsoft Hyper-V servers. The College has now deployed load balancing for Lync, Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange within the SDN environment.

According to Vos, one of the biggest benefits of the new SDN architecture is the ability to configure network bandwidth and servers dynamically. Administrators may also automate backups and application upgrades and can provide stronger protection from hacking and denial-of-service attacks. The result has been extremely positive, and technical issues with Lync alone have been reduced by 30 to 40 percent.

The new network infrastructure also benefits from a hybrid configuration, through which switches may revert to legacy switching behavior in the event of an outage or failure. Cost savings is an additional benefit, but was not the main driver in Deltion’s decision to move to SDN.

“That’s definitely not the reason we chose SDN – we wanted to improve our network capacity and customer value,” said Vos. “Our staff spend less time on firefighting tasks and can be re-allocated to other projects. The social return to our students and the increased user experience are big advantages.”


NFVZone Contributing Editor

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