Liverpool John Moores University Profile Avocent Case Study

Avocent Case Study
Liverpool John
Moores University
Managing an extensive IT landscape
from a single point of control
Business Needs
• To enhance and simplify the management of more than 250 servers at numerous
data centers across a university campus
• To eliminate the need for IT staff to travel across town to perform basic
server maintenance
• To manage virtual and physical systems via a shared interface
• Avocent DSView 3 software enables IT staff to remotely manage servers
at several locations
Liverpool John Moores University
Liverpool, UK
Web site
Avocent DSView® 3 management software
Avocent DSR® KVM over IP switch appliances
• DSView 3 provides a single point of control for Windows®, Linux® and
VMware® environments
• Support for virtual media enables remote deployment of operating systems
and drivers, reducing IT staff workload
Founded in 1825, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) has more than 180 years
of experience in delivering quality post-secondary education. In the modern age,
the university has successfully expanded its reach to include professional training,
business support, consultancy and economic leadership, without compromising the
integrity of research and teaching which underpin a truly great university.
The university is organized into six faculties or schools: business and law; education,
community and leisure; media, arts and social science; health and applied social
sciences; science; and technology and environment. Some 3,000 staff and nearly
25,000 students are based at three main campuses, two of which are located close
to Liverpool’s city center.
Like most universities, LJMU’s IT infrastructure is distributed across several locations
at each campus. In total, the university runs approximately 250 servers with operating
systems including Windows, Red Hat® Enterprise Linux and VMware.
The IT team at LJMU struggled to manage this large, heterogeneous, geographically
dispersed IT infrastructure efficiently. With 250 servers located in numerous data
centers, server rooms and IT closets at its three main campuses, IT staff members
continually travelled from site to site to set up new systems, install applications and
deploy patches.
Additionally, the lack of centralized management made it difficult to handle simple,
repetitive tasks efficiently. Rolling out a patch to numerous servers involved visiting
each machine individually, putting the patch DVD into the drive and logging in via the
local KVM switch to install the patch. Repeating this process across several hundred
machines was tedious and time-consuming for the university’s highly skilled in-house
“DSView 3 [software] gives
us complete control of our
extensive IT infrastructure,
providing seamless
connectivity and a central
management point for
both physical and virtual
systems. As a result, we...
have seen a significant
increase in productivity
across the IT department.”
Mark Smith
Computing Officer, Operations
Liverpool John Moores University
[Avocent Case Study] Liverpool John Moores University
“We want to spend our time focusing on important, strategic projects,
so the more we can streamline the basic server administration work,
the better,” comments Mark Smith, Computing Officer, Operations
at LJMU. “We realized that if we could find a way to manage our
servers remotely from a central point of control, we could potentially
achieve a massive increase in productivity.”
Finding a Solution
The IT team began researching the different remote management
solutions available on the market and realized that a combination of
Avocent KVM over IP appliances and Avocent DSView 3 software
could meet all of its requirements.
“We had been using Avocent hardware and software for many
years and were impressed with the quality and reliability of Avocent
products,” says Mark Smith. “So, we were confident that this solution
would be a good option for us, and we asked Avocent to help us
implement a solution that would meet our specific needs.”
Smooth Implementation
The remote management capabilities of DSView 3 software are also
a significant upgrade over the university’s previous solution. Instead
of relying on site visits and local KVM switches, the IT team can log
in to any server at any site from its central office. This allows IT specialists to perform diagnostics, install software or even power cycle
devices, eliminating the need to travel from site to site through heavy
traffic, wasting valuable resources–time and money.
“The ability to manage servers and network devices remotely is a
massive time-saver for us,” comments Mark Smith. “In particular, the
virtual media feature is extremely helpful. We can insert a software
installation DVD into a drive at our office and access it from a remote
server in exactly the same way as if we’d actually put the DVD in
the server’s own drive. This means we can easily install software
remotely, instead of having to visit each machine individually.”
“Lights-Out” Infrastructure
Finally, by reducing the need for site visits, DSView 3 software
is helping to improve the overall security of the university’s
IT infrastructure.
Consultants from Avocent and partner/reseller 2bm visited LJMU to
“Our remote sites can now pretty much remain under lock and key,
oversee the initial installation, advise on potential firmware issues,
because we very rarely need access to them,” says Mark Smith.
tailor the product to the university’s requirements and share best
“Previously, people were in and out of them all the time, so it was very
practices for migrating to the latest version of the DSView 3 software.
difficult to ensure physical security. Another advantage is that we
“We found the best implementation strategy was to perform the
can configure access rights within the DSView 3 software down to
install and upgrade the firmware of our servers and devices to get
a very detailed level, so we can ensure that each server can only be
the remote connectivity up and running as quickly as possible,” says
accessed by a specific group of authorized personnel.”
Mark Smith. “The remaining configuration, tuning and tweaking were
He concludes, “DSView 3 [software] gives us complete control of
done over a period of time afterwards. The implementation went
our extensive IT infrastructure, providing seamless connectivity and
smoothly, and over the course of the project, we gained an excellent
a central management point for both physical and virtual systems. As
understanding of the product.”
a result, we spend less time travelling from site to site and have seen
a significant increase in productivity across the IT department.”
Single Point of Control
The DSView 3 software solution is already delivering significant
About Avocent Corporation
benefits for LJMU, in terms of both IT team productivity and overall
Avocent delivers IT operations and infrastructure management solusecurity.
tions for enterprises worldwide, helping customers to reduce costs
“The first main benefit of DSView 3 [software] is that it provides an
and simplify complex IT environments via integrated, centralized inIP-based single point of control for all our KVM appliances, and
band and out-of-band hardware and software. Additional information
therefore all our servers, whether they are running Windows, Linux or
is available at
VMware,” says Mark Smith. “The VMware integration is particularly
valuable; we’re seeing considerable growth in virtualized systems
across the university, so it’s excellent that we can manage all of them
via the same simple interface.”
2bm is a dynamic, forward-looking company offering the latest data center solutions. From server racks to KVM switches, 2bm prides
itself on its ability to deliver unparalleled levels of customer service and support at competitive prices.
2bm offers a fully-managed data center solutions service, ranging from build-outs to the installation of cooling, UPS and server racks.
The 2bm product portfolio is regularly updated to provide the latest innovations in data center technology, helping customers dramatically improve data center efficiency
and reliability.
Avocent, the Avocent logo, DSR and DSView are registered trademarks of Avocent Corporation
or its affiliates in the US or other countries. All other marks are the property of their respective
owners. © 2010 Avocent Corporation. All rights reserved. 0410-JMU-CS-EN