News Release

Bowling Green State University, One of the Nation’s Top Public Universities, Selects Cisco SDN Data Center Solutions to Better Serve Students, Faculty and Researchers

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) provides powerful policy-based, programmable automated architecture to support more efficient, highly secure data center
Oct 29, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif--– October 30, 2015– Online learning, high-speed mobile Internet access, continuous application deployments, research support, interactive learning modules, and aggressive hackers are just a few of the challenges in today’s university IT environments. 

To address these requirements, provide a highly secure environment, and support the increased bandwidth need driven by online learning and interactive learning modules, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio will deploy Cisco® Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to support improved educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Cisco ACI™ will increase IT efficiency, reduce operational costs, improve scalability for future growth, and free up IT staff time to support new university initiatives and serve students faster.

Bowling Green State University will deploy Cisco ACI in a colocation facility, freeing up valuable on-campus space that will be repurposed for student services. IT management predicts that the time spent deploying applications and automating the underlying DC infrastructure, including setting up switch hardware, firewalls, servers, load balancers and applications, will be significantly reduced with the turnkey ACI programmable data center.

BGSU looked at other SDN solutions but decided they weren’t as mature as Cisco ACI, according to Matt Haschak, director of IT security and infrastructure. While Cisco ACI was chosen for its ability to simplify and accelerate application delivery, the security aspects were equally important. “ACI is a policy-based architecture,” Haschak explains. “Once you define those policies, they follow the applications no matter where they are stored or accessed, and everything else becomes faster, easier, more consistent and more secure moving forward. With ACI, we can see how everything is connected in a single pane of glass, and understand how security policies are being enforced.”

Cisco ACI provides a fully integrated SDN approach focused on security multi-tenancy, policy-based centralized management, compliance from a single point of management for physical, virtual and container workloads, and an ability to scale quickly. ACI meets these expectations through an automated application-centric policy model with embedded security, while integrating a broad open ecosystem of industry leaders. ACI’s integrated overlay and underlay network model provides full support of heterogeneous physical and virtual networks, using consistent policy, with single pane of management, with deeper visibility into infrastructure health, enabling faster troubleshooting of the whole data center environment. ACI’s support for secure multi-tenancy is a key requirement for universities because they need to provide highly secure separation between research projects, administrative applications, student information, and other sensitive applications.

“When we started looking at SDN, we had three requirements,” said Haschak. “We wanted an architecture that would allow us to be more efficient; that would be more flexible and open; and offer better, more consistent security. Our new architecture will allow us to evolve as an IT staff and as a university.”

As part of its evolution, the university is expanding outside its traditional on-campus students, with initiatives like online learning. They are also working to meet student expectations for faster internet access and deliver the latest technologies in the classrooms for active learning. The new BGSU data center based on Cisco SDN technology will help the university meet those requirements and achieve new goals in the future. 

Frequently, department leaders find new applications they want to employ for teaching purposes and want them online quickly. With Cisco ACI, the IT department will be able to respond quickly to these requests without derailing other priorities. According to Haschak, “We needed the ability to develop a research network where we can provision resources for research projects and enable them to collaborate with others, while restricting access and maintaining security for core administrative systems.”

With cloud solutions, the use of Cisco Unified Computing System(Cisco UCS®) and server virtualization, and ACI, the BGSU IT staff will consolidate 27 racks of equipment to four racks. The BGSU data center includes Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI), Cisco Nexus® switches, and the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco UCS. The data center is a leaf-spine configuration, with the Cisco Nexus 9396 data center switch as a leaf, and the Cisco Nexus 9336 serving as the spine.

Additional Resources

Read IDC Report: Symantec Delivering on Its Strategic Vision with Next-Generation Secure Datacenter Powered by Cisco ACI

Learn more about: Cisco Data Center and Virtualization

Learn more about: Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)

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