Established in 1992, Staffordshire University is based in the city of Stoke-on-Trent and has almost 20,000 students and over 1,000 full-time staff. The university has a heritage of science learning and lays claim to their School of Computing being on of the first in the UK to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Computing, more recently they've become the first in the country to offer a specific Undergraduate degree in Cloud Computing.
Following an ‘end-to-end’ transformation of IT at Staffordshire University, they become the first University in the UK to take a full migration to the Cloud. This was based on an IT platform in Microsoft Azure, integrating its core technologies including StorSimple, Azure Site Recovery, Office365, ExpressRoute and Skype for Business.
Number of users:
Staffordshire University had suffered from minimal investment in its core infrastructure that had resulted in its own IT provision operating over multiple, and significant single points of failure and risk.
With a burning platform of Estate Rationalisation, and the decommissioning of its secondary Data Centre (DC), the concerns around capacity, back-up and disaster recovery escalated. The University was faced with a complete technology refresh, with an initial capital cost calculated at over £8.4m for the construction of 2 new on-premise DC’s.
The University’s vision was simple. They needed to meet the challenges of delivering a flexible, dynamic, and cost effective IT service, whilst doing so sustainably with minimal risk, business disruption and satisfying the ever-growing demands of end-users.
Following the delivery of a Cloud Readiness Assessment, CoreAzure demonstrated the following areas of concern around the University’s legacy platform;
- No Disaster Recovery
- Un-supported and ageing assets
- Poor commercial and financial visibility with a lack of understanding of TCO
- Disaggregation between faculty and IT
- Poor end-user experience
The outcome was clear; improve systems management and monitoring processes and embrace the scalability and resiliency benefits of cloud computing by undertaking a full migration to Microsoft Azure.
Across an 11-month project, there was a full re-architecture and migration of 131 applications from on premise to Azure, providing business continuity and disaster recovery with Azure Site Recovery. While avoiding more than £4m in capital expenditure for year one alone, by moving to the Cloud rather than refreshing their legacy technology.
As part of the Cloud Transformation Project, CoreAzure undertook a full and robust network upgrade across both campuses and connectivity to Azure via ExpressRoute. CoreAzure were successfully able to tailor implementation to prioritise migration and resilience of ‘Key Line of Business’ applications in advance of ‘Clearing’ in August and work around various other important dates in the Universities calendar.
Building for the future
Staffordshire University have avoided £8.2m of capital costs for two new data centre’s, and will recognise the ongoing capital avoidance identified from licencing and maintenance savings.
Furthermore, the University has inherited a strategically aligned, resilient and scalable platform to drive further improvements through the organisation, notably;
- Enhanced end-user experience
- Microsoft core technologies, Office365 and Skype for Business
- Empowered staff, trained on the Azure platform
- Financial clarity, an understanding of TCO
- Financial savings
- Reduced risk, disaster recovery and asset refresh
- Secure ExpressRoute connectivity to Azure
Through CoreAzure’s engagement with Staffordshire University, they have become Microsoft’s first ‘Beacon University’, recognised as the organisation leading the way for cloud technologies within Higher Education. In addition to becoming the first UK University to fully migrate to the cloud, Staffordshire have also become the first to utilise direct and secure access to Azure through ExpressRoute connectivity over the Janet Network.
CoreAzure have been instrumental in supporting Staffordshire University to its ambition of a true digital transformation by migrating our organisation to Microsoft Azure Cloud.