King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), the national science agency and laboratory for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has collaborated with Brocade to deliver a state-of-the-art network infrastructure comprised of high-performance campus networking and load balancing solutions.
The solution has been implemented due to a need to create a modern, future-proof network infrastructure to support bandwidth-intensive research applications and data sharing across global universities and research agencies – such as the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) and the UNESCO (the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation).
“Factors such as an increasing number of employees and deployment of bandwidth-intensive applications—like Oracle ERP, wireless applications as well as external services [to share data with international agencies]—led to tremendous strain on the underlying infrastructure. We had plans to go wireless to increase user productivity, but were being held back by the limitations of a network that could not deliver the kind of performance we required. The need for a more stable, high-performance network was becoming increasingly obvious to us, and we knew that the success of a number of our future initiatives would depend on a strong and reliable foundation,” said Eng. Hasan Alhowimel, Assistant of IT Directory and Network Engineer at KACST.
The new Brocade campus network environment, deployed by Brocade’s local partner Nesma Advanced Technology, spans 16 buildings including the KACST headquarters, which houses the institution’s data center. Each building has a Brocade FCX Series switch at the edge connected to a Brocade FastIron SX Series switch with 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) uplinks to Brocade BigIron RX Series core switches in the data centre. KACST also deployed Brocade VDX 6720 Switches to provide reliability and performance, while paving the way for the institution to deploy Brocade Ethernet fabric technology and private cloud services in the future.
The benefits of the Brocade FastIron SX switches, with industry-leading Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, were immediately realised.
“We found that the Brocade PoE solution not only reduced the cost of cabling, but also greatly simplified integration of our security camera and fingerprint attendance systems,” said Eng. Alhowimel.
As part of the wider network upgrade, the Brocade ADX Series of application delivery switches allowed KACST to achieve significant performance benefits from its Web portal. The Brocade ADX switches have also future-proofed the KACST for IPv6 support, enabling a seamless migration to this technology as required.
Since the network upgrade, KACST has seen improved performance and a dramatic increase in the speed of its many applications and Web services. The agency has successfully deployed its wireless network, which effortlessly manages the additional load from personal mobile devices, the security infrastructure and attendance systems.
The implementation has also brought about significant cost benefits. “The cost of the Brocade solution was exactly half that of the equivalent competitive offering, but delivers so much more in terms of performance,” said Eng. Alhowimel.
Such improved performance allows the agency to connect and collaborate with a broad network of universities and research centres across the globe. This permits the sharing of extremely expensive research equipment, which is used for analysis and calculations. Thanks to the new network, KACST now shares the utilisation and cost of these systems with other research agencies.