Case Studies

Overview
Spelman College, an historically Black college for women in Atlanta, GA, was facing the reality that their technology solutions needed to support the large number of devices students were using on campus. As a liberal arts college, technology had not always been a top focus, but to continue drawing the coming generations of students, they had to make significant strides towards fully integrating technology into the educational experience.

One of the first priorities was to create the basic foundation for an uninterrupted and constructive learning environment: a reliable wireless network. After working with Byteworks on two previous projects, Spelman was impressed with their ability to solve problems that others were unable to fix. They enlisted Byteworks to engineer a solution resulting in reliable and high-performance wireless network access for students, faculty, and staff.
Business Need
Today's college students expect and demand reliable and ubiquitous wireless coverage to support an enhanced educational experience through eLearning, video, and online collaboration tools. In order for Spelman College to continue attracting new students with ever-increasing expectations of technology, a reliable wireless network is critical.

Prior to Byteworks' involvement, Spelman's wireless network deployment faced challenges including poor performance, outages and prompts for reauthentication. Wireless access points had been placed without the benefit of a wireless network assessment, and the network did not cover key portions of the campus. In order to start the coming school year (2013-2014) with universal wireless connectivity for their students, the wireless network needed to be quickly and strategically reworked.
Solution
Byteworks was engaged to perform a full network assessment of all devices and their configuration. The team knew that the problems with the original network were due to constraints of internal resources. With a methodical approach to evaluating the campus's specific layout and composition, Byteworks could apply scientific data and provide a reliable and universal wireless network for Spelman College and its students. One of the first steps was to perform a wireless site survey, which provides the scientific data that was needed to guide the design of a wireless network for optimal performance.

The Byteworks team walked every portion of the campus twice to incorporate active and passive scans while measuring radio frequency and interference. They combined this information with the layout of the campus including building materials to calculate optimal placements for wireless access points. The results indicated a need for far more access points than were currently in place. After weighing budget and capabilities, they recommended Cisco Aironet 2602i Access Points for their specific capabilities. Byteworks also recommended a new Wireless LAN Controller to manage all campus access points on a single controller rather than multiple controllers in order to address the reauthentication problems and simplify administration.
Benefits
After implementing Phase I of Byteworks' recommendations, which included reworking the core of the wireless network for reliability and accessibility, Spelman's campus had reliable and high-performance wireless network access for students, faculty, and staff within the Phase 1 buildout. Areas that previously had problems with connectivity or reauthentication were tested by Spelman's IT staff and found to have universal access. Not only did Byteworks' recommendations and methodical approach produce great results, they completed the work within a very aggressive timeline in order to have the new network in place before the start of the Fall semester.

Acknowledging Byteworks' flexibility as an agile and responsive company, the college administration was thrilled by their ability of Byteworks to deliver quality results under a compressed timeline. After the successful implementation of Phase I, Spelman engaged Byteworks to quickly begin work on Phase II and Phase III to continue the momentum of incorporating the new wireless capability into additional buildings across the campus.
Overview
Saralux, a quickly growing provider of managed IT services primarily in the non-profit sector, was facing an exponential increase in the storage and processing power needed to support their customers. In order to continue serving their customers with IT services comparable to those in the for-profit sector, they needed to improve their current switching capacity and storage performance.

Saralux enlisted Byteworks to recommend a solution and the result was a speedy network that not only addressed the need for growth, but also improved the user experience.
Business Need
Each Saralux data center is equipped with state of the art equipment that provides a highly redundant hardware platform consisting of high performance servers and Storage Area Networks (SAN). When customers pay for managed IT services that include hosting, they expect a secure, reliable environment with uninterrupted availability. The success of Saralux's offerings depends entirely on their ability to provide a reliable and efficient network.

As Saralux was analyzing it's growth within their current environment, their Director of IT Operations proactively reached out to Byteworks for strategic guidance.
Solution
Upon learning of Saralux's storage and processing growth projections, Byteworks knew the company could benefit from a 10 Gigabit Ethernet in the core of the network. The Byteworks team designed a network to introduce 10 GigE among the systems that could most benefit from the additional throughput. Taking into consideration Saralux's budget, Byteworks developed a two-phased plan to quickly address current needs while anticipating long term growth. The first phase of the network design addressed Saralux's need for high-bandwidth connectivity within the core. This phase included a pair of redundant Nexus 5548 switches, which provided 10Gb ports for the core devices and 1Gb for all others. The design included the addition of 10 GigE network interface cards to all hosts within the VMware cluster, which allowed for load balancing between the two Nexus switches as well as full redundancy.

The second phase of the network design ensured that Saralux was adequately prepared for future growth of the data set under management. Due to the nature of their services, Byteworks identified that data deduplication at the storage layer would provide significant advantages by reducing the overall storage capacity that would be required. This phase also brought the 10 GigE capabilities into the storage system, which dramatically increased the throughput for read and write operations to and from disk. Additionally, a NetApp storage array was included with disk-to-disk backups and offsite replication to a disaster recovery facility out of state. The NetApp array also significantly reduced the time required to clone and provision new virtual machines.
Benefit
After completing the two-phased redesign, the Saralux network was not only prepared for more growth, but also significantly faster. For example, a common operation involved in provisioning a new server for a customer that previously took 25 minutes now completed in only 30 seconds. Additionally, a process that previously took 2-5 minutes to migrate a single VM from host to host could now migrate 15-20 VMs within 10 seconds.

Also, using the data deduplication features of the new NetApp storage system, Saralux was able to reduce overall storage utilization by 40% with zero impact to performance. This improvement generated significant savings for Saralux due to the reduced amount of needed storage.

Byteworks never over-promises or under-delivers. They set expectations and exceed them every time."
- Jim Mazzareli, Genesis Real Estate
Byteworks never over-promises or under-delivers. They set expectations and exceed them every time."
- Jim Mazzareli, Genesis Real Estate