University of Reading

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Location


Reading, UK

Completion Date


2012

Sector


Higher Education

Introduction


There are 17,500 students at the University of Reading. As one of the world’s top 200 Universities, and in the UK’s top 10 most research intensive, the University of Reading enjoys a world‐class reputation. It has faculties in art and humanities, life science, science, social science and recently merged with the Henley Management College to form the University’s Henley Business School. The University’s ambitious multi-million-pound investment programme is delivering twenty-first-century facilities and strengthening its international reputation for quality teaching, research and enterprise.

The Challenges


IT Services at the University of Reading provides and operates the ICT infrastructure which supports and upholds its internationally renowned reputation for teaching and research. The University therefore needs a Data Centre environment that is reliable, flexible and efficient. With the University’s ambitious plans for continued growth and a number of changes and additions to the University’s faculty organisation, the IT services delivered to the University have also changed. As it grows, the University must ensure continuing reliability and cost effective operation of the ‘corporate’ and student services and thus decided to conduct a review in order to inform its future Data Centre development strategy. PTS Consulting was employed to conduct an independent review of the current Data Centre facility, report on its ongoing capability to meet the IT changes, and investigate and report on the capability of other campus sites to support a new Data Centre. Since the proposed site for the new Data Centre location is within a conservation area, it was also very important to consider the planning issues environmental impact.

PTS Solutions


Data Centre Feasibility Study: In order to conduct a detailed analysis and survey of the proposed site, PTS Consulting worked closely with the University IT Services and Facilities Management Directorate as well as the project management team and the professional construction team (architect, cost consultants, mechanical and electrical engineers) to produce a multidiscipline report looking at the feasibility within the constraints of the site (a conservation area). The building architectural options, location, access and security, power, electrical supplies, communications, noise from the air conditioning, architectural options were all considered by the PTS Consultants and then the findings and conclusion on the feasibility of the site was presented. Also included in the report were budgetary costs to create a new Data Centre based on current best practice against a green and sustainable agenda.

The Results


PTS Consulting’s knowledge and experience provided the foundations for the feasibility study of a new, efficient and effective Data Centre with a life span of 15 years. With an understanding of construction processes and relationships; IT infrastructure design and delivery; Data Centre operations; current Data Centre design options; and, environmental/cost drivers, PTS was able to provide leadership to the design team through the overall understanding of Data Centre issues. This has allowed the University IT Services team to present future options for a feasible Data Centre to the University’s senior decision-makers.

Specific benefits to the University included:

  • Detailed Data Centre feasibility study to allow the University to take an informed decision on the implementation of a new and efficient Data Centre within an identified conservation area.
  • Best practice advice and budget against a green and sustainable agenda that will deliver a Data Centre that will meet the University’s growth objectives over the next 15 years.
  • Collaboration with the University’s Facilities Management Directorate and professional team members to ensure the Data Centre recommendations will fit with the overall campus development scheme.

PTS Consulting’s final report became part of a total area development proposal for a campus development programme. This will enable the University of Reading to ensure that its future Data Centre facility can be resilient, efficient and environmentally sustainable.

Hilary Vines, Assistant Director of IT Services at the University of Reading commented:
“Having worked with PTS Consulting over a number of years, we were pleased to select PTS again to offer best practice advice on the feasibility and environmental impact of a future Data Centre facility at the University of Reading. The PTS Consultants settled into our team straight away, which made working with them very straightforward. With such an in‐depth knowledge of the higher education sector, PTS has quickly been able to help us establish how to maximise return on investment from technology as part of our overall campus development.”

 

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