Future thinking

Craig Parker, head of product marketing at Fujitsu tells University Business how the company is tackling new challenges head on

How have you been working with UK higher education institutions?  

Fujitsu has an established network of experienced, education focused partners whose core business is servicing the ICT needs of education institutions. We are also on a range of frameworks that we have been working with the institutions through such as PSN-C, PSN-S, ITHS, JANET and NSSA. We have also been working on developing partnerships with the institutions that we provide services to so that there is a continuous relationship.

How will this continue to develop in 2014?

We are looking to strengthen our partnerships and education portfolio in 2014 so we can understand and develop propositions based
from both the student, parent and lecturer perspective.

New solutions are being developed which have a particular focus on virtualisation offerings such as vShape and our Appliance solutions. HPC is becoming a key focus from a number of institutions looking to continue to attract students and secure future investments for research and PhD level.

What changes have you seen take place in HE in recent years?

With the introduction of higher fees, students are looking for a flexible and highly accessible ICT service from
their university. In turn, ICT departments are looking to simplify the management of highly complex server and storage solutions as well as embracing the BYOD culture. Peter O’Rourke from University Campus Suffolk, was recently quoted as saying: ‘We have to move to allow students to consume any content they want to, at any time, on any device.’

This has led to Fujitsu developing solutions that can help with providing a highly scalable and flexible solution with the high performance and availability required; in turn these solutions have led to a reduced physical footprint resulting in reduced energy and power consumption with a single point of contact for maintenance.

We have also seen High Performance Computing (HPC) emerging as a pivotal tool in most aspects of research, enabling innovation and enriching the effectiveness of developing solutions in a shorter timescale. Fujitsu’s strategic collaboration with HPC Wales is designed to promote the uptake of high-performance computing (HPC) in Welsh industries in areas of priority to the Welsh Government. PhD Studentship projects are also using the HPC infrastructure of HPC Wales, and they will also have access to collaboration with researchers and HPC specialists from Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe and the Technical Computing Solutions Unit of Fujitsu Limited.

Will 2014 present new challenges?

Students and lecturers have increasingly high expectations for a 24/7 ICT service from their higher education institutions, and this means that ICT departments need to be looking at providing 100% uptime on a global level. The impact of this is that the institutions will be looking for solutions such as outsourcing maintenance to deliver this kind of service level combined with an infrastructure that delivers high reliability and resilience.

Data growth driven by the digitisation of students and teacher’s records, plus the ability for information sharing has led to storage requirements changing. Lecturers are expecting high availability and accessibility, and the demand for mobile access to centralised data is becoming the norm leading to security challenges for the ICT department. There is also an expectation that all data is backed up securely and recovery is possible at any time.

 

 

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