The overarching priority of Bridgewater State University (BSU) is student success. Providing a technically rich academic environment and achieving cost efficiency in IT practices are directly linked to that success. For a state university, every dollar counts. BSU was in a unique position to enhance efficiency as it held its own dark fiber running from its main campus in Bridgewater, following the MBTA tracks into Boston.
BSU also faced challenges with its aging on-campus data centers. For example, its primary data center was on the ground floor with overhead HVAC pipes, at risk of condensation and water leaks that caused concerns and costly investment to mitigate that risk.
The process of pulling BSU’s dark fiber into Markley was no standard project. Not only was the technical implementation unique, but also, as a state entity, BSU needed to navigate the complexities of a single source procurement in lockstep with Markley to ensure compliance. Zuromski stated, “From the beginning, Dave Delutis, BSU’s Director of Networking, and I worked with Markley’s Mark Sullivan, who showed us all the possibilities in completing the project, providing fully customized service at every step.”
With fiber directly into Markley, BSU is now afforded the ability to choose its Internet Service Provider (ISP) from across the Markley Network, an ecosystem of over 100 telecom carriers. With dedicated, redundant 2Gbit fiber connections coming back to campus, network performance is optimized, latency reduced, and the university’s annual Internet access costs cut by more than 50%.
Plus, BSU has achieved further Internet savings by peering on the Boston Internet Exchange, also located at Markley. BOSIX provides members a unique IP peering network. As an open switching fabric, it bypasses the Internet and intermediary ISP’s, directly connecting BSU to a variety of technology vendors.
Lastly, BSU has started moving its on-premise systems to Markley, recently installing a production standby of its ERP system. This system is employed as their live disaster recovery environment as well as for test and development. With Markley colocation services providing reliable backup generators, uninterruptible power and cooling, and in-house staff to help maintain their environment, the results have reconfirmed Markley’s role in BSU’s data center strategy. BSU’s next step - to relocate all of its hyperconverged infrastructure to Markley in the coming year.
“If we didn’t achieve these savings with Markley, the cost burden would fall back on BSU students. We strive to provide certain learning outcomes for the BSU community with our IT services. Robust connectivity and IT infrastructure are critical to making these learning outcomes possible,” said Zuromski.
By reducing IT costs and making the IT infrastructure more reliable, BSU is strengthening the academic computing environment and IT services that all their members rely on. Higher quality services lead to higher quality academic experiences for greater student success.
“We recognize Markley as a key strategic partner in our vision of our IT future,” stated Zuromski. “By tying directly into the networking fabric of New England at Markley, we have opened ourselves up to many new opportunities. The high bandwidth connectivity and data center footprint we have achieved at Markley figures directly into our long term data center plans, disaster recovery strategies, and our growing interconnectivity with academic centers throughout Massachusetts and beyond.”
With 11,000 students, Bridgewater State University is the largest comprehensive university of Southeastern Massachusetts, the fourth largest public university in the Commonwealth, and tenth largest private or public university in the state. Recently recognized with a national AURA Award for undergraduate research, BSU students participate in high impact research projects across a variety of disciplines, from Business to English to Physics to Chemistry. BSU provides students with the finest possible educational experience and boundless opportunities to achieve – with affordability as a key component.