California State University, Dominguez Hills Saves Money and Facilitates Off-Campus Learning with IMPEX Technologies and Nutanix
California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) is a highly diverse, metropolitan university primarily serving the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. Through its strong, relevant academic programs, dedicated faculty mentors, and supportive staff, CSUDH is committed to connecting students to an affordable, high-quality, and transformative education. As the network, compute, and storage environments supporting the university grew, managing and updating multiple on-premises and virtualized elements became time-consuming, cumbersome, and expensive. To streamline operations and reduce costs, the IT team reached out to its partner IMPEX Technologies, which helped migrate its environments to the Nutanix Hybrid Cloud Platform. This hybrid cloud platform is easier to manage, simpler to upgrade, and delivers the performance and flexibility needed for a vibrant, evolving campus community.
- Improved Performance
- Enhanced performance and scalability of databases and services with flexible hyperconverged infrastructurre
- Extended Learning
- Supported VDI delivery of advanced applications to students off campus during pandemic quarantine with Nutanix Frame
- Optimized Efficiency
- Streamlined database administration and reduced licensing fees with Nutanix FIles
“We’re a hundred percent running AOS on our production and development environment. The deployment process was smooth, and everything can be handled from within Prism Central. We can run Nutanix Files, our AOS server core, and the VDI platform all from one platform, and it’s amazing.”
“The California State University, Dominguez Hills team really took the bull by the horns with the Nutanix Frame deployment to set the campus up for success supporting students in its virtual environment. Gabriel Flores clearly articulated what features the team required, and worked closely with IMPEX to get them integrated.”
Serving almost 15,000 students, staff & faculty, CSUDH is one of 23 campuses that comprise the California State University system. The state-of-the-art educational institution is equipped with smart classrooms, new sports facilities, and a serene environment for students to grow and learn. To support the tools and applications that students, instructors, and administrators depend on, its IT department depends on its network infrastructure.
Although the existing network had provided reasonable performance, as it began to show its age, performance and availability began to suffer.
“It’s hard to find budget to refresh components, not just right on the user side, also the infrastructure,” said Gabriel Flores, Operating Systems Administrator California State University, Dominguez Hills. “We were at a point where our environments were out of date, and we were having to do frequent workarounds.”
The IT team at CSUDH consulted IMPEX Technologies, a leading technology partner, for assistance in moving forward on the next phase of its digital transformation journey.
IMPEX Technologies has assisted Fortune 100 companies, cities, government agencies, health and education institutions across the U.S. After looking at a variety of options, IMPEX, Flores, and his team chose an HCI based on Nutanix Hybrid Cloud Platform. This complete virtualized environment lets the university support and manage all the resources students and administrators need from one solution.
“We were introduced to Nutanix and loved the all-in-one console,” said Flores. “It lets us update firmware, manage the environment, and take snapshots—all from a single dashboard accessible from the web. After trying it out, we purchased a production unit and added some VMs to test. The test team was immediately impressed by the speed and simple, template-based administration.”
Moving to the new solution was easy, thanks to responsive Nutanix support and deployment tools.
“We got curious and we decided to transition from VMware over to AOS, and that’s been the greatest decision we ever made, because the process was easy,” said Flores. “We used Nutanix Move to migrate our Linux, Windows, Red Hat, and other servers to our new environment with the click of a button. I noticed the difference right away, and so did the server owners.”
IMPEX provided valuable training assistance to help Flores and his team hit the ground running after deployment.
“The IMPEX team provided great training, making us comfortable with the new solution so that we can accomplish everything we used to in our old environment—but in a faster, more efficient way,” said Flores.
The new Nutanix environment has delivered a substantial return on investment, reducing the costs associated with VMware licensing. Consolidating multiple racks of on-premises equipment down to a single HCI also helps reduce operational expenses associated with power and cooling.
Nutanix has also helped the university streamline management by bringing separate compute and storage environments together as one environment. Nutanix Files provides simple, flexible and intelligent scale-out file storage with automated management and control. Managed as part of the Nutanix Hybrid Cloud Platform, Nutanix Files is not only easier to support, but eliminates the cost associated with its previous, separate storage environment.
“We’re really pleased because Nutanix Files enables us to save Microsoft licensing costs,” said Flores. “We aren’t using or paying for Windows Shares anymore.”
The consolidated HCI environment also helps IT minimize time-consuming administrative tasks, so they can be more productive.
“Managing a Frankenstein environment made up of different vendor solutions was slow and manual,” said Flores. “The physical on-premises environments required lots of connections between storage, servers, fiber switches, and other network devices, which added an extra layer of work to what we had to do. Nutanix lets us control everything through the Prism management console. It lets us monitor and manage resources, but we don’t have to physically be onsite. That makes everybody’s job easier.”
CSUDH also migrated its development environments to Nutanix, to take advantage of faster performance and streamlined operations.
“We don’t need to support separate storage environments from HP, Dell and other vendors,” said Flores. “Although they could still run on Nutanix, it works much better when we run everything natively. We transitioned our full development environment from VMware to Nutanix AHV, and we’re happy campers.”
The Nutanix environment really shined by giving IT the ability to respond to changes fast. When the global Covid pandemic escalated in Spring, 2020, CSUDH was forced to switch to online learning. Using Nutanix Frame Desktop as a Service (DaaS), the university can quickly create virtual workspaces for students, teachers, and administrators in less than an hour.
“With Nutanix Frame, I was able to deploy a full VDI environment, so students are able to access a full Windows 10 computer with loaded software from a web browser, since they’re not always on campus anymore,” said Flores. “All they need is just a computer or a tablet, and they’re able to access licensed software from the university, or from any part of the world.”
The success of the Nutanix implementation has given Flores an opportunity to share what he has learned not only with his own colleagues, but with the Nutanix team as well. Flores has provided valuable knowledge sharing that can help other customers achieve successful outcomes for their own deployments.
The CSUDH is pleased with the performance and support for its Nutanix environment, and is excited about the possibilities of working with IMPEX to further expand it to take on more capabilities. To ensure that the infrastructure can be restored in the event of a disaster or service interruption, Flores and his team are testing Nutanix Xi Leap, which protects critical business applications at scale utilizing Nutanix Cloud services.