Canterbury Christ Church University

Continuously building the university of the future

  • Customer Profile

    Canterbury Christ Church University founded as a teacher training college in 1962, is now ranked number one in the UK for graduates in employment*. It serves more than 26,000 students, provides some of the most advanced teaching facilities in the UK, and works in partnership with local businesses and public services, including the Police and NHS. Committed to digital transformation, the university aims to infuse a digital layer, where appropriate, into every lesson, teaching moment, and student experience.

    *Out of 100 Higher Education Institutions with 3000 or more graduates, HESA: Graduate Outcomes 2023.
    • Vertical: Higher Education
    • Location: Canterbury, UK
    • Customer size: 26,000+ students

    Vision

    Create a flexible learning environment capable of responding quickly to new opportunities in teaching methodology and student demand.

    Objectives

    • Create a flexible learning environment
    • Respond quickly to new opportunities in teaching methodology
    • Students to enjoy an outstanding learning and teaching experience

    Outcomes

    • Reduces firewall appliance licensing costs by 20%
    • Simplifies network management
    • Automates data center fabric definition and deployment
    • Strengthens security with microsegmentation, audit trails, and clear workload policies

    Reimagining the role of a university

    British universities have long traded on a reputation of timelessness. An image of medieval quads, wisteria-clad halls, and whiskery professors has proved a potent marketing tool. The reality, as ever, is rather different.

    The last ten years have seen universities invest billions of pounds, modernizing labs, teaching facilities, accommodation, and the student experience. The investment has coincided with a boom in the sector. Today, around 38% of 18-year-olds in the UK are enrolled at university, up from 24.7% in 2006. One in five university places are taken by international students. Universities contribute an estimated £130 billion to the UK economy.

    For some universities, however, investment is only part of the story. MillionPlus is a coalition of ‘modern’ universities typically formed in the 1990s. It wants to shift the entire concept of university education, with a focus on local economies, skills training, and employability. It sees a role for universities in correcting regional inequality and equipping enterprises with talent.

    “Modern universities are future-looking and can help to provide solutions to the challenges of the 21st century,” says Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University. “Modern universities are multi-faceted and adept at finding solutions to local problems. Their size and breadth mean they have the capacity to play a role as placemakers.”

    Canterbury Christ Church University is one of those leading this transformation. The university, founded as a teacher training college in 1962, is now ranked number one in the UK for graduates in employment. It serves more than 26,000 students, provides some of the most advanced teaching facilities in the UK, and works in partnership with local businesses and the public services, including the Police and NHS.

    “We passionately believe education changes lives,” says Sarah Cockrill, director of digital strategy and information technology. “Our challenge is to provide the skills and new teaching methods to equip the next generation.”

    “We passionately believe education changes lives. Our challenge is to provide the skills and new teaching methods to equip the next generation.”
    - Sarah Cockrill, Director of Digital Strategy and Information Technology, Canterbury Christ Church University

    students using technology to learn

    Adopting a service mindset across higher education

    To become the university of the future, Canterbury Christ Church University is embracing digital transformation. It wants to add a digital layer, where appropriate, to every lesson, teaching moment, and student experience.

    “The modern university experience is a digital one,” says Cockrill. “Digital Transformation means redefining a corporate culture to embrace the integration of new and continuously evolving digital technologies in all aspects of the organization. This will result in fundamental changes to how we operate, make decisions, and deliver value.”

    On the campus, this means medical dummies clothed in dozens of sensors, lecture theaters using Augmented Reality, video recordings of classroom sessions, or coursework material available via the Blackboard app. It also means a home-from-home wireless experience for students’ halls of residence.

    The changes, explains Cockrill, reflect new demands from students and employers. Since UK universities switched to a fee-paying model in 1998, students expect to see value from their investment. Business, too, want assurance that graduates have worked on enterprise technology and modern toolsets.

    “We have to adopt a service mindset,” she says. “Today’s students have high expectations, quite rightly. We’re creating a modern, secure, and highly performant environment, where students can do great work.”

    “The distributed services approach, together with end-to-end micro-segmentation, means we can bring security services as close as possible to the workloads.”
    - Jim Manuel, Network and Data Center Manager, Canterbury Christ Church University

    students sitting on the lawn in front of the Canterbury Christ Church University

    Creating one of the most digitally advanced universities in the UK

    Together with HPE Aruba Networking, Canterbury Christ Church University is creating one of the most digitally advanced universities in the UK.

    Underpinning this transformation is a drive to consolidate and simplify IT operations, says Andy Powell, deputy director and chief technology officer, Canterbury Christ Church University. “HPE Aruba Networking doesn’t just unify our network infrastructure, it enables us to work from a common set of tools. We have a vision of where the industry is going. There are fundamental advantages in how HPE Aruba Networking sees the future of the network.”

    Today, the engagement spans edge to data center networking. It involves the deployment of over 1500 HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi 6 access points, UXI sensors, ClearPass, and CX switches in the campus environment. The redesigned and modernized data center architecture is based on CX 8630 spine switches and CX 10000 leaf switches with AMD Pensando™ DPU technology.

    “Our data center networks have evolved over the past decade. HPE Aruba Networking enables us to provide higher performance to support modern, data-heavy applications while keeping pace with the latest security challenges,” Powell says.

    The result is a user experience that is easy to access yet highly secure, and that is simple to manage for Powell’s team.

    “Many of our corporate partnerships demand that we have top-tier security,” he says. “Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme that helps protect organizations against a whole range of the most common cyber-attacks. Right now, if we don’t have Cyber Essentials certification, we can’t secure new investments. In five years’ time, who knows, Cyber Essentials certification may well become mandatory and we will already be fully compliant.”

    HPE Aruba Networking’s unified approach to network architecture means that the same set of security and access policies can be applied across the board, with the same switching technology deployed across the campus and data centers, greatly simplifying deployment, operations, and management.

    At the data center level, the HPE Aruba Networking CX 10000 switches with AMD Pensando™ DPU technology power, unified, intelligent, and automated software-defined fabrics. They offer the flexibility, scalability, and resiliency needed to support modern, next-generation edge-to-cloud data centers. This platform also provides a distributed services architecture that aligns native security and other data center services with East-West data center traffic.

    “HPE Aruba Networking helps segment different workloads in our data center,” says Jim Manuel, network and data center manager, Canterbury Christ Church University. “We have logs for everything that touches the data center.”

    By adopting a simple spine-leaf design, where HPE Aruba Networking CX switches constitute the core of our network, Canterbury Christ Church University can extend across three data centers. This ensures high availability and robust disaster recovery. It takes only minutes to define and apply a configuration to the data center leaf fabric, where previously it would have taken days.

    “We have HPE Aruba Networking CX 8360 switches as our data center spine, the CX 10000 switches then help build our leaf fabric, combining network and service delivery operations,” says Manuel. “The distributed services approach, together with end-to-end microsegmentation, means we can bring security services as close as possible to the workloads.”

    This approach greatly simplifies data center operations and design and helps lower costs. For example, by providing distributed firewall or VPN services to each server, directly via the CX 10000 leaf or top-of-rack switch, Canterbury Christ Church University massively reduces the need for perimeter firewalls to secure traffic inside the data center.

    “This means we can reduce firewall license costs by 20%,” adds Manuel.

    Happy to be an early adopter

    It is important Canterbury Christ Church University adopts a leadership position on technology, says Andy Powell. “Our IT decisions are based on the future. We’re very happy to be seen as early adopters. After all, we strive to deliver the best digital experience to some of the brightest innovators and forward-looking people. As an IT service provider, we want to be agile and this requires the willingness to try and test the latest ideas and technologies.”

    This has a reputational benefit – it is important the university is seen as progressive, as well as practical.

    “Today’s students have high expectations, quite rightly. We’re creating a modern, secure, and highly performant environment, where students can do great work.”
    - Sarah Cockrill, Director of Digital Strategy and Information Technology, Canterbury Christ Church University

    student with a laptop

    Read more

    HPE Aruba Networking doesn’t just unify our network infrastructure, it enables us to work from a common set of tools. We have a vision of where the industry is going. There are fundamental advantages in how HPE Aruba Networking sees the future of the network.
    Andy Powell, Deputy Director and Chief Technology Officer, Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Customer Profile

    Canterbury Christ Church University founded as a teacher training college in 1962, is now ranked number one in the UK for graduates in employment*. It serves more than 26,000 students, provides some of the most advanced teaching facilities in the UK, and works in partnership with local businesses and public services, including the Police and NHS. Committed to digital transformation, the university aims to infuse a digital layer, where appropriate, into every lesson, teaching moment, and student experience.

    *Out of 100 Higher Education Institutions with 3000 or more graduates, HESA: Graduate Outcomes 2023.
    • Vertical: Higher Education
    • Location: Canterbury, UK
    • Customer size: 26,000+ students

    Vision

    Create a flexible learning environment capable of responding quickly to new opportunities in teaching methodology and student demand.

    Objectives

    • Create a flexible learning environment
    • Respond quickly to new opportunities in teaching methodology
    • Students to enjoy an outstanding learning and teaching experience

    Outcomes

    • Reduces firewall appliance licensing costs by 20%
    • Simplifies network management
    • Automates data center fabric definition and deployment
    • Strengthens security with microsegmentation, audit trails, and clear workload policies

    Reimagining the role of a university

    British universities have long traded on a reputation of timelessness. An image of medieval quads, wisteria-clad halls, and whiskery professors has proved a potent marketing tool. The reality, as ever, is rather different.

    The last ten years have seen universities invest billions of pounds, modernizing labs, teaching facilities, accommodation, and the student experience. The investment has coincided with a boom in the sector. Today, around 38% of 18-year-olds in the UK are enrolled at university, up from 24.7% in 2006. One in five university places are taken by international students. Universities contribute an estimated £130 billion to the UK economy.

    For some universities, however, investment is only part of the story. MillionPlus is a coalition of ‘modern’ universities typically formed in the 1990s. It wants to shift the entire concept of university education, with a focus on local economies, skills training, and employability. It sees a role for universities in correcting regional inequality and equipping enterprises with talent.

    “Modern universities are future-looking and can help to provide solutions to the challenges of the 21st century,” says Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University. “Modern universities are multi-faceted and adept at finding solutions to local problems. Their size and breadth mean they have the capacity to play a role as placemakers.”

    Canterbury Christ Church University is one of those leading this transformation. The university, founded as a teacher training college in 1962, is now ranked number one in the UK for graduates in employment. It serves more than 26,000 students, provides some of the most advanced teaching facilities in the UK, and works in partnership with local businesses and the public services, including the Police and NHS.

    “We passionately believe education changes lives,” says Sarah Cockrill, director of digital strategy and information technology. “Our challenge is to provide the skills and new teaching methods to equip the next generation.”

    “We passionately believe education changes lives. Our challenge is to provide the skills and new teaching methods to equip the next generation.”
    - Sarah Cockrill, Director of Digital Strategy and Information Technology, Canterbury Christ Church University

    students using technology to learn

    Adopting a service mindset across higher education

    To become the university of the future, Canterbury Christ Church University is embracing digital transformation. It wants to add a digital layer, where appropriate, to every lesson, teaching moment, and student experience.

    “The modern university experience is a digital one,” says Cockrill. “Digital Transformation means redefining a corporate culture to embrace the integration of new and continuously evolving digital technologies in all aspects of the organization. This will result in fundamental changes to how we operate, make decisions, and deliver value.”

    On the campus, this means medical dummies clothed in dozens of sensors, lecture theaters using Augmented Reality, video recordings of classroom sessions, or coursework material available via the Blackboard app. It also means a home-from-home wireless experience for students’ halls of residence.

    The changes, explains Cockrill, reflect new demands from students and employers. Since UK universities switched to a fee-paying model in 1998, students expect to see value from their investment. Business, too, want assurance that graduates have worked on enterprise technology and modern toolsets.

    “We have to adopt a service mindset,” she says. “Today’s students have high expectations, quite rightly. We’re creating a modern, secure, and highly performant environment, where students can do great work.”

    “The distributed services approach, together with end-to-end micro-segmentation, means we can bring security services as close as possible to the workloads.”
    - Jim Manuel, Network and Data Center Manager, Canterbury Christ Church University

    students sitting on the lawn in front of the Canterbury Christ Church University

    Creating one of the most digitally advanced universities in the UK

    Together with HPE Aruba Networking, Canterbury Christ Church University is creating one of the most digitally advanced universities in the UK.

    Underpinning this transformation is a drive to consolidate and simplify IT operations, says Andy Powell, deputy director and chief technology officer, Canterbury Christ Church University. “HPE Aruba Networking doesn’t just unify our network infrastructure, it enables us to work from a common set of tools. We have a vision of where the industry is going. There are fundamental advantages in how HPE Aruba Networking sees the future of the network.”

    Today, the engagement spans edge to data center networking. It involves the deployment of over 1500 HPE Aruba Networking Wi-Fi 6 access points, UXI sensors, ClearPass, and CX switches in the campus environment. The redesigned and modernized data center architecture is based on CX 8630 spine switches and CX 10000 leaf switches with AMD Pensando™ DPU technology.

    “Our data center networks have evolved over the past decade. HPE Aruba Networking enables us to provide higher performance to support modern, data-heavy applications while keeping pace with the latest security challenges,” Powell says.

    The result is a user experience that is easy to access yet highly secure, and that is simple to manage for Powell’s team.

    “Many of our corporate partnerships demand that we have top-tier security,” he says. “Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme that helps protect organizations against a whole range of the most common cyber-attacks. Right now, if we don’t have Cyber Essentials certification, we can’t secure new investments. In five years’ time, who knows, Cyber Essentials certification may well become mandatory and we will already be fully compliant.”

    HPE Aruba Networking’s unified approach to network architecture means that the same set of security and access policies can be applied across the board, with the same switching technology deployed across the campus and data centers, greatly simplifying deployment, operations, and management.

    At the data center level, the HPE Aruba Networking CX 10000 switches with AMD Pensando™ DPU technology power, unified, intelligent, and automated software-defined fabrics. They offer the flexibility, scalability, and resiliency needed to support modern, next-generation edge-to-cloud data centers. This platform also provides a distributed services architecture that aligns native security and other data center services with East-West data center traffic.

    “HPE Aruba Networking helps segment different workloads in our data center,” says Jim Manuel, network and data center manager, Canterbury Christ Church University. “We have logs for everything that touches the data center.”

    By adopting a simple spine-leaf design, where HPE Aruba Networking CX switches constitute the core of our network, Canterbury Christ Church University can extend across three data centers. This ensures high availability and robust disaster recovery. It takes only minutes to define and apply a configuration to the data center leaf fabric, where previously it would have taken days.

    “We have HPE Aruba Networking CX 8360 switches as our data center spine, the CX 10000 switches then help build our leaf fabric, combining network and service delivery operations,” says Manuel. “The distributed services approach, together with end-to-end microsegmentation, means we can bring security services as close as possible to the workloads.”

    This approach greatly simplifies data center operations and design and helps lower costs. For example, by providing distributed firewall or VPN services to each server, directly via the CX 10000 leaf or top-of-rack switch, Canterbury Christ Church University massively reduces the need for perimeter firewalls to secure traffic inside the data center.

    “This means we can reduce firewall license costs by 20%,” adds Manuel.

    Happy to be an early adopter

    It is important Canterbury Christ Church University adopts a leadership position on technology, says Andy Powell. “Our IT decisions are based on the future. We’re very happy to be seen as early adopters. After all, we strive to deliver the best digital experience to some of the brightest innovators and forward-looking people. As an IT service provider, we want to be agile and this requires the willingness to try and test the latest ideas and technologies.”

    This has a reputational benefit – it is important the university is seen as progressive, as well as practical.

    “Today’s students have high expectations, quite rightly. We’re creating a modern, secure, and highly performant environment, where students can do great work.”
    - Sarah Cockrill, Director of Digital Strategy and Information Technology, Canterbury Christ Church University

    student with a laptop

    HPE Aruba Networking doesn’t just unify our network infrastructure, it enables us to work from a common set of tools. We have a vision of where the industry is going. There are fundamental advantages in how HPE Aruba Networking sees the future of the network.
    Andy Powell, Deputy Director and Chief Technology Officer, Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Customer Profile

    Canterbury Christ Church University founded as a teacher training college in 1962, is now ranked number one in the UK for graduates in employment*. It serves more than 26,000 students, provides some of the most advanced teaching facilities in the UK, and works in partnership with local businesses and public services, including the Police and NHS. Committed to digital transformation, the university aims to infuse a digital layer, where appropriate, into every lesson, teaching moment, and student experience.

    *Out of 100 Higher Education Institutions with 3000 or more graduates, HESA: Graduate Outcomes 2023.
    • Vertical: Higher Education
    • Location: Canterbury, UK
    • Customer size: 26,000+ students