Sheffield Hallam University is saving up to £20,000 a year and eliminating "tens of hours of downtime every month" with an improved single sign-on system and application delivery controller.
Sheffield Hallam University operates around 30 different web-based applications that are accessible to 35,000 students and 5,000 staff members on a day-to-day basis.
The most significant of these applications is a Virtual Learning Environment, which provides a vital portal to essential teaching materials. Other critical online systems include the university’s Syllabus Plus timetabling application, the staff intranet, a careers system, Millennium library system and an IP-based TV service for distributing video.
For many of these web-based applications the university was operating a single sign-on (SSO) system for authenticating users. This system meant that if students wanted to check their timetables, look up assignments, and view videos, they wouldn’t have to keep entering different usernames and passwords for each task.
Over time however the university’s SSO system had become "unreliable", and staff and students frequently experienced interruptions in service. To make matters worse the IT team, said the university, "found it difficult to get effective support from the software vendor".
As a solution to the problem Sheffield Hallam University opted for F5’s BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM), which facilitates efficient SSO policies. It also allows IT teams to manage access policies for diverse applications through an add-on module in the form of the F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM).
The new system means the university’s IT team has a single point of control for remote access, web access management and virtual desktop infrastructure.
As a result, Sheffield Hallam University says it has "saved between £14,000 and £20,000 a year" and reduced downtime "by tens of hours a month with increased resiliency".