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Case Study: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Whether Windy or Wet, New Systems Enable Weather Researchers to Meet Computational Demand and Support Educational Objectives.

OnX Partnership Proves To Be More than Just a Fair Weather Solution.

The Challenge

While there’s no way to prevent hurricanes or bring about sunny skies, students and researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) study the wonders of weather and simulate atmospheric and climatological conditions for the purpose of predicting and interpreting weather.

Over the years, the volume of weather information at the university has grown, creating performance challenges for the school’s computer systems.

With increased computational demand and more users requiring access to the systems, the university saturated their existing server environment and needed a solution that would deliver more computational power and better performance. The university partnered with OnX, an IT solutions integrator, and together designed a solution to meet student and researcher’s needs, enabling them to do more with less equipment at a lower total cost of ownership. ERAU leads the world in aviation and aerospace higher education, offering a wide variety of degrees for students seeking careers in aviation, aerospace, engineering and other related fields. Resident campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona provide education in a traditional setting, while Embry-Riddle Worldwide provides instruction through more than 130 campuses in the United States, Europe, Canada and the Middle East, and through online learning.

“As the volume of weather information has grown over the past six to eight years, we have been required to add additional servers to keep up with the processing requirements and increased number of users,” said Dr. Christopher Herbster, associate professor of Applied Meteorology. “We were coming up against some computation, processing and storage problems and we began exploring solutions for how to solve those challenges.”

The OnX Solution

OnX delivered a solution for ERAU that included both SUN x86 (AMD) and Sparc CMT servers as suited to the workloads.

“The team from OnX listened to what we perceived as our issues and talked about potential ways to test solutions,” says Herbster “They helped us with the overall design of our solution and put us in the right direction in choosing equipment.”

Michael Masscotte, weather systems administrator for Embry-Riddle adds, “They presented several ways we could approach a solution and were helpful in getting us ‘Try-and-Buy’ equipment to test in our environment prior to making a purchase. It was more helpful than having to interpret a spec sheet or a short demonstration. They were very honest about the limitations of the equipment and let us know how it would perform in the real world. It was also refreshing that they actually listened to our needs and didn’t try to sell us something that they wanted to sell rather than what we needed.”