A work of art
At Australia's Queensland College of Art, Dell client and server technology compose the masterpiece infrastructure that helps tomorrow's fine artists create works of art today
Challenge: Find the best client and server technology to support the latest design
Solution: Deploy DellTM PrecisionTM 450 workstations and a Dell PowerEdgeTM 4400 server
Benefit: High availability of design applications; powerful performance to support
graphics-intensive projects at an economical cost; unwavering support from a hardware
vendor committed to customer relationships
If a picture paints a thousand words, then the technology that helps the artist to create
those pictures must be top notch. At Australia's Queensland College of Art Griffith University, established in Brisbane in 1881, budding artists create more than just pictures; they produce animation, graphic design, 3-D design, fine art, multimedia, photography, and film. To help prepare its students for the working world they will encounter after graduation, the school must provide students with the latest design technology featuring flexibility and processing power.
Educational arts institutions face relentless change. As art design technology evolves, schools must be willing and able to stock their labs with the best tools to help their students succeed—and they must accomplish this goal economically. At Queensland College of Art, the mission to embrace change and innovation forced the school to confront computing infrastructure challenges of cost, complexity, manageability, and compatibility.
Queensland College of Art goes back to the drawing board
Historically, students enrolled in courses at Griffith completed most of their design work manuallythe old-fashioned "paper and pencil" approach. However, the university recently discovered a growing demand for digital innovation. "We're moving from traditional paper-based tools to digital design," says Richard Blundell, design convener for Queensland College of Art Griffith University.
Based on the demand for digital tools, Queensland College of Art set out to design a new client and server infrastructure that would offer the best value for the school's money. First, the school figured its main requirements. Students at Queensland College of Art use a range of applications for complex imagery, including Adobe® InDesign® , Photoshop® , and Illustrator® software, and product and structural design applications such as AtlantisTM and AutoCADTM software. All of the university's academic programs are directed at professional practice—in other words, they encourage students to use the
same software and design applications that they will use when they enter the professional
domain. Any new hardware would need to support these applications.
Queensland College of Art needed hardware that would also meet the school's
immediate goals and continue to fulfil students' needs for at least three years. Furthermore, the school hoped that its commitment to providing superior technology
would demonstrate its investment in the future of its students—and give the university a competitive advantage over other art schools.
Dell workstations move to the head of the class
When Queensland College of Art sought a hardware vendor, it placed high value on relationships. The school wanted a direct and accountable relationship with its supplier of choice—and the ability to buy built-to-order configurations specific to the school's needs.
Those requirements led Griffith directly to Dell.
The University's first purchase included 50 DellTM PrecisionTM 450 workstations to meet the school's immediate digital design requirements. The Dell Precision 450 is a high-end professional workstation configured with dual 2.4 GHz Intel® XeonTM processors featuring next-generation Hyper-Threading technology. Dell custom configured the systems to meet the university's requirements. Precision workstations offer scalability and provide maximum capacity and flexibility combined with extensive qualification and
certification from leading workstation application vendors. This broad certification from software vendors appealed to Queensland College of Art.
"The students always push the technology for something more," Blundell says. "With Dell Precision 450s, I know we are delivering the freshest technology to a technically sophisticated user base in an environment where the only limitation is their imagination."
Dell server technology provides room for growth
At Queensland College of Art, two design laboratories situated on the Gold Coast and South Bank campuses currently support students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs across an array of design accreditations. Dell has enabled the school to keep abreast of the ever-changing need for high-end computing equipment to process 3-D designs. The Precision workstations, coupled with a Dell PowerEdgeTM 4400 server running Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Active Directory® directory service, give Queensland College of Art the power to deploy and maintain a standard operating environment with ease. As a result of that simple deployment, the university is able to limit downtime. High availability allows staff and students to be more productive.
Blundell says the biggest benefits of the university's decision to use Dell equipment
have been a satisfying post-sale experience and the knowledge that the school is getting top value for its money.
"We needed technology that could manage yet-to-be-seen demand for more than three years. Dell delivered that technology at an affordable price," Blundell says. "Our students are delighted with the resources available to them in our labs. They are working with the latest applications on a sophisticated platform that they likely will encounter in the work force when they complete their studies."