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The LSE goes for guaranteed availability with outsourced hosting

Iomart Hosting : 01 December, 2009  (Application Story)
By using iomart Hosting, the London School of Economics can focus on content management without the worries of securing servers or guaranteeing availability
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has taken the major step of outsourcing its presence on the internet. It believes it is the first higher education establishment in the UK to use an external provider to host its institutional website.

Traditionally, universities have tended to keep their website in-house but with LSE implementing a new content management system (CMS) and launching a new and improved website; it decided that it was necessary to work with a specialist managed hosting partner to guarantee the availability of its online presence.

iomart Hostingwhich owns and operates its own resilient network of five UK data centres, co-designed, built, and maintains a hardware platform that supports LSE's website on fully secure servers located away from LSE's London campus.

Stephen Emmott, head of web services in LSE's communications department said: "Like most universities we have managed and hosted our institutional website on-site. In recent years we -including our colleagues in LSE's IT Services- have come to the view that the level of service we require, particularly 24/7/365 availability, requires the services of an external supplier. We need to ensure that if there were any on-site problems, for instance with power, it wouldn't affect the use of our website. It's a good example of how the boundaries between academic institutions and the commercial sector can be developed into mutually beneficial relationships."

iomart Hosting, also developed with the LSE on a full project plan which included the complex migration of the website, ensuring that there was no disruption to the 400 web editors, or downtime to the 100,000 pages and 350 subsites.

Angus MacSween, CEO at iomart Hosting said: "A lot of academic institutions tend to host their websites using their own data centres or computer rooms. The broad appeal and worldwide demand for LSE's content and services - publications, video, web and pod casts - suggested that the website needed to be managed externally rather than internally to accommodate bandwidth usage, traffic management and 24/7 monitoring."

The decision by LSE to have its new website hosted externally has enabled improvement in reliability and functionality. As a result, this has allowed it to increase the wealth of information it can now offer to both students and the wider population.

Stephen Emmott added:"Turning to iomart Hosting has proved very successful. Their expertise in offering individual solutions to a range of private and public sector clients combined with our own in-house teams' expertise has enhanced our capability and capacity to deliver. This is especially so given the support we have had from our own IT services department without whose support outsourcing would not have been viable.

"The outcome is a bigger and more reliable website that has a secure online presence, which opens further our academic expertise to the world. In part this has been possible because iomart Hosting has been prepared to go the extra mile for us when necessary to resolve the challenges that come with the web and outsourcing generally."

Angus MacSween added: "We are extremely proud of the fact that LSE, with its world famous reputation for academic excellence, selected iomart Hosting as its first website hostingoutsource partner. Day-to-day collaboration between the two organisations is proving the perfect client/specialist partner relationship model, with LSE free to concentrate on the website content and iomart Hosting focused on ensuring the site remains online and available 24/7.We look forward to continuing to serve and work with LSE in the years to come."
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