With a vision to being one of “the most significant community colleges in the nation,” Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) strives to shape the minds of the more than 28,000 students it serves.
In order to set up its students for educational success, OCCC relies on a strong partnership between its campus and OneNet. It’s this valuable relationship that supports OCCC’s educational programs of exceptional quality.
For Rob Greggs, director of IT infrastructure at OCCC, this relationship goes back before his time at the community college.
“When I came to OCCC five and a half years ago, I was thrilled to hear that we were working with OneNet,” Greggs said. “I had worked with them at a K-12 school in the past and knew to expect great things. At OCCC, OneNet engineers have been an outstanding resource every time that we needed assistance.
“I can call the helpdesk, get an engineer on the line and have the problem resolved in a matter of minutes. They are very quick to respond to anything that I need.”
In 2010, Greggs needed higher bandwidth for the college campus. Beyond providing Internet to faculty and students, OCCC allows the general public to use it, also. Anyone can go into the library, walk up to a computer and use the Internet, free of charge.
Seeing the need for higher bandwidth, a team from OneNet met with Greggs and David Anderson, OCCC vice president for information technology. Together they created a plan to upgrade using OneNet’s Oklahoma Community Anchor Network (OCAN). OCAN is a 10 gigabit-per-second network of fiber throughout the state.
“When we went to the 10-gig connection, we saw a huge difference in speed,” Greggs said. “We have around 7,000 to 8,000 end users on our network at any given time. These users are now able to send research data back and forth, connect with other universities in the state and utilize Internet speeds we had only dreamed of before.”
Higher speeds meant more traffic on the network, better access to the Internet and faster connectivity campus wide. In June 2013, this connectivity was tested when a severe thunderstorm and tornado caused major damage to OCCC and its data center.
“We have generators on site to help with the initial recovery, but after this storm, we quickly realized we needed a disaster recovery plan in case of a loss in our data center,” Greggs said.
Greggs teamed up with OneNet again, and OneNet was able to get OCCC connected to TierPoint Data Center in Tulsa.
“We’re able to provide a 1 gigabit-per-second connection to Tulsa so OCCC can transport data to TierPoint at no additional cost,” said Robert Nordmark, OneNet director of network services. “With this connection, OCCC can securely send student records, network backups and other information that would be critical to have in case of an emergency at OCCC’s Oklahoma City data center.”
In order to ensure the best connectivity possible, OCCC has allowed OneNet to house infrastructure in the data center on the Oklahoma City campus. This makes the partnership between the two organizations mutually beneficial, because it allows OneNet to provide a high-speed connection to the community college, while having equipment stored in a safe and secure area.
“Having our infrastructure on OCCC’s campus is very valuable to us,” Nordmark said. “OCCC and the other higher education institutions across the state defray thousands of dollars each year by housing the equipment and providing the utilities for the OneNet equipment.”
Greggs said not only is the colocation valuable, but also the relationship between OneNet and OCCC is. He has one question if other organizations question how OneNet can help them.
“Why would you consider anyone else?” he said. “We know OneNet, and they know us. If there is a problem, which is very rare, they work very quickly to resolve it.
“The services that OCCC receives are stellar, but the relationship with OneNet is what really makes it work.”