Pinnacle Micro has supplied Rhodes University with 255 of its Proline PCs as well as a Storage Area Network (SAN) supplied by D-Link.
Billy Morgan, ICT manager at the university's Departments of Computer Science and Information Systems, comments: "We have a multi-faceted relationship approach when it comes to our strategy of bulk PC purchases. It is a core requirement for the two Departments to remain at the cutting edge of technology and our relationship with Pinnacle Micro meets this objective."
Morgan says that, in order to stay abreast of changing technology, the university is constantly upgrading its network and upgrades its PCs every year.
"We have an Upgrade Policy that ensures effective and efficient use of PC technology. The top-of-the-line PC technology is placed where it can provide best benefit for the university and the replaced PCs are rolled out to other areas requiring upgrading."
Of the recent order for 255 Proline PCs, the bulk were supplied to the Computer Science, Information Systems and Journalism departments. During the course of the year additional PCs of the same specification are likely to be purchased for use "at appropriate points throughout the university", particularly for special projects being conducted by university students or staff members.
Every year the university issues an "invitation to quote" to three or four preferred vendors. Vendors are required to build a sample PC matching the specifications required by the university.
"Each sample machine is subjected to rigorous testing, including from an environmental and performance point of view. We look at the support capabilities of the vendors, as well as our perceived return on investment.
"During the last five years, Pinnacle Micro has secured the contract four times. This puts our rolling investment in Proline computers from Pinnacle Micro at around R10-million.
"In addition to this, we made the decision to expand our networking platform, deciding to introduce D-Link products one of Pinnacle Micro's partners. The duo work very closely together – which suits us – and our recent order for D-Link equipment was actually supplied via Pinnacle Micro."
The 2007 purchases by the Departments of Computer Science and Information Systems of D-Link equipment supplied by Pinnacle Micro, worth around R260 000, was for the supply of a SAN and additional network switches. The initial configuration of the SAN uses five SATA disks in a RAID 5 configuration, giving it 3Tb of storage. But there are plans in the pipeline to purchase another 10 larger capacity drives, which will elevate total storage to 11Tb.
Morgan says the departments have put forward a budget to further enhance the network during the course of 2008.
"Our ongoing upgrade strategy resulted in the expansion of our core stack and an upgrade of our undergraduate laboratory user stack in 2007. In 2008 we need to continue this process with further core stack expansion and postgraduate and staff user stack upgrades.
"The reliability of the Proline PCs – and their price/performance – has, thus far, being very conducive to a good ongoing business relationship."