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Cranfield University

Cranfield University is the UK’s only exclusively postgraduate university and largest provider of master's-level graduates in engineering. It offers a flagship MBA that provides globally recognised expertise and research facilities to support the development of future leaders in technology and management.


  • Cranfield University regularly looks to upgrade its technology hardware to remain at the forefront of the industry and continue providing students with leading educational experiences. 
  • Being a public institution, Cranfield University had to engage in the tender process. 
  • The university chose to remain with CDW and Nutanix based on the solution’s merits and the positive relationship built over the previous four years. 
  • CDW’s presales team and comprehensive, consultative approach meant Cranfield University was confident in continued good results. 
  • The system was implemented in four weeks with no user downtime. 

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is the UK’s only exclusively postgraduate university and largest provider of master's-level graduates in engineering. It offers a flagship MBA that provides globally recognised expertise and research facilities to support the development of future leaders in technology and management. 

Cranfield University participates in many UK/EU industry and research networks and technology groupings, such as: 

  • UK CCS Research Centre 
  • Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum 
  • SupergenWinf 
  • SupergenMarine 
  • Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative 

It is fundamental that Cranfield University has a high-performance IT environment to support research and education across a multitude of industries, including: 

  • Aerospace 
  • Energy and sustainability 
  • Manufacturing and materials 
  • Transport systems 
  • Environment and agrifood 
  • Management 
  • Water 

The university has two campus sites in the UK that employ 1,600 staff and serve 4,000 postgraduates, plus 800 PhD students and around 15,000 participants in Chartered Professional Development (CPD) programmes. 

Project Focus

As a leader in teaching and research across science, technology and management, Cranfield University is heavily dependent on its technology. It maintains a rolling four-year programme to ensure its technology can handle a demanding user base while remaining ahead of the innovation curve. 

CDW began its relationship with Cranfield University in 2018 after an in-depth, independent tender process and consultation, resulting in Nutanix being chosen as the technology provider to fit the University's needs.  

In order to remain at the forefront of education technology and continue to provide a best-in-class student experience, a technology upgrade was required. Although the tender process was a necessity, CDW was already delivering excellent results with its Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offering. 


Cranfield University engaged with CDW again because its team had taken the time to gain a deep understanding of the university in 2018. This led to the delivery of an HCI solution with the ability to run workloads on-premises or in the cloud, depending on the specific need, reducing reliance on operational expenditure and encouraging a more efficient spending model. As CDW was already a trusted partner with demonstrable technical expertise, Cranfield University knew CDW would continue to deliver value during the 2022 tech refresh. 

CDW's consultative approach to vendor-reseller relationships was instrumental in assisting Cranfield University in choosing the right technology solutions for its needs. This collaboration, built on a foundation of mutual trust and transparency, helped to continue delivering the impressive outcomes that the university had experienced over the four years working with CDW and Nutanix. 

With impressive results already being achieved - including an 80% reduction in management time and a 16% increase in productivity - an upgraded Nutanix HCI offering with CDW was still the best choice. 

CDW’s willingness to continue being a trusted strategic partner and offer honest advice, regardless of whether Cranfield University chose their technology solution, was also a key factor in continuing the successful partnership. 

"CDW have been instrumental in aiding the delivery of Cranfield University's IT infrastructure evolution. The technologies they have supplied and implemented have significantly bolstered productivity and enhanced the overall experience for both our staff and students. Their comprehensive and in-depth knowledge has helped tailor our implementations to our unique needs; helping streamline processes, improve system reliability, and provide cutting-edge tools that empower our users to excel in their respective roles."

Ed Poll, Head of IT Infrastructure, Cranfield University.


  • Four weeks for the HCI system to be integrated seamlessly with no disruptions 
  • A continued 80% reduction in time spent managing infrastructure 
  • No unplanned downtime since the initial 2018 Nutanix deployment 
  • Met the project timeline to ensure IT teams could focus on other tasks 

CDW selected Nutanix as the preferred vendor for this refresh. Its dedicated team’s in-depth knowledge of Nutanix technology ensured seamless alignment of Cranfield University's requirements with Nutanix's solutions. 

CDW’s deep insight into the solution partners they work with meant they were able to promote the Nutanix-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment to help boost remote connectivity.  

This contribution not only played a pivotal role in securing Cranfield University’s Cyber Essentials+ accreditation, but also guaranteed a robust and secure learning environment for a diverse range of students, including those studying remotely or overseas. By leveraging Nutanix's market-leading solutions, students can maximise their potential by securely accessing their work from any location; ensuring both safety and flexibility while maintaining cost-effectiveness for the institution. 

“Through a collaborative partnership with Cranfield University, CDW has seamlessly merged innovation and education; fostering a dynamic synergy that propels us towards shared success. Together, we’ve proven that the fusion of technology and education can redefine what’s possible.” 

Matt Smith, Education Client Director, CDW 

Our partnership with CDW has not only optimised our IT infrastructure but positively impacted the learning and working environments, thereby fostering innovation and efficiency throughout our institution.” 

Ed Poll

Head of IT Infrastructure, Cranfield University