The University of Manchester (UoM) has placed a £2m order with Fujitsu Siemens for a combination of Solaris Unix and Intel Linux servers and extra storage capacity.
Next year the UoM and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology are to merge, creating the UK's biggest single-campus university.
The UoM plans to link both campuses as well as affiliated NHS sites and business parks in a project called Infra, which covers some 43,000 users in all.
It will use the new servers and Oracle Collaboration Suite software to provide users with beefed up networked email and personal file store services.
The order also includes a storage area network fabric and storage array from EMC, and a 2,500-tape library system from StorageTek.
Tony Arnold, Infra project manager, explained that the choice of servers and operating system was "radical", as Novell's Netware is the usual choice in academic circles.
The order includes three Primepower PW-650 Sparc Solaris-based Unix servers plus four Linux Intel-based Primergy servers: two eight-way T850s and two four-way R450s.
Arnold said that he chose not to use Linux exclusively because of a lack of confidence in its enterprise capabilities, and because the UoM had in-house Solaris and Oracle on Solaris expertise.
He added that two PrimePower servers would be used for the Oracle Collaboration Suite database, with the third acting as a back-up server running Legato software.
The mid-tier Linux servers will run Oracle Internet Directory services, handling all remote clients.
Students and staff will run Microsoft Outlook or use the web-based Oracle Collaboration Suite to log on, whether on-campus or remotely.
A small commissioning project to demonstrate the working system is due to complete this October, with the majority of current users migrating to the new system by Autumn 2004.
Get the latest news, views and technology updates in a weekly round up of the Penguin's unstoppable march by signing up to vnunet.com's FREE Linux newsletter here.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago