A Bristol secondary school invested £58,000 in a virtual ICT system with a storage area network that freed up storage space and is making delivery of computing resourecs to staff and puplils much easier to manage.
The 1500-pupil St Mary Redcliffe & Temple School spent the cash on a FAS 2020 SAN (storage area network) from supplier NetApp combined with virtualisation software from VMware that allowed it to create a more secure environment with fewer duplicated resources.
Alastair Cairns, Network Manager at the school, says that prior to the move to virtual, he and his team were struggling to deliver the service the school needed.
"We were always moving chunks of data round to fit where they could," he commented. "(It) was all very time consuming, which also meant we were offline a lot."
With funds from the Harnessing Technology Grant scheme to upgrade infrastructure in English and Welsh schools, Cairns and his team constructed a business case which showed that a move to a virtualised environment made the most sense as a way to combat the challenges the school faced.
The plan met requirements to secure sensitive pupil data and would reduce capital and operational ICT costs - including a 60% reduction in electricity bills for the system.
"We now have a two-tier storage architecture that has given us excellent disaster recovery and resilience, as well as the usual benefits a move to virtualised storage can offer," he adds.
"We had the ability to dedupe out of the box with the new system and I am very pleased to say that as a result space has either been saved or created."