“I needed to work with an IT company that is not only an expert in its field, but understands education and the crucial role that IT plays in the education environment. Medhurst understood our needs and delivered the after sales support and service that I expected – at a cost that was affordable.”
Russell Stevens, Deputy Headteacher, Crookhorn College of Technology
Crookhorn College of Technology, a mixed 11-16 foundation comprehensive school in Waterlooville, Hampshire, relies heavily on Information Technology (IT) to enhance student learning and support teaching across the curriculum, especially for its specialist technology subjects. Medhurst was employed to upgrade its IT infrastructure and assist with the implementation of a virtualization platform.
When Russell Stevens arrived at Crookhorn College of Technology in 2009, one of his first tasks was to review the incumbent IT infrastructure made up of twelve separate servers. Like most schools, Stevens found the cost of replacing, managing, powering and cooling its servers put a significant strain on the college’s budget and wanted to seek an alternative solution using virtualization technology.
It was important that Crookhorn used its existing infrastructure, where possible, to save costs and transition the existing physical server estate to a virtual environment, enabling the college to take advantage of the many features and benefits of the technology.
In the spring of 2010, Crookhorn College of Technology contacted Microsoft Gold Virtualisation partner, Medhurst, to design, implement and migrate its existing physical server estate to Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization platform. Medhurst has a proven track record of virtualization solution implementation within education environments.
“Microsoft was the obvious choice for us. Not only does it fit in with our existing Microsoft licensing agreement, Microsoft also supports education, so we know that the software will be upgraded and supported into the future without a huge financial investment,” explained Stevens. “My internal IT support team are also very comfortable with the Hyper-V environment as they are used to Microsoft products.”
Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager provides the ability to provision virtual machines with ease and to manage the virtual infrastructure within a ‘single pane of glass’. The new virtual infrastructure will be protected using Microsoft Data Protection Manager – a disaster recovery solution in a separate building – taking hourly incremental snapshots of the data.
As a result of the new installation, the college has seen a number of significant benefits, including hardware consolidation, reduction in power and cooling needs, centralised administration and ease of server provision and innovative disaster recovery. The solution will also save the college nearly £25,000 over three years by reducing the number of servers purchased, and lowering licensing and power costs.
Installed over five days, the new solution is more secure and the Crookhorn IT support team spends less time maintaining the previous twelve physical servers and individual backups. The network is also much faster and each virtual server is isolated so that any potential problem with one will not affect the whole network.
“The new virtualization environment is also very green,” said Stevens. “We have been able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint by not replacing servers and decreasing our power consumption from hardware and air conditioning.”