“Like most schools, we found the cost of replacing, managing, powering and cooling our servers put a significant strain on our budget. We wanted to expand our ICT services and capabilities, but at the same time we needed to reduce running costs.”
Richard Markey, IT Director, Neville Lovett Community School
Neville Lovett Community School is a specialist maths and computing school located in Fareham, Hampshire, which relies on information and communications technology (ICT) to support its specialist curriculum and enhance student learning. In mid-2008, Richard Markey approached Medhurst for virtualisation advice and support.
Like most schools, Neville Lovett Community School found the cost of replacing, managing, powering, and cooling its servers put a significant strain on its budget. It wanted to expand its ICT services and capabilities, but at the same time it needed to reduce running costs. In 2007, Markey began replacing a disparate server system with a streamlined virtualised network based on VMware. Although he was convinced of the savings and performance benefits of virtualization, Markey was concerned about the licensing and operating costs associated with the VMware solution.
“We spent £2,500 on new processors to support a specific fault tolerance feature, plus an additional £4,000 on two VMware licences,” Markey said. “I could see that we’d spend a lot of money every time we needed to add functionality. I wanted Neville Lovett to get the best value for money and decided it wouldn’t hurt to look at the developments and competition in the virtualization market.”
Neville Lovett was already on a Microsoft School Agreement and Markey discovered that its terms for Windows Server 2008 R2 Data centre mean it could run up to 16 Hyper-V hosts and unlimited virtual machines without incurring extra licensing costs. After two weeks of using Hyper-V technology, Markey became convinced that it was not only more cost-effective for the school than VMware, but it also provided him with tools for managing the Neville Lovett network more efficiently. In 2009, Medhurst helped the School migrate the school network to Windows Server 2008 R2 to take advantage of Hyper-V virtualisation technology.
“With Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 as part of the System Center suite, my team can manage all servers from a single monitor, which means we can prevent many of the problems that cause user downtime. For example, we can back up and restore a student’s work in around 15 minutes. In addition, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 provides employees with the tools to deploy updates remotely, and configure machines to comply with the school’s policies, improving network security and increasing performance and availability.”
Following the implementation, low running costs, fewer server purchases, fast backup and recovery, and simplified maintenance and administration all combine to provide Neville Lovett with an excellent return on investment. It is estimated that the solution will save the school a minimum of £23,000 over three years by reducing the number of servers purchased, and lowering licensing and power costs.
“With Hyper-V technology and Windows Server 2008 R2 we have a solution that saves us time and money, and supports my team to develop innovative student services,” explained Markey. “If I’d opted for this solution earlier I could have saved money by downloading the Hyper-V hypervisor from the Microsoft website for no extra cost. When we installed VMware we had to pay an upfront fee for the software.”