Datacom streamlines school operations with updated IT infrastructure

Townsville Grammar School is the oldest secondary school in North Queensland opening its doors in 1888. Operating as a co-educational, non-denominational school it spans three campus locations in Annandale, North Shore and central Townsville and caters for over 1500 students, ranging in age from early Pre-Kindy through to Year 12.

The Challenge

Townsville Grammar School was looking to upgrade its old Novell eDirectory based network to a Microsoft Active Directory network, as well as replace its current aging servers and storage hardware at its main Townsville campus.  Additionally, the school also needed backup and data replication across two of its sites, the Townsville campus and the Annandale campus.

As Townsville Grammar has been a long term client of Datacom, working closely together on a number of previous IT projects and establishing a close working relationship, they readily approached Datacom’s Townsville office for recommendations and assistance in implementing the project.

The Solution

Datacom firstly assessed what Townsville Grammar was looking for by conducting a number of planning sessions with the school and then using this information to outline possible IT solutions that would not only meet their needs now but position them well for the future.

Datacom’s recommendations included a mix of vendor hardware that best matched the schools ongoing requirements and included implementing HP servers and networking with Nimble storage.

As this was a major change in the way all the schools systems had previously operated Datacom also recommended a staged implementation that would fit in with the school calendar and cause the least amount of disruption to its daily operations.

The initial stage one installation at the main Townsville site was carried out over the school holidays of 2013/2014.

Working collaboratively, the servers and storage were commissioned by Datacom engineers and the School staff transitioned the applications onto the Microsoft platform.  The second stage was done over the 2014/2015 school holidays and entailed setting up servers and storage at the Annandale campus.  Replication was also setup between the two storage arrays ensuring the school would have good redundancy over the network.

"Since our server installation, we have no unplanned downtime, our network runs smoothly and efficiently and we have set ourselves up for future expansion and upgrades."

Kirk West - Manager, ICT Systems Townsville Grammar School

Results

Datacom's solution provides Townsville Grammar with expandable and reliable IT infrastructure which the school can build on as its needs arise. The school now has a stable IT environment that requires much less maintenance and support, allowing faster and better access to its students.                                                                          

In preference to legacy storage, Datacom recommended the use of Nimble storage, Built around SSD technology, using Nimble’s Flash-optimised file system software, these arrays allow high performance at a lower cost and provide Townsville Grammar with compression, reducing the storage capacity needed for the initial site installation and enabling efficient replication to their second site.

As a result of the migration to the new environment, the student help desk requests have been substantially reduced, along with the administration of the systems and this has freed up the current IT staff to concentrate on the broader expansion requirements of the school.