Case Study: Glenthorne High School

Glenthorne High School is part of the Willow Learning Trust employing over 250 staff members and educating over 1500 pupils every year. They are a well-established, national teaching school specialising in the arts and committed to high-quality teacher training.

Problem

Glenthorne’s IT manager was struggling with the School’s server and storage environment. The School was running three VMware hosts connected to a dual storage array. The hardware was ageing, out-of-warranty, complex to configure and the operating systems hadn’t been patched for security updates for some time. The setup was time-consuming to manage and troubleshoot, taking valuable time from the IT Manager and his staff. 

Operationally, there was a risk of critically disrupting the Schools’ ability to function if the system failed. Financially, the lack of support and a warranty meant Glenthorne could have spent large sums of money on specialist emergency support in the event of a system failure.

Glenthorne wanted a solution that would update their hardware and reduce electricity consumption, cooling requirements and complexity; while maintaining a highly available infrastructure with increased processing and storage capacity.

Solution

After discussing the project in detail, we recommended Glenthorne install a new “hyper-converged” infrastructure. 

Several products were considered before recommending a two-host StarWind hyper-converged solution on Dell OEM hardware, running VMware vSphere.

This would meet all Glenthorne’s needs and fit into their desired budget. 

Result

Our team:

1. Specified, supplied, installed and configured the new environment and migrated all existing virtual servers.

2. Guided how they could re-use some or all their old systems as a training environment for their apprentice staff.

3. Provided comprehensive training documentation and carried out a half-day overview training session. Ensuring the IT Manager and senior technical staff would be fully capable of managing their new environment without external support.


“We were so impressed with Ant and Giovanni’s product knowledge, attention to detail and offering to explain the process to us. Ant kindly took us through the processes and gave us an overview at the end to help improve our knowledge of the product”

GLENTHORNE IT MANAGER


Once the correct solution had been agreed and a suitable date scheduled, our team were able to complete the entire project within 7 days.

Glenthorne now has an up-to-date and simplified virtual server environment, more capacity, lower energy and cooling costs and a full five-year hardware warranty with proactive fault monitoring. The simplified setup and environment mean that the onsite staff at Glenthorne now feel more in control, have a genuine understanding of their infrastructure and better management of their servers.

Additionally, we were able to provide advice and guidance on other security measures to enable more staff access, while reducing risks posed from both intentional and accidental actions. IT staff at all levels now have increased independence and no longer require senior staff members participation to complete simple and ad-hoc tasks. 

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