Holmesglen TAFE learns lessons, implements DR

New data centre moves TAFE toward totally virtualised environment

Holmesglen TAFE has reduced its server hardware costs by 30 per cent after implementing a disaster recovery solution and new wireless network throughout its three campuses.

Speaking to Computerworld Australia, operations manager at the educational institution, Chris Puchalski, said Holmesglen looked for a disaster recovery plan after he experienced the harsh reality of data loss first hand.

“The disaster recovery project started as a result of a disaster we had a few years ago," said Puchalski. "It caused some significant damage that impacted on us for a few weeks, if not months.”

“We were running on generators for months and it impacted on us for a long time. As an alternative to future disasters like this we started to look at the option of providing secondary sites that could potentially take over if disaster strikes again.”

Holmesglen looked to Dimension Data for a fitting solution, with the vendor assisting Puchalski with the installation of Cisco blade servers and Nexus 7000 series switches.

“We put standard equipment across every campus and moved into core switching and selected Cisco 7000 as a core,” Puchalski said. “We we’re probably the first in Australia to install [The Nexus 7000].”

The project has also resulted in the TAFE using 50 per cent less space in their data centre, and has set Holmesglen on the path to virtualisation.

“We’re moving towards a virtual environment and are probably 95 per cent there,” he said. “We’ve only got legacy systems, which require physical service, the rest are virtual.”

Despite the project offering wireless connectivity to 50,000 TAFE students on its three campuses, Puchalski said that the focus was never on the ROI it could offer.

“I think we are not as much concerned about a return on investment as such, more about building an efficient and robust network,” he said.

“We’re hoping that the last piece of the puzzle, which is the OTV implementation, to be finished over Easter.”

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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