Geelong Grammar School implements scalable SAN, disaster recovery

Reduces physical servers from 18 to six

Geelong Grammar School has reduced back-up and recovery time after installing a scalable storage system.

With a network of 36,000 members, the largest co-educational boarding school in Australia looked to a new system after its tape based back-up became problematic.

ICT manager at the school, David Witcombe, said growing student numbers combined with an ageing system were putting a strain on the network.

“Our old tape-based back-up system was a highly manual process which contributed to inefficiencies in our IT environment,” Witcombe said.

“We were faced with a higher chance of human error, as well as the fact that failure of the tape meant the backup would be incomplete.”

Wanting to implement a scalable solution, the school chose to deploy NetApp’s FAS200 series with 2 terabytes of data.

Witcombe said he chose to partner with NetApp after realising the school needed to move to a newer system.

“We knew we needed to replace our old tape back-up system and come up with a newer, much more efficient storage environment, which involved a full rethink of our strategy,” he said.

“It’s education best practice to keep data on students for seven plus years, so we needed a system that would not only allow us to do that, but also allow us to read today’s data seven years from now.”

Since the initial rollout, Witcombe said the school implemented a NetApp disaster recovery and SAN solution, and hopes to reduce the number of servers at the school down to one in the next six months.

“We now have a highly efficient data storage system, which can be expanded quickly and simply when necessary,” he said.

“We’ve gone from 18 physical servers with no virtual machines to six physical servers and 40 virtual machines.”

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