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Clover School District

School District Meets Online Testing Requirements With VMware vSAN and Veeam

Company:

Clover School District has some of the most academically sound schools in the state of South Carolina. The district serves more than 7,800 students in seven elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school and one alternative academy.

Challenge:

Clover School District purchased Veeam in 2010 to provide full availability of its educational systems and data. When South Carolina’s Department of Education announced new requirements for online standardized testing in 2016, Veeam met those initiatives with no change to the IT environment.>

Results:

  • Maintains complete availability of the district’s critical systems and data
  • Provides a highly scalable, more integrated and efficient vSAN environment
  • Facilitates a secure, compliant online framework for standardized testing

The Business Challenge

Clover School District works hard to prepare each student for a successful, productive and responsible future. The district’s technology department does its part by providing superior technical and instructional support to students, teachers and staff.

“It goes without saying that our educational systems and data must be available at all times,” said Matt Hoffman, Director of Technology at Clover School District. “That’s why we deployed Veeam in 2010.”

In 2014, the district embarked on an initiative called Connected Classroom 1:1, which provides every student with a personal mobile device. Hoffman said the district couldn’t have moved forward with the initiative without Veeam® Backup & Replication™.

“We had to have complete confidence that our mobile device management system—one of the most critical components of Connected Classroom—could be backed up reliably and restored quickly in an emergency,” Hoffman said. “Veeam gave us that confidence.”

The mobile device management system provisions software and applications on each Apple iPad provided to elementary and middle school students and on each MacBook provided to high school students. The system also controls Internet access.

“It’s a good to know that Veeam has our back so we can ensure a safe technology experience for our students,” Hoffman said.

Veeam had the district’s back again in 2016 when South Carolina’s Department of Education announced new requirements for standardized testing. All tests would have to be administered online in a secure testing environment. That meant Hoffman and his team had to turn the district’s computer labs into secure, compliant testing environments, or the district would face financial penalties.

The Veeam and VMware Solution

The Clover School District rehabilitated its computer labs by deploying a virtual desktop infrastructure based on the VMware Horizon® platform and VMware vSAN™ hyper-converged storage.

VMware and Veeam have a long history of alignment and integration. Veeam is certified as VMware Ready for vSAN, enabling the district to deploy an integrated, highly efficient, easy-to-manage and cost-effective availability solution for its environment.

“Because Veeam integrates fully with vSAN, we can provide a secure, compliant and totally available online testing environment,” Hoffman said. “Once again, Veeam and VMware have our back, giving us peace of mind that our data and infrastructure are protected.”

Here’s how: The same mobile device management system that provisions applications on students’ iPads and MacBooks also provisions state-mandated testing applications to the desktops in the district’s computer labs. If the system fails to work for whatever reason, Veeam will recover it from a backup in minutes. Testing will not be impacted.

“If the mobile device management system can’t be restored, testing might have to be rescheduled,” Hoffman said. “Students are anxious enough about standardized tests, so prolonging the process would only make them more anxious.”

Another benefit of using Veeam and vSAN is reduced hardware acquisition costs. As a software-defined storage solution, vSAN gives Clover School District more flexibility and control of its budget.

Veeam also provides full support for vSAN, making it easy for the district to upgrade to the next version. Moreover, a Veeam feature called On-Demand Sandbox™ lets the district test new vSAN versions in an isolated environment before deploying them in production. This streamlines updates and helps Clover School District maintain current environments.

Hoffman said the integration between Veeam and vSAN is remarkable, citing the ease of management as a major benefit to his team. The hyper-converged infrastructure of vSAN lets the team provision and manage storage while leveraging the administration and storage policies of vSphere and maintaining availability with Veeam.

“They’re great solutions independently, but they’re even better together,” he said. “From setup to management, they’re intuitive, easy to use and reliable. Any district concerned about the security and compliance of their online testing environment should consider Veeam and vSAN.”

The Results

  • Maintains complete availability of the district’s critical systems and data
    “Veeam has protected the district since 2010,” Hoffman said. “It’s a tremendous relief to know our systems and data are being backed up reliably and securely.”
  • Provides a highly scalable, more integrated and efficient vSAN environment
    Veeam’s unique availability options for vSAN allowed Clover School District to deploy a hyper-converged, flash-optimized storage architecture that can scale to meet the district’s needs.
    “vSAN gives us the ability to scale our storage environment to meet the future needs of the district,” Hoffman said. “Knowing Veeam’s certified availability is there to protect our current and future needs allows me and my entire team to sleep soundly each night.”
  • Facilitates a secure, compliant online framework for standardized testing
    VMware and Veeam helped the district turn its computer labs into secure, compliant testing environments.
    “It was laughably easy to set up vSAN and Veeam because there’s very little to configure,” Hoffman said. “That’s how well they integrate together.”
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