Ivanhoe Grammar School has been educating young people since 1915, and while much has changed since their humble beginnings, the philosophy of their founding Headmaster is still at the core of their practices. They believe in supporting students to be the best they can be in their academic and co-curricular achievements, and in the development of their individual character. The School encourages a strong ethos of service to others, and provide opportunity for students to be active contributors to their community.
Ivanhoe Grammar School serves a vibrant community of 300 teachers, 2,000 students and more than 3,000 parents. Enabling the School to keep this community informed is the task of the School’s 15-person IT team. The School’s communication network is 95% virtualised - four data centres handling 10 hosts and 126 virtual machines.
Winston Mattson, Director of Systems & Infrastructure, who heads the IT team describes the important commitment the school has undertaken to communicate in a timely and accurate manner with its widespread community of teachers, students, parents, and alumni, numbering more than 5,500. “We don’t send physical communications to parents anymore, everything is digital – including the intranet for parents on things as varied as consents for camps, paying bills or school reports. It can also be distributing time sensitive news about our flourishing alumni network and their programs and events.”
The School has two production sites and two disaster recovery sites. He recalls the problems they experienced with a legacy system in backing up and replicating the 57 terabytes of data within the network. “The major pain points were driven by the complexity of the system, the uncertainty surrounding the availability of critical data and dealing with our clients’ complaints about the limited capability of our systems.
“This was exacerbated by the high licensing costs. The value was just not there. We began looking for a cost effective, straight-forward availability solution for the school and it had to be easy to manage. In spite of testing several products we did not find one that met our requirements. They were too complex. The last thing we need or want is to have 50% of a team member’s time spent on trying to run the software or just trying to chase after support. It is too tiresome, wasteful and expensive.”
Mattson explains: “It took 12 months to arrive at what we believe was the right solution. When selecting products we always look to operate our data centre in a configuration that is fully supported and tested by vendors in their own labs. Our philosophy is to run in an optimal configuration. We were impressed to see that the HPE 3PAR storage was fully supported by Veeam and would work with it “out-ofthe- box”. Therefore, it made sense to deploy Veeam Backup & Replication™ along with our HPE 3PAR storage, HPE servers with HPE networking and VMware.
“The Veeam Backup & Replication™ took only one week to test and place into production. Deploying it was so easy we did not need advanced technical knowledge or expertise. It was a very happy and positive experience. It just worked. All that time wasting is no longer a factor.” says Matt Wojcieszak, ICT Network Administrator at Ivanhoe Grammar School.
He added: “Veeam is a very scalable, powerful and agentless solution. It was so much easier to manage and operate. I understand Veeam was built from the outset to handle virtualisation and with our environment being 95% virtualised, it eliminated the complexity of the system and delivered the complete set of features we needed.”
Ivanhoe Grammar School’s IT capability is benefitting from speedier data recovery, accompanied by significant cost savings. Wojcieszak highlights how the school is achieving a greater enhanced dimension of Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). “We had a different type of storage and backup with the legacy system. Now with Veeam our certainty about data availability is a huge 60 per cent improvement – a full backup of our HPE storage that could take up to two days is now completed in around six hours.
“This speedier backup translates into maintenance and administration cost savings of up to 75 per cent. Licensing costs have been halved as a result of deploying the Veeam Backup & Replication solution.”
While speed and savings are valued benefits, the favourite feature for Mattson and his team is the simplicity and intuitive nature of the Veeam solution. “Our legacy system was pretty complex; In the past we spent a lot of time and resources to double check that the backup was completed. It is very crucial to have that assurance and with Veeam SureBackup we just know that all backup is tested. It now takes a fraction of the time to verify the efficiency and completeness of the backup. The time gained means we can concentrate on other infrastructure projects such as educational research, or improving the services we provide to our community.”
Instant VM Recovery® was another impressive surprise: “Veeam lets us bring the VM back on line so quickly, restoring from the backup in minutes. That is a stunning improvement. It lets us upgrade or do patching before we touch the production environment, so that when we want to test a new solution it is a good place for our developers to develop new applications.” says Wojcieszak.
He adds: “Using Veeam® Explorer™, the School can quickly browse, search, restore and selectively export an application item. Once again it takes just minutes. While we had this capability before, the action with Veeam Explorer is more intuitive and the result is much, much quicker.”