Bishop Heber High School is situated in the village of Malpas, serving students across South West Cheshire. The school currently has 1,000 pupils and
provides a safe and caring environment, through which it encourages respect, opportunity and achievement. Being at the forefront of technology provision for both staff and students plays a key part in helping the school achieve its vision, along with an understanding of the technical requirements to help everything run smoothly.
Like many other secondary schools across the country, Bishop Heber was keen to embrace new ways for teachers to deliver content to students, making lessons more engaging and informative. As such, presentations were becoming more multimedia-based, using video clips and online content. Storage of these large files (some up to 50MB each) was putting a huge strain on the existing data storage system, which was made up of plug-in USB drives and was fast reaching capacity. The way in which files were shared between teachers also needed reviewing, with staff using USB pens and laptops to store their presentations and emailing the large files to colleagues.
In addition, the school has also seen a big rise in the amount of other forms of data it needs to manage,
including emails and media streaming. The resilience of the storage was also a cause for concern in the ICT
department, with no back-up in place should servers (and disks) fail. Physical space and budget was also
at a premium, so the department was reluctant to bolt on any more USB storage devices.
The school needed a more cost-effective, scalable solution to meet its ever expanding storage needs. Through IT partner i7 Technologies Limited, Gary Naylor – ICT network and SIMS manager at Bishop Heber High School – looked into the options for a more resilient SAN solution. Already a trusted partner for networking and wireless support, the school selected to work with NETGEAR for the upgrade. To ensure the right solution was put in place, i7 Technologies arranged for NETGEAR to conduct a site survey to assess storage needs. Gary also needed to get buy-in from senior management to overhaul the system, with many questioning why using more plug-in devices was not an option. NETGEAR recommended its ReadyDATA 5200 product with a 180TB capacity and deduplication features. As part of the process, NETGEAR brought in a device to show Gary exactly how it worked and what he was getting for his money, so he was able to see how it would provide real value for the school and grow with its needs.
The ReadyDATA 5200 not only provided all of the functionality that Gary needed, but was a more cost-effective option than the Fujitsu and HP storage the school previously used, giving him the ammunition needed to get management go-ahead. Throughout the transition to the new system, NETGEAR staff were on-hand to provide support and manage any initial teething problems, with all queries and issues resolved within 24 hours
With the school’s storage needs rising from 1TB 6 years ago to 7TB today, the NETGEAR solution provides more than enough capacity to meet the school’s needs now and in the future. Back-ups are now happening more quickly and files are able to be restored with ease if accidentally deleted, without having to go through the back-up software. Staff can easily save and share data rather than having to email or transfer files via USB pens. Gary and his team now have more time to focus on other aspects of their role instead of spending hours scanning and deleting duplicate files to free up space on the server. The deduplication facility means that this now happens automatically, and all that is needed is an occasional scan and delete of files that shouldn’t be saved on the school system. Moving forward, the school is looking to add another ReadyDATA unit, so the two can mirror each other and provide backup in the event of a technical issue or access problem. It also plans to work with NETGEAR to upgrade its wireless network and improve performance across all buildings on the school site. The complete case study produced by Netgear can be found on the Netgear Website LINK