St Johns Beaumont go cloud-School

CASE STUDY – A CloudServe™ and ICT Support Solution

CLIENT: St Johns Beaumont Prep School, Old Windsor, Berkshire, UK.
TYPE: In Partnership with Simply Hosting
PROJECT: Reduction of Carbon Footprint / Cloud Server Hosting
SIZE: 0-500 persons
FILES: Download Case Study

Having had a high-level support agreement in place with TSI World and their SchoolDesktop™ ICT Support offering for a long period of time, Thomas Clements, the ICT Director of St Johns Beaumont Prep School approached TSI World Ltd. to see if they were able to reduce the Carbon Footprint of the schools ICT provision by utilising Cloud hosting solutions for some of their server estate. The answer from TSI World was simply Yes!

The Requirements – Cloud Hosting

Thomas originally approached TSI World with a costing scenario built solely upon Microsoft’s Azure cloud server platform. Whilst attempting to get a like-for-like replacement, creating servers in the Azure cloud that had roughly the same specification as his existing on-premise servers alongside the vast amount of storage space required for existing data, the initial idea rapidly became costly.

The school needed the ability to house partial amounts of their server infrastructure, including their MIS Database offsite but have the ability to add additional virtual machines, functions and storage at the drop of hat without having to raise an additional Purchase Order for the related price increase. A this point, the school turned to TSI World.

The Design & Solution

After spending time understanding that the school actually wanted to do, it became apparent to Nick Higham-Hook, TSI World’s Principal Engineer for Education, that this was going to be a mammoth project for the school to undertake and careful design and planning was needed. After several discussions with Thomas and the rest of the TSI World technical team, Nick was able to produce a solution based on TSI’s SchoolDesktop™ CloudServe™ offering. The solution would involve Dell Server hardware and Juniper Firewalling devices hosted at TSI World’s Data Centre provider partner.

Moving to the Cloud

Once the design for the schools new Cloud Hosting solution had been agreed upon, the TSI World team set about provisioning the host replication at the Data Center alongside the Site-to-Site VPN link between the Data Center and the school itself. After a troublesome connection between the Juniper Firewall and the Schools Firewall system, the connection was established and data was able to flow freely.

The next stage was to move the existing windows services to the cloud. During the planning of the project, it had become apparent that to make the solution cost effective, all servers would need to be moved to the Cloud provision. With this in mind, the migration phase had to be postponed until the start of the schools Summer Holiday.

On the first available day, all virtual machines were powered off and copied to removable media. This was then taken to the Data Centre and uploaded on the newly provisioned local host. The virtual servers were then imported into Host. After a couple of software driver updates and network setting changes, the existing servers that had been on the schools on premise host were now running and communicating back to the school in the TSI Data Center. The whole process took less than 12 hours, start to finish.

The team at TSI, both the onsite engineers and the people on the ServiceDesk have been really supportive and hard working through our transition process. Often working late into the evening and at one point, over night, to make sure we had minimal service disruption throughout the project. Even at the point where I wanted to through our Firewall device out of the window, the guys were calm and as helpful as ever, especially when diagnosing the connection issues with our Vendor Support. Their help made the almost impossible possible, with great ease.

Thomas Clements, ICT Director, St Johns Beaumont School.

The only virtual server that was not moved during the above process was the schools main file server. The particular file server housed a whopping 3TB’s of data. The school took the decision to reorganise the data and undergo an archiving exercise. A new file server was provisioned in the cloud and the newly organised data was copied over the VPN link.

Post-Migration Operations

Since the migration to the Cloud, the school has been able to reduce their carbon footprint by powering off their existing host servers and decommissioning their Air Conditioning units. This leaves a single desktop PC running as a Read-Only Domain Controller for Active Directory providing DNS and DHCP services and the schools Web Filtering solution on site. The total money saved is upwards of 60% against the original in-house solution.

Moving forwards, TSI World deal with all new Virtual server provisioning and day-to-day operation of the Virtual Machine host including the backup solution and Operating System patching/updates