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Meeting the demands of modern education with HPE SimpliVity


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Founded in 1976 with a student body of 36, Leighland Christian School in Tasmania, Australia, has grown quite a bit over the past 41 years, with 530 students and 100 staff on two campuses. Mirroring its growth in headcount, the school has also grown increasingly reliant on technology for learning.

But when David Grey, business manager at Leighland Christian School, commissioned an IT audit in 2015, he discovered that the school’s IT infrastructure was in dire need of an update. “Twenty years ago, we probably had one computer. Now we have hundreds of them,” says Grey.  In addition to several hundred devices and computers, the school’s IT infrastructure was also supporting an array of educational software applications, as well as a learning management system.

While Leighland Christian was getting by with its existing infrastructure, the IT audit revealed that its data storage was costly and inefficient, and its disaster recovery barely capable. “With the amount of data we were generating each year, our storage and backup requirements were growing exponentially,” says Grey. “And our disaster recovery approach really wasn’t adequate. We were very vulnerable there.”   

Plotting a new infrastructure strategy

Grey and his team faced a decision: Should they continue updating the school’s storage, servers, and data backup infrastructure in a piecemeal fashion? Or should they explore alternative approaches?

Grey chose the latter, and in July 2017 Leighland Christian School deployed three nodes of HPE SimpliVity powered by Intel®. The school’s hyperconverged solution includes all-flash storage, OmniStack Data Virtualization Platform, and VMware virtualization software.

Though still in its early stages of implementation, HPE SimpliVity is already paying off.

Huge data efficiency and disaster recovery gains

For Grey, one of HPE SimpliVity’s most appealing features is its ability to improve storage capacity. Based on initial tests, HPE SimpliVity appears to be delivering: the school has compressed and deduplicated 6,284.8 TB of data down to just 4.5 TB on disk. HPE SimpliVity has also improved disk read and write speeds by 880% and 280%, respectively.

On the disaster recovery front, Leighland Christian School is in a much stronger position, too. The school deployed one HPE SimpliVity node on its Burnie campus and two on its Ulverstone campus, giving it a redundant offsite backup architecture. And the hyperconverged solution backs up all of the school’s data and systems every 15 minutes.

“It’s very reassuring to know that with HPE SimpliVity, all of our information is completely backed up at another site and we won’t lose all our information and intellectual property in the event of a failure,” says Grey. “There’s nothing worse than a student losing or being unable to access his or her work. With HPE SimpliVity, that’s no longer an issue. We can restore a student’s work in a short period of time.”    

Grey says HPE SimpliVity’s data compression and deduplication technology has also helped improve network performance. In fact, Leighland Christian School is so pleased with the solution that they’re already considering expanding the school’s HPE SimpliVity footprint.

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To learn more about how Grey and his team modernized their core infrastructure with HPE SimpliVity, read the full case study.


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