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New Zealand private school gets top marks for user experience and disaster recovery



For nearly 70 years, the Saint Kentigern Trust in Auckland, New Zealand, has provided excellence in education. The Trust supplies students, parents, staff, and educators with a variety of digital resources such as portals, devices, and services to stay connected and productive.

But as more users have come to depend on information and communication technology (ICT) services, pressure has increased to deliver a superior experience. At the same time, the Trust’s technology environment has grown more complex and costly to manage. To alleviate these pressures, the Trust turned to HPE SimpliVity powered by Intel®. The hyperconverged solution provides the experience users have come to expect, and also simplifies and consolidates the Trust’s infrastructure.

Planning for disaster recovery

Disaster recovery was a particular concern for the Trust’s ICT leadership. The previous environment was mostly virtualized (with a few physical servers reserved for specific use cases). Two SAN environments and three different backup systems added complexity.

So far, ICT staff had avoided major outages. But looking ahead at projected growth, ICT Director Walter Chieng realized the environment was becoming so complicated that generalist staff would not be able to bring it back online in a timely manner if a disaster did occur. And traditional solutions were both costly and complicated.

“For the size of our infrastructure, we would be faced with having additional engineers on board or contract engineers on standby,” says Chieng. “We would need to have duplicate equipment or buy equipment in the case of a crisis, and we would need our guys to work long hours to bring the system back up again. Before HPE SimpliVity, we found the traditional method of disaster recovery very challenging, to say the least.

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Ready for the future

The fast-changing technology landscape provided another reason for the Trust to explore hyperconvergence. The Trust had invested in a new SAN system which was supposed to have provided storage capabilities for five years. But two years in, Chieng and his technical lead, Matthew Way, realized there was a problem. The auto-tiering system was not performing to expectation.

“In most organizations, people would have said it was fine,” Chieng recalls about the SAN environment. “But with the number of users we have, and expectations we had set up around ease of access and speed of access, it just wasn’t giving us the best experience.”

Delivering the best user experience is a key priority for the ICT team. When the opportunity arose to explore HPE SimpliVity, Chieng responded quickly and chose the hyperconverged solution with guidance from New Zealand service provider Network Edge.

“We’re very conscious that we need to protect our users so that they have access,” says Chieng. With HPE SimpliVity, the Trust has new confidence that access is always available.

For more details on how Saint Kentigern Trust revamped their infrastructure with HPE SimpliVity, read the case study.

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