Xitenys helps Wellington College transition to Nutanix Hyper Converged Infrastructure to improve performance while simplifying management complexity
With more demands for computing resource fuelled by the rise of the digitally enabled classroom, many schools and colleges are looking for ways to streamline the delivery of IT that improves reliability while lowering management overheads.
The IT department at Wellington College, an independent co-educational boarding and day school for over 1000 pupils between 13 to 18 years old, has experienced a great deal of change in the last decade as classrooms have embraced more digital resources. As the first independent senior school in the UK to receive Microsoft Showcase School standard, Wellington has been at the forefront of this shift. Today the IT department manages over 6000 devices that range from core network switches, WiFi access points and thousands of end user devices including laptops, desktop and tablets used by pupils and staff.
The school has continually updated its technology to meet new demands, but the incremental refreshes were starting to cause several management headaches for the small IT team. As Tony Whelton, Director of IT development and services for Wellington College explains, “Our IT infrastructure has grown rapidly over the last few years and we are continually evaluating new technologies that can help within the classroom and for non-teaching processes.”
“Several years ago, we invested in an HP Blade Server platform which we use to run over a 100 virtual servers that deliver all manner of applications including our bespoke school management software and financial systems. As the number of applications has risen, the servers have started to struggle in terms of rebalancing application resources which has led to performance issues.”
“In addition, the blade servers and storage arrays which are replicated across our primary and secondary data centres were physically large, taking up an entire 42u rack and drawing a significant power load which was costly in terms of energy consumption and related cooling. With performance, power consumption and space all major considerations, we started looking at an alternative solution,” explains Whelton.
Working with Xitenys, the College looked at several options including hyper-converged solutions to deliver a full infrastructure stack that integrates compute, virtualization, storage, networking and security to meet its diverse requirements with the ability to scale.
Whelton and a team from Xitenys evaluated Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) from several suppliers before selecting Nutanix. “The Nutanix solution offered us the best balance between performance, price and simplicity,” explains Whelton. “We were also very impressed with the Acropolis hypervisor which allows us to avoid the expense of licensing any additional VMware software.”
Following a successful migration project, the college is now running all its virtualised applications on a Nutanix platform that occupies a smaller physical footprint of just 4U that has led to significant cost savings in terms of energy consumption and physical data centre space.
The use of the built-in hypervisor and has also reduced license fees but the biggest benefit has been in day-to-day operations as Whelton explains, “The built-in management capabilities that automatically balance applications across VMs has effectively eliminated our performance issues while adding more capacity is straightforward and non-disruptive.”
“Xitenys were vital in making this project a success,” says Whelton, “They worked closely with us to get the level of access we needed with senior Nutanix engineers to assist with the implementation while providing a constant source of support across the scope of the project. Overall with the help of Xitenys, this has been a pain free migration process that has delivered tangible long-term benefits in terms of cost, reliability and performance.”