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Xaverian College recovers from fire with Scale Computing solution

Xaverian College recovers from fire with Scale Computing solution

Scale Computing, a leading provider of hyperconverged solutions, has announced that UK-based Xaverian College has selected its latest HC3 cluster for a complete virtualised storage environment and disaster recovery solution.

Xaverian College is a sixth form college for higher education in Manchester. Founded in 1907, the college was a Roman Catholic grammar school for boys until 1977 when it expanded to become the mixed-sixth form it is today. This development led to a quick and vast expansion and the college is now responsible for the education of more than 2,400 students.

The college’s initial migration from a physical to a virtual environment employed a combination of early Scale Computing storage-only systems, VMware virtualisation and Veeam disaster recovery. After suffering a fire in the main server room, Xaverian College took the opportunity to upgrade its hardware and chose Scale Computing’s HC3 system with hyperconverged clusters for virtualisation and disaster recovery.

Xaverian began its move to hyperconvergence four years ago by deploying a pair of three-node HC3 clusters, mirrored across two geographically diverse buildings, which ran 32 virtual machines alongside four physical machines serving the campus’ seven buildings. The HC3 clusters by design offer disaster recovery through high availability, cloning, replication and snapshots, providing complete business continuity.

The college, which has also recently implemented Double Take high-availability software, now also benefits from a cost-effective additional layer of geographically diverse disaster recovery, having re-purposed some of the original Scale Computing storage hardware. After experiencing first-hand the benefits of hyperconvergence, over a period of three years growth, the college added a further two nodes to each cluster. More recently, following a period of monitoring data-throughput with the support of Scale Service Engineers, it became evident that the college needed a faster backplane, so the production cluster was upgraded to the latest spec with the support of partner Paralogic. The upgrade has resulted in a noticeable increase in performance and backup efficiency, while the latency issues that were being experienced with the MIS system have been completely eradicated. And in the spirit of ‘scalability’, the original production cluster was combined with the existing DR cluster to match storage capacity.

“The Scale Computing solution was the perfect fit for the college’s needs,” said Martyn Bratt, Networking and IT Resources Manager at Xaverian College. “The administrative overhead of working with VMware, with a small support team who were already stretched had been evident for a while, so the simplicity of the Scale Computing system is invaluable. But beyond this, the care from the UK and US support teams has been unparalleled. The fire that occurred in 2014 happened on a Friday evening and due to the quick action of the Scale Computing team, the data was made available to users across the entire network by Sunday evening, meaning there was no impact on the students or teachers.”

Adam Plant, Director at Paralogic, commented: “We understand the challenges that large schools like Xaverian College face, so it was the clear choice to upgrade to Scale Computing’s hyperconvergence solution. The HC3 platform is cost-effective and requires minimal management, therefore more time and budget can be focused elsewhere in the school.”

Johan Pellicaan, VP and MD EMEA at Scale Computing, commented: “The HC3 system was created with simplicity at the forefront of its design. Xaverian College is an outstanding college providing advanced levels of education to thousands of students every year. We are pleased to be able to work with them and offer a cost-effective, easy-to-manage solution that provides the college and its students with reliable business continuity and ongoing system support.”

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