Responding to change in the ICT landscape
- Initial assessment and detailed migration plan
- Quick and secure wireless access for everyone
- Business as usual during the upgrade
- Future proof solutions
- Ongoing partnership
Founded in 1847, Radley College is an independent boarding school, set in an 800 acre estate in the picturesque county of Oxfordshire. Home to 690 pupils, aged 13-18, the prestigious all-boys school is rich in history and offers a wide range of academic subjects and extra-curricular activities.
With a campus covering hundreds of acres, the Radley support team has to constantly balance the potentially time consuming process of providing high quality day-to-day support for IT users, with time spent delivering projects to take IT forward within the school. “My team of five is responsible for providing technology services to the entire college. Prior to partnering with Commercial, this included looking after 21 physical servers on various hardware platforms,” explains Jon Buzzard, Network Manager at Radley College.
“We had a single server per application, which was in accordance with best practices at the time of its installation in 2006. However, as the hardware began to age, it was becoming increasingly expensive and time-consuming to support. The risk of hardware failing was also rising and we could not allow ourselves to be vulnerable to the threat of potentially losing valuable time restoring important data.”
It also became clear that staff and pupils alike wanted much more flexibility as to how they accessed IT resources. “85-90% of our pupils now bring their own devices to school and the majority of these children own at least two different mobile devices, whether it is an iPad, iPhone or laptop,” continues Jon. “Commercial contacted me at a time when we were about to embark on significant upgrades and their honest approach won me over. This coupled with their extensive knowledge of the Education sector and expertise in IT Solutions meant they were an obvious choice to help us move forward with our plans.”
Benefits and cost savings
Commercial IT Services began by assessing the current server estate at Radley College. From this they planned the best solution for the school’s requirements, as well as putting together a full migration plan which showed a phased programme of work over three months. The proposal included detailed information on the recommended systems, the potential benefits and how they would be implemented.
“The breakdown of costs and implementation plan enabled us to prioritise and schedule work,” says Jon. “As a result we decided on a programme of work that would start with the virtualisation project and then move on to address our wireless network.” Server virtualisation saw the college reduce its 21 physical servers to just four, with 25 virtual servers and a Storage Area Network (SAN). The hardware was set up alongside the existing infrastructure and once up and running, the switch from physical to virtual was made.
Following the successful implementation of the virtual servers, 18 months later, Radley College began the upgrade of its wireless network. “Before we started working with Commercial, we had 200 access points and two wireless LAN controllers, which covered 95% of the site. With more staff and students now bringing in their own devices, we needed a faster system that would provide secure, efficient access to the network and Internet for everyone.”
Commercial IT Services offers different levels of service to customers, depending on the internal IT resource the organisation has. With a competent technical team already present at the college, Commercial installed the virtual wireless controllers throughout the college’s grounds, before going on to provide a consultative role to Radley.
“The ICT landscape has already changed dramatically, allowing you to use almost any device, anywhere,” explains Jon, “but the new infrastructure gives us increased flexibility and means we can implement and support new initiatives quickly and effectively. The support from Commercial IT Services enables us to remain agile in preparing for the classroom of the future. Our teams work together well, complementing each person’s expertise to produce great results.”