East Surrey College Case Study

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Education Sector Case Study - East Surrey College

The Background

The East Surrey College central College campus predominantly caters for full-time and part-time students working towards approved qualifications, as well as offering local employers the opportunity to up-skill their workforce through courses provided.

East Surrey College chose MCSA to create a modern, consolidated, virtualised desktop infrastructure (VDI), with full disaster recovery. This enables the College to benefit from a highly modern, flexible, efficient, cost-effective and available IT environment. East Surrey College is a further education College situated in Redhill, with its central location attracting students from across Surrey and Sussex.

The Challenge

The College decided to refresh its ageing student and staff desktop estate and wished to incorporate virtual desktops into the refresh. The College wanted the VDI solution to possess the flexibility to support current and future technologies. Compatibility was also required with key college back office systems.

The VDI infrastructure had to be scalable, resilient and secure. It needed to be highly available with an effective disaster recovery capability and provide greater server, storage resilience – with no single point of failure. It also had to be industry standard built in monitoring and reporting on server resources.

The Solution

MCSA employed Liquidware Labs Stratusphere FIT software to provide the College with an end user virtualisation assessment to confirm which desktops and users were suitable for virtualisation. Users can flexibly connect to their View desktop from a variety of devices. The Virtual desktop security is provided by Trend Deep Security.

To build the supporting infrastructure, three HPE Proliant DL380 Generation 8 servers were employed, with VSphere5 and VMware View

5.1 installed. To  create the SAN, HPE P4500 G2 14.4TB SAS Virtualisation technology was implemented as shared storage for the cluster, accessed via a dedicated iSCSI Network, running over a pair of Procurve 2910-AL switches.

Using the 2 P4000 SAN storage nodes in the Virtualisation SAN bundle, a cluster was created that aggregates all of the critical components of every storage node to determine the SAN cluster’s total performance and capacity.

The host servers connected to the SAN, access the disk as if it was local to the system via iSCSI. The P4000 offers VMware VAAI integration and allows for VMs to be deployed in 85% less time with a simultaneous SAN traffic reduction of 94% – this was key when deploying a ‘non-persistent’ desktop environment for the College.

The Results

The College now has a leading-edge, highly efficient, cost-effective and available VDI environment. College users can now roam freely from location to location and device to device, with access to centrally hosted virtual desktops – within a secure environment.

The business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities of the HPE hardware and VSphere environment, protect desktop data and ensure continuous availability for College end-users.

The Benefits

Richard Allan, ICT Operational Manager at East Surrey College said, “MCSA impressed us with their technical expertise, effective planning and detail which ensured that the project delivery was a very positive experience for us. They have designed and implemented a flexible, highly available and cost effective VDI environment for us, which is resulting in reduced power costs, so the cost of IT ownership has dramatically reduced.”