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Derwentside College Casestudy

Derwentside College

With eight tower servers due for replacement, Derwentside College selected DTP to implement a Hewlett-Packard (HP) and VMware solution. This virtualisation server solution led to significant cost savings and a more resilient infrastructure, all delivered out of hours and with minimal downtime.

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Background - Derwentside College

Following a tender process, Derwentside College selected DTP to implement the HP and VMware solution, which utilised HP StorageWorks P4000 G2 SAN, HP ProLiant G7 Servers, HP ProCurve 2910 Switch Series and VMware vSphere.

Graeme Stobbart, Computer Services Manager at the College, commented: “Many of the other resellers tried to oversell the solution, however DTP didn’t baffle us with terms we didn’t understand. It was clear they understood the products and the solution required, and they made things simple and even gave us a rough guidelines of cost in the initial meeting.”

Delivering measurable savings

Downsizing from 25 servers to a 3 server solution has enabled Derwentside College to save the hardware cost of 16 servers that were due for refresh within the next year, representing a saving of around £64,000.

“Along with this we have also saved the associated man hours of installing the servers. What used to be a half-day job to get a server up and running, is now a job that takes minutes,” comments Graeme. “We are also confident we will save money on our energy bills. Whilst it is too early to tell yet, clearly reducing the number of physical servers so dramatically will reduce our energy consumption, we expect by up to £6,000 per year.”

Resilience and peace of mind

And it’s not just reduced costs that Derwentside College has benefited from. The continuity and resilience of the service that the server virtualisation offers has allowed the team peace of mind that if hardware does fail in the future it can more easily and quickly be fixed.

Graeme comments: “We are now not nervous about hardware failure, if we lose a server we can quickly virtualise a new one so downtime is minimised and systems are not lost. We used to reboot a server and hope it would come back to life! Server virtualisation now makes things like software deployment much easier and quicker. Instead of taking half a day we can implement it in minutes and if things go wrong we can just start it again.”

Excellent project delivery with minimal downtime.

The entire project had to be delivered outside of teaching hours so there was no downtime during the day time. DTP’s own on-site engineers, all of whom are HP accredited, pre-tested all hardware before it reached site, got the systems ready in the day and then deployed and migrated overnight.

“The time constraint imposed on DTP concerned us. However, the project was completed with only 5 minutes downtime in the day time, throughout the entire project. This surprised me and my senior management team! The project was even delivered with time spared,” comments Graeme.

The College took a fairly ‘hands-off’ approach to the installation. It prioritised servers and the DTP team implemented it, updating the College’s IT team daily. The work was completed, and there were no failures at all.

A great partnership

DTP’s engaging partnership with its clients ensures project stakeholders are always kept up to date with project progress and developments. In the case of Derwentside College, a group email address was set up so everyone was aware of the project status. Graeme comments: “As everyone was included in communications everyone I spoke to at DTP knew the situation, I didn’t have to spend my time re-explaining things to a new contact. It was very painless working with DTP”.

“I have been very happy with the partnership with DTP and I am more than happy to use them again”.


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