New College Durham
Posted on: 17th May 2023
Our customer New College Durham is the largest further education college in County Durham. Graded ‘Good’ by Ofsted, it’s also recognised for excellence and innovation by being awarded Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) Beacon Status.
In the last National Student Survey, the College received an impressive 89% rating for student satisfaction - 13% higher than the average overall satisfaction score for most colleges and universities.
The ICT team supports over 2000 enrolling students a year, plus a 650-strong team of teaching and support staff. A hybrid working and studying policy makes ICT resilience vital to the continuing success and growth of the College.
The College previously operated its own DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) solution, but the infrastructure was ageing. Management were looking to enhance resilience and build upon the existing disaster recovery platforms, so they were well prepared in the event of an interruption to service.
The College decided that rather than continuing to invest in infrastructure, it would explore the advantages of working with a highly experienced, technically agile partner to replace the in-house solutions with a service-based platform.
We were the first choice partner.
Our team recommended a solution based on our own DRaaS environment. This uses Zerto technology partly for its market-leading reputation, and partly because it is a known technology to the College ICT team. We knew this would make for a smoother, shorter, and less problematic migration and implementation, but still deliver the best possible solution.
Zerto’s DRaaS cloud provisioning uses our secure cloud platform for delivery, networking and storage to act as the target site for replication and recovery of critical data and applications.
Our experts defined an organisation for the College inside the cloud within our DRaaS environment, and then within this, defined and configured a virtual data centre with all the required resources.
We made local and cloud portals available for managing testing and real failover disaster recovery. Both can be accessed by the College ICT team and managed in partnership with our data centre team.
The College benefits from a comprehensive DR solution that provides robust replication between more than one site, and offsite backup in one simple product. The result is scaleable, block-level replication with RPO (recovery point objective) of seconds and RTO (recovery time objective) of mere minutes.
Array agnostic, it replicates the College’s environment to the ITPS cloud regardless of storage vendor or architecture. It can be tested and validated at any time, is granular and allows the College to choose specific applications to protect, regardless of their physical server or storage location.
New College Durham’s Head of ICT, Neil McLoughlin, said:
“The College is always monitoring and assessing risk to ensure correct mitigation is in place to reduce risk impact should an outage occur. We need to ensure that strong recovery plans are in place to minimise disruption to normal operations. Ensuring core systems and data can be recovered quickly and accurately is essential to regain a ‘business as usual’ status following an incident. The ICT Team need to be able to restore critical business information systems quickly and easily so therefore were seeking a solution to support this. We wanted an expert and well-established local company, and ITPS fit the bill. The recommended solution provided us with an easily accessible platform that allows us to stay in control of our systems and data whilst receiving the backup and support functionality we need to mitigate the identified risk. Working closely with ITPS engineers, the implementation process was very easy, the integration and configuration was clear, communications were good, and the solution worked very well with our current set up. The introduction of Zerto’s DRaaS solution has provided mitigation and confidence that we have a robust recovery solution, which can enable quick recovery and reduce any negative impact on our business operations. Overall it has delivered cost and efficiency benefits, freed up ICT resources, and resulted in a partnership built on trust and confidence. We expect to develop that relationship in various areas, as both our organisations grow.”
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