Trinity Hall College

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Total Infrastructure Refresh for University of Cambridge Trinity Hall’s Virtual Estate.

The Customer

Trinity Hall is one of 31 colleges within the University of Cambridge and was founded in 1350. Today it has around 600 undergraduate and graduate students, and almost 120 Staff IT users.

The Challenge

The college offers a 24/7 IT service: from network and PC management to CCTV, door entry and access to web servers. Trinity Hall also hosts an extensive image library. The staff’s demands on Trinity Hall’s existing storage systems are constantly growing. The college’s five-year-old SAN needed upgrading and was too small to keep up with increasing demands on capacity and speed. Data backups were taking up to 24 hours to complete which slowed down the whole system. And although much of the IT system was virtualised, the large file server was still physical as the existing SAN had no capacity to import it.

All work had to be carried out with no down-time, to make sure the college’s staff weren’t impacted by the upgrade.

The Solution

The Trinity Hall IT team worked closely with NexStor to work out their exact requirements. Reliability, performance and scalability were essential, as was length of service life, cost and how quickly a new system could be deployed. The products met all Trinity Hall’s requirements, while offering the most cost effective solution.

The NexStor team used its specialist knowledge to find the most suited technologies: recommending three new DELL PowerEdge R720s 2U rack servers with high-density memory and flexible I/O, storage and PCIe options two R720s handle live VMs, the other works with the Veeam system and has its own storage repository for backup and disaster recovery.

The three R720s are combined with a Nimble CS220 array backup storage. The Nexstor team suggested upgrading and migrating VMware and deploying Veeam for backup and disaster recovery.

NexStor engineers worked on site for five days, helping to plan and deliver the infrastructure’s installation. They also managed a VMWare upgrade, and migrated the college’s vast data sets to the new infrastructure. All this was accomplished with zero down-time.

Benefits

The refresh has brought a number of tangible benefits to Trinity Hall:

  • Data backups cut from 24 hours to just two hours
  • Increased storage capacity to 12TB
  • Performance of batch jobs improved
  • A fit-for-purpose system that will grow as the college’s needs grow
  • Increased confidence to upgrade more applications
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Troy Platts

Troy has spent over 20 years helping organisations solve their data, storage and compute conundrums. He is a regular speaker at vendor events and spends any free time he has keeping abreast of advances in data platform technologies. He also makes a mean curry.

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