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Worle Community School

For many years, Novatech has not only supplied the school with a wide range of ICT equipment, but also has become a trusted consultant. When the school decided to move to a virtual server platform, Novatech was happy to help and recommended Dot Hill for their Storage Area Network (SAN).


Worle Community School have always aimed to provide cutting edge technology to both staff and students. For many years they have offered a flexible multiple operating system environment fronted by a single sign-on interface allowing the user to select the desired platform. With the progress of microprocessor and server technology, their most recent initiative has been the migration towards a virtualized environment based on VMWare. The move to a virtual server platform allowed legacy servers, most of which were in tower enclosures to be replaced by single more powerful systems at a ratio of around 6:1. In parallel with this initiative Worle decided to adopt a rack mounted infrastructure throughout their data centre. The next task was to identify a rack mounted storage platform providing full VMWare certification, great price/performance with a simple installation and administration process.


Designing a storage infrastructure for reliability and future growth. For the initial configuration a capacity of 14 TB was installed which allowed a further 5 free drive slots within the 12-bay Dot Hill chassis for future expansion. The Dot Hill AssuredSAN range includes both 12-bay 3.52" drive enclosures or 24-bay 2.5" drive enclosures to allow customers to optimise for either high performance or storage capacity. Each RAID configuration can be easily expanded to a maximum of 192 drives or 288TB using currently available 3TB drives.

The AssuredSAN range supports many possible RAID configurations

Allison Clark, Network Manager at Worle decided to use RAID 6 which offers the maximum protection in the event of a disk failure. Allison stated the ease with which the AssuredSAN management interface assisted the initial configuration, "the Dot Hill installation was straightforward using the web based interface, we chose to run with RAID 6 and the setup wizard took us through the configuration in minutes."

Worle have to retain user data for at least 5 years for each student over their usual period of time at Worle. Allison Clark explains, "of course our data storage needs are cyclic to a degree as we can remove data each year for students after they leave Worle, but of course the new starters will quickly produce new data and as applications become more feature rich the amount of data produced rises significantly. We host over 700 client machines across the campus ranging from laptops to client workstations and other desktop servers."

Dot Hill AssuredSAN storage - fully certified for VMWare, Veeam & Citrix

One vital criteria within Worle's storage system selection was full compatibility with VMWare and associated software tools such as Veeam. "We needed to be sure that our chosen solution would be fully certified for use within our new VMWare environment, the online VMWare hardware compatibility lists helped us to narrow down our choices," explained Allison Clark. Dot Hill's external RAID storage arrays, based on the AssuredSAN architecture, have been rigorously tested and certified by VMWare for use with VMWare ESX 4.1,ESXi 5.0, ESXi 5.1 and SRM 5.0. In addition, AssuredSAN storage arrays are certified for use with Veeam Backup & Replication and they have full verification with Citrix® Including XenServer 5.6.

Using Veeam® Backup & Replication™ with Dot Hill AssuredSAN™ storage

The move to a VMWare environment has greatly simplified and accelerated the commissioning of operating system instances through the use of virtual machines (VM). Furthermore, application provisioning, maintenance and disaster recovery are now very simple and rapid tasks. Worle have been utilizing Veeam #1 Backup & Replication which can provide fast recovery of VMs in as little as two minutes using Veeam's Instant VM Recovery on Dot Hill storage. "The use of Veeam Backup & Replication has provided a great way to archive virtual machine images and bring particular operating environments and application sets online within minutes," says Alison Clark.

Veeam and Dot Hill provide an optimized, end-to-end storage and data protection solution certified for virtual environments. Dot Hill's AssuredSAN family combines robust storage capability with enhanced backup and replication software features from Veeam to address many of today's disaster recovery, continuity and data retention requirements. The combined offering is ideal for small to medium sized organizations that are experiencing growing bandwidth demands, driven by network convergence, virtualization and I/O port consolidation trends. The joint solution can provide greater data access speeds for virtual server environments, near line backup, and the ability to replicate VMs and snapshots off-site for easy and affordable disaster recovery.

The performance of the Dot Hill AssuredSAN iSCSI system meets our needs adequately today and I believe it will continue to do so for several years. We can seamlessly add more storage to our existing system and bring new capacity online very easily. The full VMWare certification certainly provides peace of mind as we continue to do more with VMWare and capitalise on the benefits of virtualisation.

Allison Clark - Network Manager


Taking the 'Classroom of the future' to the next level

The flexibility of the new VM based server and storage environment has taken the Worle classroom another step into the future. The combination of VMWare, Veeam and Dot Hill AssuredSAN storage has enhanced disaster recovery capabilities, accelerated the reset of classroom ICT environments back to default conditions as required and simplified the roll-out of new applications and services.

Moving forward the Dot Hill AssuredSAN iSCSI can be expanded for more capacity with zero licensing costs and the modular design of the AssuredSAN architecture means future RAID controller upgrades could potentially allow full re-use of existing disk volumes.

Benefits and outcomes:

  • Fully certified VMWare ESX & SRM data storage environment
  • Veeam certification for easy VM backup and restore
  • iSCSI SAN deployment using standard ethernet networking skills
  • Easy licence-free storage capacity expansion


For more information, vistit the Worle Community School site

Posted in Case Studies

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Published on 11 Feb 2020

Last updated on 11 Feb 2020

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