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Lowanna College bulletproofs its data management

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Schools are increasingly dependent on their IT infrastructure to deliver rich engaging lessons, that means a lot of data generated and a lot of data to be accessed and stored, the last thing you need is cloud problems and constant damage control.

Lowanna College educates around 1000 students from Years 7 to 12 and offers a holistic education with a diverse range of teaching methods. Resources and learning environment are about 95% virtualised.

The College’s IT administrators had ongoing issues with infrastructure management. The previous software was difficult to install, use and maintain, a pain in a school environment where IT administrators are often stretched to capacity.

IT Operations Manager at Lowanna College, Matt Robinson is responsible for the smooth running of the College’s most crucial online assets and services. This includes the school library system, staff and student ID photos, saved work, lesson plans and worksheets, as well as two of the most important IT services at the College – the work experience database and printing system.

“The school work experience server controls and manages all the work experience placements and data for all our students from Years 9 to 12. [Constant availability] is important so we know when students are out on work experience, where they are and how to contact them. We can’t be losing kids out in the world!”, Robinson said.

Having installed data management, backup and recovery software Veeam, Lowanna College can rest easy knowing that the mission-critical data of both staff and students is safe, secure and recoverable. Having the flexibility to either back up the entire cluster or discard low-risk files means IT administrators can maintain system efficiency while minimising clutter.

Veeam is hosted on a standalone backup server with a secondary replication server in another building on campus. In addition, a secondary cluster server is used for backup for quick failover in the event of a major outage in the primary building.

“Printing is the one absolutely critical in-house service we can't afford to go down. We run Papercut Print services which controls 10 copiers with a total of 1020 users,” said Brayden Hatfield, Lowanna College’s IT Associate Administrator.

Recently, a corrupt printer was installed at Lowanna and crippled the whole server. The printing system died momentarily and prevented all users from accessing the system. Fortunately, the problem was solved within just three minutes, thanks to Veeam’s VM restoration capabilities.

“I jumped on Veeam and just did a full restore to that VM at the point in time it was last backed up, and within around three or four minutes, everyone was back to printing again.

“In schools, you simply don't have time to be monitoring equipment every day. You just have to trust that it's going to work, and Veeam works so well that we’re confident everything is operating as it should. It’s never failed us,” says Hatfield.

Lowanna College is also exploring Veeam's offering for backing up Microsoft Office 365. They are now able to back up key stakeholders’ OneDrive. The IT team is now able to easily recover documents that have accidentally been deleted from eight months ago.

Hatfield recalled, “We had a teacher who had accidentally deleted an entire folder of their predecessor’s work and because it was over the threshold of Office 365 recovery, we weren't able to restore it. But luckily, because I'd decided to do the backup using Veeam, we were able to save it.”

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