Canberra-based Qirx has ripped out an entire rack of storage area networks (SANs) for local Catholic school Marist College.
The IT solutions provider was tasked with overhauling Marist’s three-tier data centre architecture including servers, storage and networking – a system created decades ago.
Qirx then deployed Nutanix’s hyper-converged infrastructure in an effort to simplify the college’s “complicated” systems architecture.
Sam Walton, Marist ICT systems and operations manager said the college’s IT environment supports 2000 students, plus teachers and extracurricular activities.
“The role of IT is to support all the different departments and all the applications they want to run in a single environment.”
Having set up Nutanix, the school has gone from a full rack of SANs and hosts, which “were much more complicated and required a lot more maintenance”, to just to keep running, to Nutanix which Walton said is essentially “set up and forget”.
“In our IT team, we have to know so much about everything, so the really good thing about Nutanix is that it just works – I can’t be dedicating resources to maintaining the environment every week,” he said.
“The infrastructure we have now means my team can focus on more strategic projects for the college.”
Walton added that outdated infrastructure can also be a “major energy burden”.
“Instead of a full rack, we’ve gone down to six RU (rack units) in our production environment,” Walton said. “This has reduced power consumption to the point we’re now downsizing our UPS (uninterruptible power supply), which provides emergency power if the main power source fails.”
Marist is also using three Nutanix nodes for its on-campus disaster recovery (DR) environment and another three nodes for object storage, which enables “greater data scalability for the school”.
“DR is now instant,” Walton said. “For example, late last year I had to move everything to the DR site and performance wasn’t impacted at all. No one noticed any difference. This has enabled me to sleep at night because I know now if something ever goes wrong, we can seamlessly switch over to DR.”
Speaking about the Qirx partnership, Walton described the IT partner as being “incredible”.
“They’ve been a trusted partner, making sure the college gets the best outcome,” Walton said. “They’re not about pushing products. They understand every school is different, has different challenges, and needs different solutions – and they really took the time to understand what would work best for us.”