How Lenovo is streamlining student and staff services at Salesian College Chadstone - Education Matters Magazine
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How Lenovo is streamlining student and staff services at Salesian College Chadstone

For many years, Salesian College Chadstone had relied on Lenovo servers and storage to underpin its operations. But with the infrastructure approaching end of support, the time had come to upgrade its data centre.

Salesian College Chadstone is committed to helping every student to achieve their individual best, and technology plays a key part in this, IT manager Mr Terry Cristiano said.

He said the school depends on its IT infrastructure running reliably to deliver everything from learning applications to email for 1,100 students and 180 staff.

“We were almost reluctant to upgrade as our existing Lenovo systems had served us so well for so many years and were still rock-solid. But we decided to take the opportunity to boost compute performance and storage efficiency, so we could deliver a better service to students and staff,” Cristiano said.

“We like the durability and build quality of Lenovo’s hardware. Our previous Lenovo System x servers ran reliably for almost a decade, without any major issues.”

Based on its experience of Lenovo durability and reliability, Salesian College Chadstone was eager to invest in a simple solution that would stand the test of time.

“When it comes to technology, our motto is: simple is good,” Cristiano said.

“We had lots of discussions with Lenovo engineers about cloud and hyperconvergence, but they weren’t the right fit for our needs. We wanted to keep the infrastructure small, simple and on premises. Unlike other vendors, Lenovo didn’t try to sell us more than we needed; they listened and delivered a solution that perfectly met our requirements.”

Salesian College Chadstone selected two Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 V2 servers, powered by Intel® Xeon Scalable processors and virtualised with Microsoft Hyper-V, along with a Lenovo ThinkSystem DE4000F All Flash Storage Array.

“We completed the installation ourselves and migrated 24 terabytes of data from the old SAN to the ThinkSystem DE4000F over one weekend. That’s another thing we like about Lenovo: the kit is easy to use, you can simply plug and play,” Cristiano said.

“A Lenovo engineer was on hand for a couple of questions we had but overall, it was a very straightforward deployment.”

The results

The new Lenovo infrastructure, powered by Intel® Xeon Scalable processors, can keep student and staff services running smoothly, leveraging the processor’s built-in accelerators to gain higher performance and more efficient utilisation.

“Our Lenovo ThinkSystem infrastructure is simple, yes. But it’s stable, robust, and has plenty of headroom for growth, which is exactly what we were looking for,” Cristiano said.

“And we know the server racks and the SSD hard drives will be supported for a long time, so we’re confident that we have future-proofed our data centre with this solution.”

The move to Lenovo ThinkSystem servers and storage has also delivered a performance boost, helping to streamline services for both students and staff.

“Performance for some applications has increased by 50%. Backup times have also improved, and now run 100% faster than before,” Cristiano said.

Salesian College Chadstone is a long-time user of Lenovo data centre and PC technology. In addition to its System x and now ThinkSystem infrastructure, the school procures around 300 Lenovo ThinkPad laptops annually for each new Year 7 cohort.

“We’ve been using Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, notebooks and tablets for years, and are very happy with the durability of the devices,” Cristiano said.

“Both the PCs and the data centre systems are very robust. The ThinkPads pass the drop test, which is important to an education setting. We particularly like the X Series laptops with the 360-degree hinge, as they can withstand a lot of wear and tear from students.”

But just as important as hardware quality for Salesian College Chadstone is the human element. The school has developed a close partnership with Lenovo and reseller JB Hi-Fi over the years.

“We have great rapport with both Lenovo and JB Hi-Fi. We do look at what’s on the market and what other vendors are offering, but we are loyal to both partners; the equipment works, the teams are knowledgeable, and the price is right,” Cristiano said.

Salesian College Chadstone is a Catholic non-government school for boys for Years 7 to 12 (ages 11 to 18), located in Melbourne’s south-east.

Drawing inspiration from the spirituality and educational principles of St John Bosco, Salesian College Chadstone welcomes all boys and their families, celebrates diversity, and promotes relationships built on mutual respect. All in the community are treated as valued partners in laying the foundation for life-long learning.

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