An interview with Troy Pieterman, Network Manager, Woodleigh School

  • 25 February 2016
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Background: Woodleigh School is a coeducational, independent school located on the Mornington Peninsula, south east of Melbourne. The school aims to empower students to do more, with less, to limit their footprint on the environment, to respect it, their peers and themselves. To have a tech solution which is powerful, reliable and frugal is a great fit for the school. Troy Pieterman, who is Network Manager at the school, is responsible for Woodleigh’s IT systems and processes. We recently spoke with Troy about Woodleigh’s move to a Nutanix-powered data centre, which has allowed the school to meet its sustainability goals and boost educational outcomes in specialist programs.

Q: What challenges did Woodleigh School face with its previous IT infrastructure?
Prior to Nutanix, our data centre consisted of three physical servers sitting beside two SANs. These were nearing end of life were out of warranty. Performance was declining, it was becoming harder and harder to manage because we had to constantly move between different systems (which took up a lot of my time), and it wasn’t meeting our expectations and sustainability goals.

Q: Why did you select Nutanix?
Replacement of our SAN would have been very costly. We had to make sure we had enough switch capacity to run that SAN, as well as sufficient compute to use the extra storage – all of that adds more cost. The Nutanix technology was affordable, had a small footprint and combined everything into the one box; it can be easily managed through the Prism interface. Better still, the software is designed to run on its own, which frees me up to work on things that make a positive contribution to our students’ learning.

Q: How have you reinvested the time saved in managing Nutanix compared to the old SAN?
More time has been one of the biggest benefits for us in the switch to Nutanix. Thanks to the hyper-converged technology, combined with the Prism interface, Nutanix is an easy solution to manage. I’ve found that my time and resources can now be focused on making the student learning experience seamless and reliable. We are spending less time managing complex systems, which allows us to focus on educating our students on issues, such as cyber security, best practice in technology use and online citizenship.

Q: You previously mentioned sustainability. How does Nutanix contribute to these objectives?
Woodleigh is a sustainable school; we empower students to do more with less to limit their footprint on the environment. Nutanix fits in perfectly with this because it delivers much higher performance out of one box, which means we’ve been able to significantly reduce our power and cooling costs. We have also reduced the physical size of our data centre by 86 per cent.

Q: What other benefits has the technology brought to Woodleigh?
We’re using Nutanix to run our whole IT environment, which includes VDI and applications used by staff and students. From a technical perspective, machines boot up faster and we can roll out updates and deliver new applications without interrupting users. With increased performance and reliability, students are able to pursue their learning on almost any device, anywhere.

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