Cromer Academy is a thriving secondary school in north Norfolk and part of the Inspiration Trust family of academies. Cromer’s vision is that every student feels a sense of personal achievement and is motivated and equipped to pursue their goals and dreams. When the Inspiration Trust took over Cromer Academy, Michael Vaughan (Head of IT), found that Cromer Academy’s current IT systems were not fit for purpose to meet this vision. The switching infrastructure was over 10 years old, wireless was sporadic at best and there were a myriad of servers with little storage space for students and staff to save work.
Levett Consultancy put together a 3 phased plan to meet Cromer Academy’s vision statement and was promptly approved by the Inspiration Trust executive board. The phased plan consisted of implementing:
- A star network that is both scalable and resilient
- A wireless network that will support a flexible mobile environment
- A server system solution that will provide future scalability whilst consolidating hardware and saving energy
Levett Consultancy was also tasked with completing the plan within 6 months, starting from July 2015.
Phase 1 started in late July where Levett Consultancy, a D-Link Gold partner, used D-Link’s new DGS-1510 10Gbps capable switches at each edge cabinet location with D-Link DXS-3600-32 switches at the core location. VMS Network Cabling ran and installed OM3 fibre cabling connecting each edge cabinet to the core. By using OM3 fibre this ensured Cromer Academy had a 10Gbps backbone to support all current and future devices. The final part of phase 1 was Levett Consultancy configuring the switches and setting up VLANs to separate defined data traffic and devices.
Phase 2 starting in August and saw the implementation of Samsung Enterprise wireless based on using the new WEC-8050 controller and WEA-412i 802.11ac access points. We chose Samsung’s new wireless technology as the solution incorporates advanced technology developed for the new mobile networks to deliver superb hand over and fair access. In addition Samsung wireless self-healing and band-steering prevent connection issues, ensuring a reliable service which was absolutely key as Cromer Academy was moving to using Google Chromebooks for all students.
Phase 3 started in October, where Levett Consultancy as Fujitsu Expert partner, configured and implemented a bespoke virtualised cluster solution using a Fujitsu BX400 chassis, 2 server core blades and built-in Storage Area Network. Everything was consolidated in a single chassis using Windows 2012 R2 Hyper-V, Symantec V-Ray for onsite backups and Redstor Backup plus for offsite backups.
This phase also saw Levett Consultancy migrate all legacy systems data over to the new solution, create deployment images, configure and deploy Sophos End-Point protection and Impero Education Pro, then built a number of desktops to the new network. The network then went through a number of acceptance test including cluster failover before being handed over to the Cromer Academy ICT Manager in early November, 2 months ahead of schedule.
Cromer Secondary Academy is looking to the future and underpinning its vision is the Levett Consultancy School-ina-Box titanium and Wireless ina School solutions, which allows the Academy to scale its wide range of educational applications and devices for pupils and teachers at low cost and most importantly having a positive effect on learning outcomes.
I was impressed how the whole solution came together and how Levett Consultancy handled expectations. We now have a resilient solution configured for ease of use and maintenance from an ICT perspective. But more importantly, a solution that supports and enhances the teaching and learning at our Academy. What more could we ask for? Michael Vaughan (Head of ICT)