Virtualization of the IT infrastructure at the British Higher School of Design
The British Higher School of Design was founded in 2003 to educate and train Russian students in advanced international educational programs in art and design. BHSD is one of the most important educational centers in Russia, specializing in professional education in the field of creative industries and developing on the basis of close partnership with the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries of the University of Hertfordshire (UK). The unique advantage of the British Higher School of Art and Design is the opportunity to get a British higher education in Russia on training programs accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency - an independent agency for monitoring academic quality. The British Higher School of Design is a member of the British Design & Art Direction (D&AD), the International Council of Graphic Design Associations ICOGRADA, the Association of Interior Educators and the International Interior Design Association.
The customer's business task
The previous IT infrastructure did not provide a high level of security for unique data and comfort for employees and students. The cost of regular upgrades to computing power and system maintenance was also suboptimal. Previously the utilization rate of the School's physical servers did not consistently exceed 20-30%, but today it reaches 80-90%.

Over 1000 users can promptly access the School's resources every day and implement their creative ideas without any worries about data safety. It was necessary to ensure fault-tolerance of graphic applications, database availability, and periodic backups.

Various layouts, sketches, and other "heavy" data are the main product of the British Higher School of Design, and ensuring the reliable storage of such information is one of the foundations of the institution. That is why the client's IT department has been regularly increasing its computing capacity at considerable expense. Without implementing new technologies and approaches, such a strategy could result in endless unproductive spending of time and money, increasing the number of equipment and the cost of its maintenance and repair. To prevent this scenario, the customer's management decided to upgrade the IT infrastructure.
To implement this project, the client's IT service was looking for an innovative partner with a flexible toolkit and a fresh perspective on the task. As a result, it took more than three weeks to study the proposals, most of them were either very expensive or non-transparent in terms of return on investment. As a result, the DEPO Computers solution was preferred.

After examining the customer's site, DEPO Computers specialists suggested creating a virtualization farm using the existing hardware platform. In the project for the British Higher School of Design, a multivendor approach was used and the engineering competencies of the research and development group were applied. The solution included affordable DEPO Storage 5312Base storage systems, which ensured favorable budgeting for the project, as well as VMware and Symantec software developments. As a result of preliminary testing, 12 changes were made to the hardware and software, improving the efficiency of the complex solution for the specific tasks of the British Higher School of Design.

The consolidated capacity is now sufficient to serve the office subnet systems and applications used by faculty and students during classes. In addition, hosting applications on separate virtual machines increases the reliability of the system as a whole and simplifies administration. The School's IT infrastructure has also been supplemented with a tape library, which allows storing large amounts of data, which is especially important when working with graphical materials that are poorly archivable.

"We were able to assess the benefits of DEPO's project approach at all stages of cooperation: deep competencies, customizable solutions, clear communication with the working group," says Alexander Lata, head of IT at the British Higher School of Design. - Only this company's bid saw an understanding of the specifics and a fresh approach to our task. Based on the audit results, the specialists of DEPO Computers proposed a solution, which allowed complex modernization of the IT infrastructure while maintaining the existing physical capacities and increasing their efficiency. Within a month we jointly tested the solution at the school's site. The DEPO specialists were attentive to the main task and promptly made changes. This was the most important stage of the project, because unique data and graphic materials are our main product and it is critical to transfer them to an unreliable system. As a result, the implementation stage itself took only a few weeks without any interruptions in the educational process".

IT project results
Consolidation and distribution of available hardware capacity allows to provide sufficient resources to all applications and services of the IT infrastructure depending on current needs. For users, continuity of service provision, high availability of deployed systems, and reliable long-term data storage are ensured. The DEPO Computers solution helps to further implement the strategy of the British Higher School of Art and Design - constant development and modernization of information and technical resources to support the educational process as efficiently as possible.

Project results for business
The decision to implement virtualization was a turning point in the long-term development of IT not only at the British Higher School of Design, but also at the new creative educational institutions that are part of the consortium. The consolidated virtual IT infrastructure will also ensure the efficiency of the educational process at the Moscow Film School, the Scream School of Computer Graphics, and the MARSH School of Architecture. According to the results of implementation due to the consolidation of servers now the savings on total cost of ownership of a physical server is $3000-4000. But the most important thing is that thanks to the built-in scalability, it significantly reduced and at the same time simplified the process of implementing strategic innovations in the IT infrastructure of the School.
Made on