Private and public primary and secondary schools in Alberta now have a more efficient way to backup, store and recover information, thanks to the work of Canadian security solution provider Office Solutions Inc. (OSI) and security services vendor SonicWall.
Northern Gateway Public Schools (Northern Gateway Regional Division Number 10) focuses on grades K-12 across central Alberta with school sizes from an 11-student one-room schoolhouse to a 700-student junior/senior high school. The IT department has responsibility of managing the network data and applications for the region’s 350 faculty members, 700 administrators and 5,300 students across a distributed environment which included 20 school locations and a total of 92 servers.
Malcolm Heaven, network administrator at Northern Gateway, said prior to the solution they’re now using, there were multiple domains attached to the network and backups were being done on individual tapes. This not only required the use of multiple tapes; it also meant the process wasn’t very reliable.
“Sometimes the tape systems didn’t work,” Heaven said. “Once we went several days trying to locate missing information.”
This year, the district decided to consolidate everything under a single domain. What Northern Gateway needed was a centralized way to backup and recover information to make complying with government policy and regulations easier.
Calgary-based OSI stepped up to the challenge and helped Northern Gateway meet their requirements. OSI implemented SonicWall’s Continuous Data Protection (CDP) backup and recovery appliance for the school district. Now, Northern Gateway is able to centrally back up 9TB of information from across the division.
Ken Dang, a product manager for CDP at SonicWall, said the appliance provides users with online backup and disaster recovery capabilities.
Since the hardware and software is already included with the pre-configured appliance, Dang said it’s easy to deploy, implement and use. He also said the target market for this solution is medium-sized businesses that may not have a dedicated IT person or team on staff.
“CDP works right out of the box and delivers automatic and transparent backup to make sure critical data is reliably backed up and protected from disastrous circumstances by user errors, events beyond our control and hardware failure,” Dang said.
Bill Stewart, vice-president of professional services at OSI, said the CDP appliance backs up the schools’ information at the school’s location and also offsite to wherever their division offices may be.
Ted Hulsey, director of channel marketing at SonicWall said the company delivers all of its products through the channel.
“What’s great about our offerings is that it’s appliance plus services,” he said. “Partners can make additional margins when they offer services such as reporting and ongoing management. Depending on where a partner is in our (channel) program, they can make anywhere between 20 to 40 per cent margin, in addition to what they make when they offer services.”
In OSI’s case, Brett Bain, president of OSI, said the company offers professional services and post-sales support to its customers. He said OSI has certified SonicWall security engineers on staff so regardless of where a customer is located, the engineers can log on remotely and address any issues the customer may have.
Up next for Northern Gateway and OSI are possible plans for CDP expansion. Northern Gateway is in the process of building a new office, with a target for completion in 2011. At this time, Heaven said the district may look to deploy additional CDPs to support its growth.
Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.