Thurston Community College | Green Duck | Case Study

Thurston Community College

By Josh Wong

Thurston Community College

An educated approach to IT infrastructure



Cost-effective, scalable and high-performing IT infrastructure


Thurston Community College




Size 180 staff and over 1700 students across two campus locations


Storage Spaces Direct, Hyperconverged infrastructure, Hyper-V Failover Clustering, Windows Server 2019 Datacentre, Windows Admin Centre, Cluster-aware updating.

The Client

Thurston Community College

“Inspire. Empower. Achieve.”

Following significant expansion in 2014, Thurston Community College – located four miles east of Bury St Edmunds – is one of the largest schools in West Suffolk providing education to 1700 students aged 11 to 18 across two campus sites.

As well as striving to provide the highest standard of education of its students, the college is also home to Thurston Library, a facility for the village community and surrounding area; the Sports Education Centre, managed in partnership with Abbeycroft Leisure offering a range of sporting facilities for members and the Headquarters of the 863 (Thurston) Air Cadets.

Innovation in IT infrastructure provides the college with “phenomenal system performance”

The Need

  • To replace outdated College IT platform and infrastructure with a new solution that could cope with their growth needs.
  • To increase efficiency and reliability.
  • To update the College’s hardware and software so that the team could continue to deliver a high-standard of education to students with high-performing IT facilities.
  • To improve maintenance processes, lower ongoing costs and help them become more energy efficient. To work to a strict budget and complete the entire project before the critical exam results deadline.
  • To work to a strict budget and complete the entire project before the critical exam results deadline.

The Approach

To ensure a reliable, resilient, secure and efficient IT infrastructure we:

  • Replaced the existing Storage Area Network (SAN) with new hardware for reliability and cost-saving – reducing the ongoing need to purchase, maintain and support hardware
  • Implemented a 2-node Hyperconverged cluster (HCI) leveraging Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) for scalability, improved fault-tolerance, and faster storage and recall of data – should one node fail, the rest remain operational providing a reliable storage solution, while additional nodes can be added easily to accommodate growth
  • Utilised latest advancements in Windows Server 2019 – providing an easier to manage solution that frees up time of in-house College IT team to focus on more progressive projects
  • Provided full system handover and training, as well as ongoing 24/7 system monitoring

“Thurston Community College approached us with a request to replace their existing solution which was no longer fit for purpose. The solution we designed not only exceeded their needs but also came in under budget allowing them to reallocate the remaining funds into future projects and continued support”

Jonathan Springham
Technical Solutions Architect, Green Duck

The Outcome

“We can already see a return-on-investment from the phenomenal system performance. For example, our exam results import took just minutes, rather than hours. On this project alone, I am confident that we have finally found the professional IT services we can rely on.”

Tom Phillips
IT Manager, Thurston Community College

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