Manchester Grammar School


A leading UK independent school, Manchester Grammar School boasts an enviable reputation as one of the most academically outstanding schools in the country, with pupils achieving success both nationally and internationally in a range of subject areas

The school chose LIMA to deliver a NetApp solution to help overcome the challenges it faced in transitioning from a medium-sized computing operation to enterprise-level.

LIMA + Manchester Grammar School = Storage to underpin growth

Everything about the LIMA proposal made sense, from the suggested technology platform to pre-sales and post-sales support, lifecycle management and the design of the platform. It made sense to find a partner that was well versed and experienced in this type of technology.
— Richard Wilcock, Head of Computer Services Manchester Grammar School

Results at a glance

Reliable NetApp storage platform to support continued success and operations

40% disk storage reclaimed

Platform’s SAN-to-SAN replication to a disaster recovery location ensures safe and recoverable data

Significant cost savings

Twice daily backups

Delivering our Four-Cornered Methodology


Discovering aspirations and challenges

Following the opening its junior school and the introduction of computing into the curriculum, Manchester Grammar School moved from having around 400 workstations to 1,100 devices, including tablets and other mobile devices. Given this surge in computers, the existing storage platform was essentially unable to cope with the new and increased demands.

Data protection at Manchester Grammar School also relied on traditional disk to disk to tape, which with the new storage requirements, proved to be too slow. For example, the data protection method and disaster recovery would enable the recovery of single files or virtual machines, but such a process could take a number of hours.

Manchester Grammar School's challenge

  • Meet the storage and disaster recovery challenge posed by an IT infrastructure that grew from 400 workstations to 1,100 devices. 
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Identifying the right technology

As well as the requirement for a new storage platform, Manchester Grammar School was also looking for a new technology partner that was well versed and experienced in this type of technology.

The school chose to work with LIMA after our team proposed a platform based around the NetApp FAS2552 and FAS2520 and NetApp SnapMirror™. The FAS2500 range was specifically designed to accelerate workloads and increase usable capacity, which were important points for Manchester Grammar School in order to accommodate surging growth in storage requirements.

The platform was designed to upgrade primary storage to a more efficient platform and improve the recoverability of the most critical applications in use at the school. Using both FAS2552 and FAS2520, a SAN-to-SAN replication model was created to a disaster recovery location in the event of system failure, which would help provide the continuation of the school’s IT services with minimal disruption.

Tech spec: NetApp FAS2552 - NetApp FAS2520 - NetApp SnapMirror - VMware vCenter, ESXi - Symantec Backup Exec and NDMP 

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Supporting businesses as they grow

The new NetApp storage platform worked to underpin the continued success and business operations of Manchester Grammar School. Since implementation, it’s helped the school to reclaim 40% of disk storage whilst also dramatically improving the ability to recover the school’s most critical applications.

The platform’s SAN-to-SAN replication to a disaster recovery location helps make sure that data is safe and recoverable in the event of a system failure and also means the school is complying with mandatory requirements concerning data storage.

The NetApp platform included all hardware and software support for five years, which was equivalent to the cost of maintaining the school’s existing systems for the same period. This not only represented significant cost savings for Manchester Grammar School, but also provided a much more flexible and high-performing system that accommodates future growth and a reliable and easy-to-manage disaster recovery system.

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Evaluating infrastructure for ongoing efficiency

One of the most compelling features of the NetApp platform for Richard and the team at Manchester Grammar School was that the technology provided much more than storage, with added benefits such as smarter backups and quick restores. This enabled the school to shrink their storage environment while also gaining greater storage capacity.

Richard manages a four-person IT team who, thanks to the new platform, are now freed up to concentrate on business critical projects rather than having to manage storage requirements.

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