The Cranford Group (CG) is a soft federation of schools that came together in frustration at being left behind by the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. They aimed to procure a largely revenue based alternative to BSF.
Gaia have worked with this group, since 2010, to build on their BSF aspirations and create a new vision for a federated ICT service. This vision would create a service where each school enjoys an equal and appropriate quality of service at the right and affordable price. The requirements were for a transfer of risk and operational management to Gaia.
In an effort to reduce the overall cost and increase the efficiency, Gaia has designed, implemented and currently maintains a Data Centre from which many of the Schools within the group share services and resources. Currently there are nine separate large schools that connect to the Data Center using one or more dedicated leased line circuits with speeds ranging from 100Mbps to 1Gbps.
The design lends itself to a distributed multi-core model where each school has its own infrastructure (Servers, Storage, Network, etc. also under Gaia’s management) and relies on the Data Centre for redundancy and shared services. These include:
Gaia now provides a complete service that includes the day-to-day system management, responsibility for all technology infrastructure, systems operation, integration, support, administration, and performance monitoring. The service also includes strategic consultancy, cost efficiency/value engineering, technical diagnostics/troubleshooting, configuration management, system repair and disposal management and the production of weekly, termly and annual management reports.
All elements within the data centre itself and the distributed infrastructure are connected to a monitoring system that receives regular status updates. This is accomplished using a monitoring system called Enterprise OPs Manager from ManageEngine. This is an integrated network management software that continuously measure network performance and availability.
The Network Operations Centre (NOC) at Gaia HQ is responsible for:
Gaia is also responsible for supply chain and contract lifecycle management. This includes third party contract management and/or service integration (SIAM) with regard to outsourcing, procurement, licensing and any other technology related agreements containing contractual obligations to the customer. This includes close working relationship and oversight over large companies such as BT, Virgin, Gamma, Toshiba, Capita to name a few who provide the schools with key systems and services that must be available.
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