Lord Wandsworth College is a co-educational independent school based in Hampshire, England. As the school campus is spread over 1,200 acres, it’s a challenge for the school’s IT team to manage the network and associated devices. Without a monitoring solution in place, often the first sign of an issue came from a user submitting a helpdesk ticket or calling in with a problem.
Lord Wandsworth College first installed PRTG to solve a very simple problem relating to printing facilities in the school. The dispersed campus meant that if one of the 80+ printers was out of toner, a member of staff had to make a trip to the main building to replace it. The printer would be out of operation for a period of time, disrupting school operations as teaching staff were unable to print the resources needed for lessons.
PRTG was initially installed to monitor all printers and photocopiers and trigger a warning when toner levels dropped below 5%. A member of the IT team could then be dispatched with a new toner cartridge which would be left by the printer so it could be inserted as soon as it was required. This approach significantly reduced the amount of time printers were offline as toner cartridges could be replaced immediately.
After seeing the benefits of this simple solution, the IT team looked at how else PRTG might help them manage the network infrastructure across the whole school. With such a large site, IT staff often spent significant amounts of time travelling between buildings to investigate reported issues in the school’s network. As a result, it installed 2,700 sensors across all monitorable areas of the network.
Lord Wandsworth College’s IT team are now able to remotely monitor everything from temperatures in remote server rooms, to the performance of access points and switches. It means the team has greater insight into whether an issue could become a major problem and take the appropriate action before it has a negative impact on the network, often without having to travel across campus to investigate the issue on site.
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An example of where PRTG has been integral to proactively solving an issue is when a Web server application failed but the server host was still running. A PRTG HTTP sensor gave the IT department the visibility to see that although the server was firing, it was not returning normal data readings. This prompted further investigation which allowed the IT team to successfully diagnose and solve the issue before a single ticket alert from a user could be raised.
The organisational benefits
The clearest benefit for Lord Wandsworth College has been the shift from an entirely reactive approach to a proactive one, where the majority of issues are solved before they can be reported by users. This led to a significant reduction in calls from staff and pupils about IT issues or support tickets logged. This has vastly improved the user experience and positively impacted the perception of the IT department as a highly valued team within the school.
A further knock-on benefit has been the improved efficiency due to decreased downtime of networks and hardware. In turn, this has led to better educational outcomes as lessons, planning and admin have suffered less disruption by network or system downtime.
Steven Barrett, Network Manager, Lord Wandsworth College said:
“Being able to proactively manage our networks and infrastructure not only saves time, but it saves resources. With our IT systems spread across a large school campus, we needed to be able to monitor for issues proactively in order to prevent extended downtime. We first installed PRTG to monitor toner levels in printers across the campus. This allowed us to replace toner cartridges before they were empty and prevent unnecessary downtime. PRTG was so helpful that Lord Wandsworth College has since installed sensors on everything there is to monitor on the school network. PRTG has been integral in shifting our IT ticketing away from a reactive system where users report issues, towards a proactive approach that allows us to solve issues before users even notice there is a problem.”
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