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The Thomas Deacon Academy

27 April 2020

Find out how Ideal's knowledge, speed and attention to detail help the UK's largest academy support their learning and teaching.

Meet the client

  • The Thomas Deacon Academy was opened in September 2007 and is the UK’s largest academy with 2200 students and more than 400 staff from three pre-existing schools.
  • The school prides itself on offering students, staff and parents remote access to learning resources, homework and attendance information, files and apps (from any mobile device platform) and any time through its Remote Access service

What the client says

“It has been a pleasure to work with Ideal. The team have in-depth knowledge and are proactive, thorough and professional. If I ask them about anything they find the answer for me. Changes to network configurations are recorded accurately and reliably, resulting in better change management. The speed at which we are notified of interruptions to service is almost immediate.”

Martin Byford-Rew , IT Manager at Thomas Deacon Academy

Our partnership

  • We started working with the academy in 2013 after the IT team began looking for more support than its existing break-fix contract offered. They wanted expert support and advice so they could guarantee staff and pupils access to IT learning resources all of the time.
  • Our solution was a LAN monitoring, management and support service, hosted and managed from our 24/7/365 Network Operating Centre.
  • The Academy have been impressed with the improved visibility of their network and have even discovered devices not previously known. The monitoring and management service brought immediate benefit to the Academy when live monitoring identified a switch running high memory usage. We were able to correct this before it caused an outage.
  • Our expert service team provides round the clock consultancy on network changes and 24-hour monitoring for both real time events, trends and systems events that may affect the performance of the network in the future.
  • The monitoring service is delivered via a suite of tools with a probe server installed at the Academy’s main site. Hosted on a virtual machine the probe acts as a central point for collection of management information. We monitor all critical health subsystems, device availability and traffic patterns to ensure a smooth running of the network. Systems alerts are visible on portals at both Ideal Networks and Thomas Deacon Academy sites.
  • In 2015 we delivered a full LAN refresh, meeting a requirement for a new 10gig capable resilient network core and distribution layer.
  • As a valued customer, we were keen to ensure that Thomas Deacon Academy got the best solution for their money so we worked with our partner, Cisco, to ensure that the Academy benefitted from an extremely cost effective package.

The Ideal Experience

We take monitoring seriously and we always aim to take a proactive approach. At Thomas Deacon Academy, we were able to use monitoring to identify a switch outage out-of-hours which allowed the Academy IT team to notify teaching staff before school started so classroom schedules could be changed before any classes were disrupted.

The technical spec in a nutshell - LAN refresh

  • Ideal proposed a pair of Cisco Nexus 9000 switches which will be interconnected with two 40Gig fibre links.
  • The proposed distribution switches were Cisco Catalyst 2960X switches. These are stackable switches with either 24 or 48 10/100/100 copper ports, as well as two 10Gig SFP+ (enhanced small form-factor pluggable) uplinks. These will connect back to the two core switches with diverse 10Gig fibre links.