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Renfrewshire Council

The Synology products price and performance offer a superior end user experience, and fulfil all of the requirements that the primary schools need - plus more. We would be happy to recommend Synology NAS servers. The device delivered everything that we wanted and would definitely recommend the use of Synology's product. Mr. David Smith, ICT Engineer of Renfrewshire Council

The Company

With a population of nearly 172,867 Renfrewshire is Scotland's ninth largest Council area. Scotland's largest town, Paisley, has a rich heritage of civic architecture from its days as a textile hub and an ancient abbey. It is complemented by the Royal Burgh of Renfrew, Erskine, the 18th century planned town of Johnstone and several planned villages set in pleasant countryside. Today the area is a vibrant place to live and work. The Council is the area's largest employer and provides a number of key front-line services to residents. Renfrewshire Council has eight departments providing services for the chief executive, corporate service, education and leisure, environment, finance and IT, housing and property, planning and transport and social work.

The Challenge

There are 11,000 secondary age pupils in Renfrewshire and 11 high schools catering for young people in the 12-18 age group over six years. There are over 12,500 children of primary age. The council has 49 primary schools, many with facilities and units for children with additional needs. These serve the 5-12 age group over seven years of primary education, and provide modern teaching to suit the needs of each child.

For all schools there is one single Windows 2008 Domain, each of the 11 high schools has a domain controller and a dedicated member server, also each of the high schools has a dedicated ICT officer. Every member of staff and pupil in high schools has a network home folder plus a number of network resources.

The challenge was to be able to use a similar environment for primary schools without incurring the high hardware, licensing and support costs that a Windows environment requires. As most primary schools have a far smaller user base than a high school, these costs would be proportionately higher.

A device was required that could provide every staff member and pupil on a primary school site with a network home folder and other network resources, and that all these network resources can be given suitable NTFS ACLs and also that all the data could be readily backed up.

The Solution

Two other network storage devices had been purchased previously, each from different manufacturers. The first device failed to deliver for the following reasons; the device promised that it would easily integrate with Active Directory, however this was not the case, and it could only operate were the device was on the same subnet as a Domain Controller. In addition to this, the permissions it could provide only mirrored a unix-like privilege environment. The second device also was disappointing, the reliability of the device was very poor, the speed of the device when using the interface was very slow and yet again although it would integrate with Active Directory, it would utilise users but not groups, and again only mimic a unix-like permissions.

The Synology DS211 was chosen to provide hardware resilience and speed for an extremely competitive price. The Synology device can quickly and easily be deployed. The user interface is very fast and intuitive.

The Benefits

Centralised Backup

The primary school backs up all the data stored on the DS211 using rsync to one of the high school servers, which in turn is backed up to tape each evening. The complete back up mechanism not only increases data security, but also spared the ICT engineer the time to perform the backup manually.

Permission Directories

The home directories for each of the users have proper ACLs on them, allowing multiple permissions to be applied to these. The shared directories similarly have ACLs on them allowing senior staff to have repositories to which only they have permissions to view, and the staff can also have folders to which they can add data but pupils can only read.

Multimedia Support

The DS211 supports iTunes, thus the school can have one single storage area for all music and video that they can use as teaching material throughout the whole school, rather than having local versions on each client machine.

Cost saving/ economical

The DS211 saves high hardware, licensing, and support costs that a Windows environment required.

Recommended Models

  • DS211

Recommended Features

  • Proper operational Windows integrated ACLs
  • Operational on multiple subnets
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