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Portsmouth Grammar School

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Portsmouth Grammar SchoolThe Portsmouth Grammar School maintains a deserved reputation of being one of the leading co-educational independent schools on the south coast. Established around 250 years ago, the thriving city centre school maintains an ethos of discovering and fulfilling excellence in all areas of school life for their 1,600 attending pupils aged 2 to 18, supported by 250 staff. With onsite facilities that equal those of most universities, the infrastructure at Portsmouth Grammar is supported by an IT department of five.

Portsmouth Grammar School’s Challenge

Portsmouth had extended the provision of email over the past few years and currently provides around 2,500 mailboxes across the school to staff, senior school pupils and parents, all running on Microsoft Exchange 2010. Staff have unlimited capacity, so Portsmouth found they were consuming increasingly vast amounts of costly primary storage. Three years ago, they embraced a virtualised environment to reduce hardware and ease management overheads: disk expansion for mail stores flew in the face of the virtualised strategy whilst having a negative knock-on effect for backups.

The school keeps all data created on email for 8 years and were running a primary to secondary to tape strategy for backups in order to fulfil compliance, further affecting storage. Therefore, they began to search for an automated archiving solution to reduce email data and automate archiving off of the primary storage.

The Solution from C2C

C2C’s ArchiveOne was chosen as the automated archiving facility. ArchiveOne requires minimal manual intervention: it works quietly and automatically in the background, facilitating pre-established archiving and recovery policies taking any mail that has not been accessed for the specified period and storing it in the relevant annual repository. For Portsmouth Grammar, ArchiveOne could delete unwanted email data at the source and archive the balance prior to the upgrade to Microsoft Exchange 2010. Therefore, the total amount of email data being ingested into Exchange 2010 was a fraction of the original information store. This required fewer network and hardware resources, and the upgrade took significantly less time than would have been required to ingest the entire store. Going forward, if Portsmouth should decide to upgrade to Exchange 2013, the archived data wouldn’t need to be touched again.

The Result

An immediate reduction in primary storage alleviated the existing need to buy additional expensive storage. Backup windows also benefitted from a dramatic time reduction. Previously, backups could span across the entire weekend, and take a full week to migrate to tape. Now with ArchiveOne’s automation in place, the backup window spans less than a couple of hours.

For staff, users have not noted any significant changes in their inbox: emails are still available seamlessly by clicking on a residual “stub” and are restored from the archive in less than a few seconds. Around a third of staff are mobile laptop users who used to run into continual issues involving PSTs: Outlook’s “auto-archive” prompt would migrate emails to laptops’ hard drives as PSTs, which are notoriously prone to failure. ArchiveOne’s PST management eliminated this risk by discovering these PSTs and then archiving them as emails, eliminating failures with PSTs and including this archived email within the main backup regime.

SVC Awards 2013 Logo CMYK
The project was a great success and was recognized at the 2013 SVC (Storage Virtualisation & Cloud) Awards winning an award for the Public Sector Storage Project of the Year.



"C2C's ArchiveOne has had a positive effect at the Portsmouth Grammar School, reducing costly disk storage by at least 50% and generally making our support roles more comfortable with reduced backup windows, easy migration and demonstrable compliance. All that amounts to significant peace of mind."

Trevor Barker, Network Manager

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