SolarWinds Transforms Brisbane Grammar’s User Experience

 In General

SolarWinds Transforms Brisbane Grammar’s User Experience

SolarWinds technology has transformed Brisbane Grammar School’s ICT professionals from being reactive to proactive when glitches occur on their complex and geographically dispersed network. In the past, they often heard about problems when students, staff or parents phoned the Help Desk. Today, SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) ensures that they have either resolved problems or are working on them by the time people call.

The Customer

Brisbane Grammar Schoolis a non-selective independent day and boarding school for boys, located in the centre of Brisbane, Australia. Brisbane Grammar caters for about 1,450 boys in Years 6 to 12.

IT Management Challenge

The school has a relatively large and complex IT environment which is geographically dispersed across more than 15 buildings. As a consequence, it can be difficult to keep track of what is happening in different parts of the network.

The network includes some 1,900 client devices (tablets, desktops and laptops) and 120 switched devices, including wireless access points. It is used by 1,450 pupils, 320 teachers, and more than 2,000 parents who log-in via an extranet. There are 45 virtual and 8 physical servers at three sites, plus more than 30 switches and 200 applications, including core network services such as Active Directory, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, file and print.

The school needed a solution to provide real-time monitoring of its core and edge network infrastructure, as well as the ability to monitor the uptime of servers, services and applications across 50-plus physical and virtual servers.


In their quest for a product to monitor their environment, Brisbane Grammar’s IT team checked several applications that were available on trial and also reviewed what other schools were using. According to Michael Lowbridge, Director of ICT and Information Services, they selected SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor as the most comprehensive all-in-one monitoring solution backed by a robust support model.

Lowbridge said: “As a vendor neutral, agent free web-based product it provides the coverage required in our organisation. NPM made an immediate impact on the stability and visibility of our network. The application is unique in being a single pane of glass interface to access all necessary information relating to the management and monitoring of our network’s services.”


Since adopting the SolarWinds solution, Brisbane Grammar’s IT team has been more proactive in managing the network.

For example, when a series of faults occurred in the wireless network due to a bug in the firmware, the IT team became rather gun shy to the point where they assumed that any call relating to network access was a wireless problem. Now NPM allows them to check all aspects of the physical and application layers to confirm whether a problem is wireless-related or potentially another system or end user fault.

“We are receiving fewer calls beginning ‘did you know that …,’ because NPM allows the ICT Service Desk team to communicate with our user base more effectively,” said Lowbridge. “The solution is also supporting faster diagnosis of problems – our response times have been halved at the very least, and probably substantially more than halved.”

He said NPM had enhanced the entire user experience because ICT staff members are no longer blind to what is happening around the network. NPM provides substantially enhanced visibility to the network’s operational status.

“Our higher order of troubleshooting is saving 5 to 10 hours a week in ICT staff time that is no longer being wasted,” said Lowbridge. “The cost of network downtime in terms of lost productivity, frustrated staff and students, and the potential negative impact on the classroom environment was substantially higher than the cost of a robust network management system with the comprehensive features offered by SolarWinds.”


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