Campus Technology Infrastructure - Center for Digital Education

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Campus Technology Infrastructure - Center for Digital Education

c e n t e r f o r d i g i ta l e d u c at i o n ’ s

Special Report

issue 3

Campus

Technology

Infrastructure


from the

publisher

We’re excited to present the education community

with this latest Special Report on Campus

Infrastructure. It is my firm belief that investment

in infrastructure is paramount to ensuring success in our school

districts and our college campuses, as well as our cities, states

and country as a whole.

Without the proper infrastructure in place, even the small

everyday things we may take for granted are not possible. A few

years ago, the BBC ran a story about students in Guinea, Africa,

who were spending their evenings

studying under streetlights or in

airports because they did not have

electricity in their homes (Read

the full article here: http://news.

bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6990034.

stm). Without a working infrastructure,

these students have to

go to great lengths to accomplish

the seemingly simple task of

homework that children around

the world do every day.

As we continue to move

forward and innovate, we must

remember that robust and

dynamic infrastructures provide

the critical support needed for

our children and young adults to excel. Today’s education

infrastructure is a necessity to moving us forward into an even

brighter tomorrow.

Infrastructure is a complex topic. Our priority with this report

is to not only provide an easy-to-understand view of infrastructure,

but to also ensure education leaders know what it does and

what it can do for them, in the same way that they know the

capabilities and tasks of individual employees. In the report, you

will see our “Living Network” personified by matching the different

functioning parts of a campus infrastructure to the functions

of a person’s career in the world. We hope this is an interesting

way to give life to the infrastructure and show how each of its

components serve a vital purpose in making the whole greater

than the sum of its parts.

We hope you enjoy this Special Report and its accompanying

Converge Funding Report online at www.convergemag.com.

Leilani Cauthen

Publisher, Converge Special Reports

Converge/Center for Digital Education

2 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

Any healthy body must have a vibrant set of

functioning systems. The skeleton, muscular,

digestive and circulatory systems support and

sustain the body. But it is the nervous system that makes

the body vital. It collects data and then processes, stores

and passes it as information to the other systems to get

things done. Likewise, the school’s digital infrastructure

acts as the campus nervous system keeping the institution

operational by collecting data (from PCs, handhelds, POS

devices, and digital content, among

other things) and then processing it

into relevant information that is either

distributed immediately or stored for

future use.

To follow along with this analogy,

the data center is the brain. It must be

protected from assault, and connected

to sensory inputs as well as to functional

users. It also must be supported

by a healthy maintenance plan that

includes a proper environment (cooling,

adequate space, adequate power)

and proper preventive medicine (data

backup, disaster recovery, system

maintenance).

This Special Report focuses on

these aspects of campus technology. It addresses issues

and alternative solutions that assist with instructional

delivery, back office business functions, strategic decision-making

and student support functions. Specifically

it addresses data centers, telecommunications and networking

systems, technology support, IT management

systems and the various ways campuses are supporting

these functions today. At a time when we are all on a

financial diet, the way to a healthy future is through

greater efficiencies and effectiveness. To get there, a

campus must create a healthy infrastructure that is lean

and sustainable.

John Halpin

Vice President, Education Strategic Programs

Center for Digital Education


premise

Today’s campuses rely on technology to support

classroom learning, provide robust research, engage

students, enable professional development and improve

campus business processes.

This Special Report highlights how IT departments

are addressing this challenge while keeping budgets

in check. IT leaders are investigating new approaches,

technologies and funding models to best leverage advances

in technology so students get a better learning

environment and dollars are stretched farther.

The report addresses key infrastructure concerns and

explores new technologies that may be on the horizon.

The discussion includes conversations around creative

funding solutions, shared usage solutions, alternative acquisition

approaches and better management practices.

The campus digital infrastructure is a massive network

of solutions and services. The following is a list of

technologies covered in this report:

• Telecommunications Services

• Internet Services

• Cabling Services

• Telephone Systems

• Networking Systems

• Wireless Systems

• Cellular Solutions

• Video Solutions

• Unified Communications

• Data Center Solutions

• Server Solutions

• Data Security Systems

• Data Storage Systems

• Data Center Virtualization

• Applications Software

• Virtualized Desktop Solutions

• Emergency Notification Systems

• Content Filtering

• IT System Management

• IT Technical Support

• Enhanced Printer Solutions

• Network Provisioning Issues

• Asset Inventory & Management

• Asset Scheduling

Digital Signage

sponsored by:

table of

contents

Premise ................................................................... 3

Executive Summary.............................................. 4

Introduction............................................................ 5

Key IT Infrastructure Issues in

Academic Environments...................................... 6

General.Best.Practices........................................... 9

Options for Tight Budgets................................ 9

Technology Categories for K-12 and

Higher Education................................................ 12

Telecommunications.and.Internet.Services...... 12

Telecommunications.Systems............................. 14

Networking.Systems............................................ 15

Video.Delivery.Systems....................................... 17

Unified.Communications..................................... 17

Data.Centers......................................................... 18

What is the Cloud?......................................... 19

Security.Systems.................................................. 23

Media.Centers....................................................... 25

Technology.Help.and.Support.Systems............. 26

Resource.Management.and.Support.Systems.... 28

What is in the Future?........................................ 30

Resources and Processes for a Healthy

Academic Infrastructure ................................ 31

Conclusion............................................................ 32

Glossary ................................................................ 36

engage learn collaborate

TM

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n

3


eXeCUTiVe sUmmAry

Education is being transformed. As digital technologies

are applied across the entire education ecosystem

they are becoming indispensable to improve learning,

control costs and provide a safer environment. By necessity,

schools have become more reliant than ever

before on an infrastructure that can support their

increasing technology demands. This infrastructure

must be available 24/7. It must be able to meet a wide

range of applications and unusual spikes in load. It

must be secure. It must be adaptable to new technologies

— whether in the classroom, in the back office or

on the Web. At the same time, the infrastructure works

best when it is transparent to users. The old adage “out

of sight and out of mind” is the goal of every IT manager

when discussing the campus infrastructure to users.

Hardware, software, services, cabling and other infrastructure

components should never draw attention to

themselves because they operate behind closed doors

and are expected to work continuously. This anonymity

only becomes compromised when infrastructure

components fail to meet performance expectations. To

guard against this, campuses must ready their infrastructures

by implementing a strategic technology plan

accompanied by a well-executed operation plan. These

plans must then be executed by a team of technologists

who are up to the task.

This is neither a simple nor a static task. Almost every

day a new application is competing for infrastructure

resources. Could it be the online 3-D virtual lab course

that the high school recently implemented? Could it be

the new lecture capture program implemented in the

School of Arts and Sciences that will enable blended

learning? Or, is it the new online assessment program

that links into the learning management system

This Special Report will investigate

the major digital infrastructure technologies on

p-20 campuses. These include voice, data and video

infrastructures as well as their unified applications.

4 C l a s s r o o m T e C h n o l o g I e s

that stresses the campus infrastructure? Whatever

it is, the IT department must be ready for whatever

comes its way.

Yet, that is not the end of it. A sound educational

digital infrastructure includes a cadre of academic

technologists who work hand in hand with administrative

and instructional leadership to explore how

technology can assist schools in improving learning,

teaching and safety. They should also be called upon

to offer solutions that can make schools more efficient

by eliminating ineffective processes and activities

while reducing operational costs. It is in this strategic

support role that the greatest value can be achieved

from a school’s IT department.

In our two previous Special Reports we focused on

the heaviest users of campus IT infrastructures today.

The first Special Report focused on campus management

systems. These are the enterprise-level IT management

systems that include ERP systems, student

information systems and longitudinal data systems.

Each of these require special infrastructure including

networking, storage, servers, security and management

components. They also require a good deal

of IT staff time to make necessary program changes,

conduct break-fix measures and see that users utilize

the programs effectively.

In the second Special Report we looked at classroom

technologies. Although there was a wide array of

technologies represented, they all have one thing in


common: They rely on an always-available backbone

of interconnectivity to other devices and applications.

They require connectivity to resources on campus as

well as to the outside world. They utilize voice, video

and data applications that are viewed from fixed or

mobile devices — whether in school or from home. In

short, they must support how students learn — collaboratively,

experientially, and on demand. Therefore,

in order to support today’s “classroom” technologies,

the digital infrastructure must be fluid, robust

and reliable because it is the delivery system around

which all other technologies depend.

This Special Report will investigate the major

digital infrastructure technologies on P-20 campuses.

These include voice, data and video infrastructures as

well as their unified applications. We will discuss how

these infrastructures are equipped, deployed, secured

and managed. Special attention will be given to how

these systems are ready to accommodate emerging

technologies in the classroom as well as the back office.

We will also look at some of the trends that support

campus infrastructures, including the movement

to third-party providers and the focus on green and

sustainable solutions.

inTrodUCTion

Let’s start our discussion with some perspectives

and observations. Educational enterprises are in

transformation. They are seeing how students, faculty

and education consumers at all levels are demanding

more for their dollar. Spurred on by developments

in consumer technologies, expectations are high.

Students won’t tolerate stepping back in technology

when they enter the school building. They expect to

utilize interactive and collaborative technologies to

learn just as they use these technologies in their daily

lives to investigate, collaborate and socialize.

At the same time, educational institutions of all

stripes are concerned that they protect their intellectual

assets, secure student information and provide a

safe learning environment for students. To do this IT

directors must vet technologies and remain vigilant

that they abide by school guidelines as they deploy

infrastructure technologies. This involves careful

control over who has access to resources, verification

that the devices that access those resources won’t

harm the infrastructure, and the assurance that

immediate remedies are on hand to prevent harm

should a threat occur.

Here lies the built-in predicament. Users want immediate

access to an open set of resources. IT administrators

must ensure that school policies are enforced

so that access is limited to those with proper credentials

and that they are utilizing appropriate applications

and services. Furthermore, IT staff must see

that when resources are limited, they are properly apportioned

to the most critical applications and users.

In a world where operational costs must be contained,

regulating limited bandwidth and prioritizing communication

traffic to the most critical applications is

an important function of network management.

IT operational budgets are not keeping up with

demand. At a time when delivery of technology has

never been more critical, schools are turning to the IT

department to find savings. To answer the challenge,

IT departments have identified and are deploying

more efficient technologies that will use less energy,

require less space and need less cooling. They are also

finding management tools that will enable fewer staff

to handle a growing infrastructure. From a services

perspective, they are leveraging economies of scale to

negotiate better service contracts with providers for

everything from Internet access to break-fix equipment

maintenance agreements.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n

5


Clearly, schools and institutions can’t stand still.

As fast as technology adoption has taken hold in the

past decade, we can expect it to continue well into the

future. In the recent past the focus has been on the

types and quantity of technology. Do you have any …?

Do you have access to …? Have you deployed …? Can

you measure …? The questions in the next decade will

revolve around quality and efficiency. We will want to

measure how effective particular solutions have been

— both as they support teaching and learning, but

also as they help institutions control costs and provide

a foundation for sustainable operations.

The status quo cannot prevail. Discrete systems

performing one-off applications are not a sustainable

model. Data centers that are not using resources efficiently

are too costly to continue. IT management

systems that require intensive human interactions

are ineffective and wasteful of human resources. The

sooner educational institutions address these money

sinks, the more flexible they will become and the more

productive their use of budget dollars will be.

Key iT infrAsTrUCTUre issUes in

ACAdemiC enVironmenTs

Academic institutions must face a number of key

questions as they prepare themselves to efficiently

deliver learning tools and track operational processes

on their campuses. These questions not only involve

6 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

“sTudenTs and sTaff are noT

only allowed — They are

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personal devICes Can ConneCT To

The wIreless neTwork or They

Can auThenTICaTe and reCeIve

resourCes suCh as neTwork

drIves, prInTers, and neTwork

sofTware.”

brIan abelIng — dIreCTor of TeChnology,

wesT des moInes CommunITy sChools

support for effective pedagogy, but they involve how

academic institutions can perform all their support

functions in the most efficient manner possible. This

includes the free flow of instructional data, assessments,

process analysis and professional development

of institution personnel.

One of these issues addresses how institutions are

providing appropriate infrastructures to support

growing classroom technology needs. The IT support

staff must prepare their campuses for increased

digital content and more mobile students engaged in

online, experiential and collaborative learning.

Let’s start with access to information. In the ideal

student-centered educational world, instructional

material must be available and accessible by students

anywhere and at any time. This material should be

properly vetted for content accuracy and pertinence.

Access must be simple, secure and available from any

relevant device on the school’s network whether physically

tethered or mobile.

Campuses must also consider that the Internet is

a world filled with beauties and beasts. Let’s look at

the beauties first. In less than two decades, virtually

all the knowledge of the world has been digitized

and made freely available on the Web through very

sophisticated search engines. It is instant, current

and unfiltered. Any person can create his or her own

content and publish it virtually at no cost. Users can

discuss and analyze ideas in chat sessions from


anywhere in the world. Never has mankind been

more interconnected.

The flip side of unregulated content is that it enables

nefarious and potentially harmful information to be

distributed and can allow outright malicious attacks.

These beasts are also roaming around on the Internet

and can be found within campus intranets as well.

For this reason, academic institutions must secure access

to their data and deny access to those who would

cause harm to the institutions. Various data security

solutions are deployed to verify identity and also to

inspect devices for malware and proper levels of software.

Some of these solutions can also monitor data

transmission streams to assure campus data is secure

and that Internet resources are applied appropriately.

Additionally, K-12 schools filter Internet sites to prevent

student access to harmful material. In a more

controversial use of technology, schools and institutions

of higher education have also begun using other

types of content filtering software to monitor student

chat sessions, Facebook pages and texting sessions to

prevent cyber bullying and to protect students from

harming themselves.

Another issue that has impacted campus infrastructures

is how the campus readies itself to accommodate

online educational programs. Whether

courses are offered 100 percent online or are offered

in a blended model, campuses must provide access to

courseware, enable appropriate communication support,

provide for storage and assessments and have

these resources available 24/7. Consistent with providing

these specific technologies, schools must also

offer online support for both students and faculty so

online classes function smoothly. To provide this level

of support, schools are deploying an array of solutions

from the more traditional building of in-house systems

to outsourcing it to a service provider.

Campus infrastructures must also help schools

comply with local, state and federal guidelines and

mandates. These could involve everything from deploying

a district-wide Internet use policy in K-12 to

supporting faculty-created materials under federal

fair use guidelines. On a college campus, it could involve

compliance with homeland security, HIPAA or

FERPA mandates as well as protecting the institution

from misuse of network resources by students for

which the institution might be held liable.

To address these issues, IT departments must not

only apply services and solutions to detect, alert and

hopefully prevent nefarious activities, they must also

train users to be aware of potential threats. This

training must involve users at all levels and it be

relevant to their usage. It may involve mundane issues

like secure log-on practices or how to get help desk

support; but could also address issues as dynamic as

identity fraud, cyber snooping and the proper use of

institutional information resources.

Another area in which K-12 schools have struggled

involves “proper use” policies for student-owned

devices. The most glaring example is a school or

district attitude toward the use of a student-owned

cell phone. Many districts have taken a no-tolerance

approach whereby such devices must never be used

on campus. Others have taken a more open approach

and have encouraged students to use these devices in

classrooms to support learning activities. This debate

rages on and challenges some core beliefs around how

to teach students responsibility, how to prepare for

the 21st-century workforce and even how we decide

where and when learning can take place.

Since bandwidth can be a constrained commodity

on many campuses, IT departments must make sure

access to resources is available when needed. If not

regulated, students could overwhelm the available

bandwidth by performing activities such as downloading

movies for which the district has not provisioned.

Policies need to be created to protect learning activities

and procedures put in place to detect and control

violations. Other policies schools have instituted

involve the proper use of video surveillance on campus

— both from a safety concern and from a privacy

concern. With policies like these, academic institutions

must keep ahead of the curve in a changing technology

environment.

Enterprise architecture is yet another technology

issue campuses are dealing with today. This is an

especially vexing problem for larger higher education

institutions that contain numerous schools and colleges,

research centers, healthcare centers and special

use facilities. Many of these entities have their own

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n

7


funding and unique information resources needs. Yet,

CIOs are responsible for protecting the university

from legal harm and must comply with regulatory

mandates. They also must support efforts to control

costs. To protect the university while allowing

for individual school autonomy, universities have

instituted enterprise architecture policies whereby

the CIO can gain economies of scale for personnel,

training, purchasing power and have access to usage

information to comply with regulatory bodies. The

architecture describes the common characteristics

new technology must have, but leaves the decision on

specific purchases up to the individual entity to best

fit its needs.

The education community has long been a champion

of an eco-friendly world. They have been passing

pro-environment policies on technology for well

over a decade, including preferred purchases for

products with proven energy savings. There are two

key areas where technology can impact the environment.

One involves the more efficient use of processing

power — whereby less electricity is needed to

power computers and at the same time reduce the

heat generated from computers so less cooling is

needed. The second area of environmental impact is

in how technology software and equipment is delivered

and hardware disposed. In an attempt to make

the entire equipment cycle environment-neutral,

schools have instituted various policies, including

receiving training materials online rather than

printed, reducing the amount of packaging material,

and following responsible disposal procedures

when the product is obsolete.

In these tight economic times, finding funding to

pay for technology infrastructure is challenging for

most educational institutions whether public or private,

higher education or K-12. Bonds for new construction

or building renovation are tougher to pass.

As a result, schools are becoming more creative.

Technology infrastructure consortia and partnering

initiatives are newly arrived on the scene. These

entities are pooling resources and sharing in the

collective whole to make ends meet. Partnering

examples take on many forms and include private/

public initiatives to share Internet access in rural

8 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

areas, school district and college consortia to share

applications and leverage purchasing power, and

town and gown initiatives that combine resources

of local schools, governments or hospitals to share

infrastructure services and technical support. These

efforts are surely driven by reduced budgets, but

they are only made possible by the more scalable and

flexible technologies available today.

Another funding issue for academic institutions is

how to pay for enhancements to the infrastructure

so they can support a learner-based curriculum.

In many cases instructional programs are funded

through grants or special funding initiatives, but the

necessary infrastructure enhancements to support

them are not. In higher education that could impact

offering more online courses featuring lecture capture

and HD video streaming. It could impact the

rollout of highly interactive onsite labs that utilize

rich media. Examples in K-12 could include Race to

the Top initiatives which place a heavy emphasis on

integrating longitudinal data systems into the classroom

for data-driven learning. Other examples might

involve curriculum-based initiatives such as those

supporting STEM education that leverage technology

to provide engaging lessons and require online

measures to assess student progress. In these situations

schools can be challenged to find the money to

enhance the infrastructure so the program can be

deployed properly.


GenerAl besT prACTiCes

It is important that institutions adhere to tried and

true best practices when undertaking new IT initiatives.

These best practices include:

• Start with a good plan

• Form success criteria

• Establish active executive leadership

• Obtain user involvement in goals and processes

• Define objectives to be attained

• Analyze alternatives and get a broad spectrum of

possible solutions

Options for Tight Budgets

The problem

this special report as well as others in the series discuss

a good deal about how newer technologies are providing

improved learning opportunities and increased efficiencies.

But school districts and colleges are under tight budget

pressures and leaders may feel that they do not have funding

to take advantage of these technologies — even if they can

save money in the long term. leaders may be thinking, “at a

time when we are struggling to keep the lights on and retain

teaching staff, how can we expect to buy new equipment,

services and applications?”

The solUTions

educational organizations are opening up their funding options

by looking at alternative ways to take advantage of technology

now and pay for the results over time. Past practices in many

institutions of purchasing technology and running it in house

may not fit today’s needs and budgets. schools must consider

today’s technical and economic realities when deciding how

to best provide technology for their institutions.

sharing the costs — Many educational institutions are

looking at sharing the costs through consortia with other

entities and using a cloud (see “What is the cloud?” on page

17.) to deliver services to their campuses. this approach

is being adopted by states (Kentucky and oregon) for their

schools as well as by more local initiatives underway among

and between schools, colleges, healthcare entities, local

governments and elements of the private sector. these

initiatives enable participants to contribute time, resources

and expertise to benefit the whole while keeping startup and

recurring costs low.

• Observe comparable implementations

• Define the desired solution

• Write the implementation plan

• Don’t skimp on training

• Start with a pilot to test assumptions

• Get user participation in the process

• Stick to the plan

• When acceptable, expand the rollout

• Maintain executive leadership throughout the

wider rollout

• Continue to take user feedback and adjust as needed

leasing — another option to look at is leasing. When a school

decides that it wants to possess and operate its equipment and

services, it can acquire it over time through a leasing program.

With interest rates at historic lows and vendors anxious to meet

sales targets, many will help schools finance technology at very

attractive terms through one of several leasing options. another

benefit to leasing is that for a set recurring expense, technology

can be kept fresh. When the lease runs out, the newer solution

can be put in place under a renewed leasing plan.

outsourcing — a third way educational institutions are

benefiting from new technology while not breaking the bank

is to outsource the solution to a third party. not only can this

get a campus up and running sooner (thus realizing benefits

sooner) it may be less expensive as well. schools would only

purchase services that they use. they could also benefit from

economies of scale that service providers can attain when

they pool large numbers of users so that overhead is kept

low and operational expertise is kept high. cloud technology

is opening the door for more outsourcing options every day.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n

9


The Living

Network

The components of infrastructure are complex and hidden from any day-to-day person’s view of

how a campus runs. In order to help understand the various components of what makes up a

typical campus infrastructure, we have taken recognizable careers and associated them with the

functions of the various back-end functions of a campus. we hope that this “living network” brings

clarity to the importance infrastructure has in keeping a campus functioning smoothly.

telecommunication systems

are the receptionists of

the infrastructure. Much

like receptionists receive

and send messages to

the appropriate person,

telecommunication systems

transmit messages sent

over long distances to the

appropriate channel.

10 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

networking systems are

the mail carriers of the

infrastructure. Much

like mail carriers deliver

letters and packages to

recipients, networking

systems help deliver services

and applications to the

appropriate area on campus.


teachers represent unified

communications within the

infrastructure. Much like teachers

bring together a classroom and instruct

students via various teaching styles,

unified communications integrate data,

voice and video communications onto

one platform.

an intellectual is like the data center of the

infrastructure. Much like intellectuals have

a lot of information in their minds that they

write down for safe keeping, data centers

house computer systems and components

and backup the stored data.

security systems are the police

officer of the infrastructure. Much

like police officers keep citizens

safe and out of harm’s way,

security systems protect sensitive

data and prevent against attacks

to the system such as spamming

and phishing.

it help and support systems are like the doctors

of the infrastructure. Much like doctors provide

assistance to the sick and help cure sickness,

it help and support systems identify when an

issue has occurred with a system and either

provide a solution or notify the appropriate it

personnel of the issue.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 11


TeChnoloGy CATeGories for K-12

And hiGher edUCATion

In the sections below we will address various educational

infrastructure components. We have separated

these technologies into functional categories and

quite often they are implemented in just this manner.

However, many technology providers offer combined

or unified solutions that cross functional descriptions.

Where useful we will point these out. As with previous

Special Reports, our focus is on how these technologies

are deployed and how the campus benefits from them.

TeleCommUniCATions And

inTerneT serViCes

All educational institutions must be connected to

the world at large. That includes access to telecommunications

services like traditional voice as well as Internet

services to support the vast array of video and

data needs required to perform business functions

and support learning activities on campus. Not many

years ago the average K-12 school had a few telephone

lines in the school; these phones were typically found

in the administrative office, guidance office, nurse’s

station, faculty room and athletics office. Telephone

communication was not common in classrooms. That

is no longer the case. In a desire to encourage better

communication and to offer more safety, most classrooms

have voice services. This has been spurred by

12 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

“we are CurrenTly In desIgn of

our seCond hIgh sChool whICh we

hope To make energy neuTral and

have keyless seCurITy plus wIreless

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Jay sT. John — former superInTendenT of sChools,

sahuarITa unIfIed sChool dIsTrICT #30

advances in technology that make communications

more functional, flexible and cost effective. As a result,

most school campuses have increased their telephone

circuits to meet this added load.

At the same time, cell phones have hit all campuses.

Both students and staff use these phones whenever

allowed and as necessary. Except for particular

administrative personnel, they are generally not paid

for by the district but they are an important part of

overall campus communications.

In higher education cell phones have not only

changed the way students communicate on and off

campus, they have seriously impacted the revenue

stream most college campuses rely on to fund technology

projects. Until a few years ago it was these charges

for student telephone, long distance and voicemail

services in residence halls that funded many of the IT

projects for the school. Now that students carry their

own cell phones they will no longer pay for residence

hall phone services.

Some colleges have found a replacement service.

They are offering cable TV services to the rooms, but

that revenue stream may also be in jeopardy as more

direct TV and video services are accessible online.

As a result, colleges are in a quandary. They must

offer more ubiquitous service across the campus but

are finding they are losing their traditional funding

sources. A new area where some universities are finding

financial support is with cell phone service providers.

They are negotiating with these providers to

install cell towers on campus so students get better

service, the service providers get better coverage and

the school gets financial assistance — a win, win, win.

Internet access is at the core of all on-campus communications.

Every day the demand for greater access


and greater bandwidth grows for every educational

entity. This growth must keep apace as more students

and teachers utilize online resources in their learning

but also as digital content becomes richer. That

means it is more interactive, has a higher resolution

and involves more video components. Tracking and

managing usage is a critical IT management function.

Schools have a choice of service providers. Some

specialize by offering only a particular service,

whereas others bundle services. Likewise there are

various ways these providers can deliver services to

the campus. These options could include wired or

cabled service from a telecommunications provider

that may or may not bundle voice, data and video

services. They could be served over a fiber optic

link offered by an alternative service provider. In

K-12, hosted services are being provided in a similar

fashion over a private network to support a group

of schools or districts. Yet another mode of service

delivery is provided by a metropolitan area carrier

that distributes service wirelessly throughout the

campus. This broadband service is referred to as

WiMax and can support communications for up to

10 miles or more.

In higher education the larger universities banded

together long ago to create a better Internet for their

research institutions. Over time a number of initiatives

have led to the development of a private Internet2

network of these interconnected institutions. Using

“admInIsTraTors are usIng Cell

phones for day-To-day aCTIvITIes;

all phones have InTerneT aCCess so

reCords Can be vIewed aT any TIme.”

ken Clark — dIsTrICT TeChnology CoordInaTor, bonner sprIngs/

edwardsvIlle sChool dIsTrICT usd #204

state-of-the-art technology, Internet2 is managed by

the university consortia and funded through institution

resources. Other higher education institutions are

invited to join and participate in Internet2 support.

The next element of campus infrastructure is the

cable, wire and fiber distribution system. This hard

wiring enables the physical connectivity to external

services within the campus. It also provides connections

to other entities on campus. Even the ubiquitous

WiFi wireless connections are supported by a network

of access points that need cabling for data connectivity

and power. The typical school or campus building

will have miles of wiring and cabling aggregated to

wiring closets where they are managed and connected

to electronic devices. These electronic devices

could include switches, modems and uninterruptable

power supply (UPS) units that ensure power to these

electronic devices so the network will remain viable

24/7 and even through short power outages.

Cabling from these closets to classrooms is generally

Category 5 or 6 copper wire. However, the interconnection

cabling between closets and the data center

could be either copper or fiber optic to accommodate

higher speeds and greater distances. It can be quite

expensive to cable a building, however the major

costs are in the labor to run the cables through walls,

ceiling and underground. Furthermore, cabling will

be in place for decades so you must think ahead and

allow for lots of growth both in bandwidth as well

as accesses. When installing cabling be sure to build

the cabling infrastructure robustly before walls are

in place. Install higher-rated capacity cabling and

run additional conduit between buildings so you save

on labor later. Relatively speaking, cabling is cheap;

labor is not. A good cabling infrastructure can support

evolving future needs simply by upgrading the

attached electronic networking components.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 13


Of course campuses also connect in a wireless

fashion as well. The most heavily utilized technology

for classroom use today is WiFi wireless. Almost

every computing device today has a WiFi connection

built into it. These computers connect to the campus

network through WiFi access points strategically

positioned to address user needs and distance considerations.

There will be more on WiFi when we discuss

networking systems later on in the report.

To connect school sites across distances up to 20

miles, newer radio devices can transmit at high speeds

in a point to point fashion. The beauty of this solution

is that it does not require line of site to be effective.

Trees, hills and tall buildings will not impede this

connectivity. Large districts and multiple campus

colleges have found this broadband solution quite effective

to consolidate their communications at a sustainable

cost. More traditionally, microwave has been

yet another wireless technology that has tied remote

buildings or campuses together when trenching to run

cable was not feasible. Microwave can be a relatively

inexpensive high-bandwidth solution as long as there

is line of sight between the locations. Since microwave

bands are FCC regulated, there is an application process

to get clearance to use the bandwidth. There may

also be local regulations on its usage as well.

Wireless is enabling an additional level of mobility

for schools. Districts are equipping their school buses

14 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

with WiFi access for students who must travel great

distances for school. This logical extension of the

classroom can help students make better use of the

hours spent on school buses each day.

When it comes to service connections, there is help for

K-12 schools. The federal E-rate program will subsidize

the costs of providing telecommunications and Internet

services through a discount. That discount ranges

from 90 percent to 20 percent and is calculated on the

school or district’s level of participation in the federal

free and reduced lunch program. The E-Rate program

has been in place since 1996; there is currently a revised

E-Rate 2.0 bill before Congress. Among its provisions

are proposals that could increase broadband funding

by $2.25B a year and extend telecommunications services

to community colleges. There are other proposals

before Congress that could improve student access to

Internet resources including a proposal to provide all

middle school students with access to the Internet from

their homes. This could impact remote access support

for middle schools as more students enter the school’s

learning management system from home.

TeleCommUniCATions sysTems

For years the heart of a campus telecommunications

system was the PBX. This voice distribution system

connected phones to the network and provided voicemail

service for staff, faculty and students. Although

single-function PBX systems are still found in many

campuses today, they are being replaced by Voice over

IP (VoIP) systems. VoIP systems run voice applications

over the campus data network. They are served from

a server running data protocols which enable integration

with other technologies including data and video.

They can be provisioned and connected to campus

e-mail, voicemail and other services much more cost

effectively than standalone PBX technologies. The

benefit to the school is greater flexibility, simpler man-

“we are movIng To voIp phones In

all loCaTIons In The dIvIsIon To

reduCe phone expenses.”

lynn brIggs — exeCuTIve dIreCTor for eduCaTIonal servICes,

Isle of wIghT CounTy sChools


“The new voICe over Ip soluTIon

has InCreased The sCalabIlITy of

Call dIsTrIbuTIon and Improved

funCTIonalITy and reporTIng.

we are CurrenTly explorIng The

addITIon of an InTerneT ‘ChaT’

CapabIlITy for The InformaTIon

CenTer and help desk.”

rIChard andersen — vICe presIdenT for InformaTIon sysTems,

TIdewaTer CommunITy College

agement and the opportunity to unify applications for

more effective user control.

However, replacing a voice-only PBX system with a

totally new VoIP system can be expensive and complex.

It involves — among other things — re-training

users, re-provisioning the cabling infrastructure,

adding power sources to cable distribution closets

and upgrading the data network to accommodate this

new traffic. For these reasons most schools have taken

a gradual approach when upgrading to a unified

communications platform. Some have opted to hold

onto their PBX cabinet and phone sets and merely

add new electronics so the existing PBX can support

VoIP handsets with new VoIP features. This hybrid

approach eliminates the cost of replacing handsets

and allows a more measured migration to full VoIP

over time. Under this strategy new construction or

renovation sites get full VoIP technologies while

existing sites get moved when money and time allow.

There are other specialized communications systems

on campuses. One in ubiquitous use is the push-to-talk

communication system that is especially prevalent

in security and services functions. Although some

institutions have gone to using cell phones for some of

their personnel, this specialized ‘walkie-talkie’-like

communication system is very effective for instant

communication to individuals and especially for groups

of individuals. Increasingly these radio systems are

being integrated into campus unified communication

platforms so key personnel and services can always be

reached when needed.

Another traditional voice application supported

on campuses today is voicemail. Today’s voicemail

is a service provided by a customized server that has

evolved over the years to provide not only message

services but also a plethora of additional features

and services. These new enhanced services include

automated call routing and intelligent call distribution

that takes the skill set of call handlers (like languages)

into consideration when distributing calls.

Technology plays an important role in responding

to emergencies. E911 services alert first responders

precisely where on campus emergency help is needed.

In a similar vein, a campus alert system can notify

students and staff as well as parents that there is an

emergency on campus. Effective campus alert systems

take advantage of a common communications platform

to send alerts in all the ways people communicate

— text, voice, e-mail and broadcast messages to

cell and desktop phones, computers, digital signage,

emergency responder radios and campus media.

neTworKinG sysTems

Campus networking infrastructures have entered a

converged world. What is meant by that is most campus

infrastructures deliver services and applications

using a common communication protocol regardless

of the communication’s content. This Internet

protocol (IP) method of sending data over a network

has become the de facto standard for data, voice and

video applications. It is also the standard for delivering

these communications on campus whether they

15


“we have a full 10 gb fIber

opTIC baCkbone ThaT allows us

The flexIbIlITy and relIabIlITy

needed To supporT a varIeTy of

web applICaTIons, servers and Ip

Cameras.”

sergIo sosa — IT speCIalIsT, TornIllo IndependenT

sChool dIsTrICT

are over wire or are delivered wirelessly. Key benefits

to this approach include the ability to use one communication

infrastructure to pass all communication

applications thus making implementation simpler,

cheaper and more flexible. At the same time, this

single architecture allows for more efficient management

and security. Schools must have this converged

communication delivery system if they are to control

costs and more easily accommodate both today’s and

tomorrow’s services and applications.

School users can be connected wired or wirelessly

to appropriate resources. Wired solutions can involve

fiber optical connections for high-bandwidth uses

within a data center or to support building-to-building

connections. Most in-building wiring is copper.

Regardless of fiber or copper, networking components

generally operate at speeds ranging from 10Gbps per

second in the data center to 100Mbps to the user. Network

switches that provide this connectivity offer high

levels of access control and user authentication to protect

networks from inappropriate use. They also offer

varying levels of monitoring and management control

to help detect problems and perform fixes. More on

network security and management can be found below.

Wired networking systems truly are the backbone

of the institution. Even when wireless services are

deployed on campus, most often they are connected to

and dependent upon the wired network. As discussed

previously, today’s more sophisticated wired network

offers connectivity for converged applications from

a wide variety of devices. They have been adapted to

perform other tasks as well to make converged communications

effective. For instance, not all communications

traffic can be treated the same. Voice and video

16 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

traffic is more time sensitive than pure data traffic.

As such, when network resources get overwhelmed,

the network must prioritize traffic to provide the best

level of service for all. This is referred to as Quality of

Service (QoS). This traffic prioritization can also involve

differentiating between types of users, types of

traffic and time of day. Good networks are configured

and managed in such a way that they contain costs by

maximizing fixed resources while providing acceptable

levels of service to their users.

An example where this can be critical is when a student

who has some free time between classes decides

to use the campus wireless network to download a

30-minute video. The student could be just outside a science

lab in which highly interactive and high-definition

images are being transmitted over the same wireless

access point he has just logged onto. Proper network

support would prioritize the lab uses over the casual

user so proper classroom resources are maintained.

Another key aspect of networking devices is

their ability to provide power to desktop and other

termination connections. This technology is known as

Power over Ethernet (PoE) and is very important in

controlling electrical installation costs and operational

costs. With PoE telephone handsets, wireless access

points, surveillance cameras and other such devices

can receive their power over the same simple data

wiring that connects them to the campus network. Some

network devices can be configured to manage this power


distribution for efficiency in the same way they manage

the data traffic over the network. In this way, the power

to connected devices can be turned off or put into a

sleep mode based upon time of day, day of the week or it

could be throttled similar to the way monitors are put to

sleep when idle for long periods of time.

Video deliVery sysTems

Collaboration in learning has spurred growth

in video streaming. On-demand sessions from Web

conferencing applications put students in touch with

collaborators and learning opportunities anywhere

in the world. Virtual field trips are commonplace.

They are effective and very inexpensive. Likewise

this technology is providing a richer experience for

mentors who can answer questions remotely while

showing solutions as they talk.

Video objects embedded in online resources are an

integral part of today’s digital content. Flash video

technology, as well as full production HD video, can

be integrated into lessons, assignments and reports.

The network must be prepared to accommodate this

reality since this can put a strain on the networking

infrastructure.

Unified CommUniCATions

Just as the cabling and wireless infrastructure

is converging, so are the applications that run over

these conveyances. Generally known as unified communications,

today’s communications applications

are being integrated onto a common platform for

greater functionality and easier usability. Furthermore,

when data, voice and video communications are

integrated they can enable immediate collaboration

sessions using rich documentation and instantaneous

access. These are crucial in an educational environment

where students learn through collaboration and

instructors collaborate on research and lessons for

the classroom.

Components of unified messaging systems include

all of the traditional telephony voice features we

have become familiar with as well as data and video

features such as e-mail, instant messaging, presence

and video sessions from Web cameras all from the same

screen. Unified communications can be accommodated

“beaver CounTy Is upgradIng ITs

voICe and daTa CommunICaTIons

InfrasTruCTure. The upgrade

InCludes addITIonal fIber baCkbone

To provIde redundanCy and To

Improve sysTem performanCe. all

sTaTIon CablIng has been upgraded

To CaT6e sTandard.”

walTer lukhaup - vICe presIdenT of InformaTIon TeChnology,

CommunITy College of beaver CounTy

from enhanced digital handsets, computers, netbooks

and other multimedia devices connected to

the network. A simple click of a mouse can launch a

call or application. Users can know the availability

of any pre-identified person they wish to collaborate

with from the dashboard on the screen. The system

does all the dialing and protocol negotiation for each

session. Setting up a conference call using video and

sharing screenshots can be as simple as drag, drop

and click.

Another benefit to unified communications is the

ability to share information across platforms. Voicemail

messages can be seen as an e-mail and vice versa. Even

if a telephone is not capable of accessing e-mail, the

message can be voiced or a user can listen to a voicemail

message through a laptop or other multi-media device.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 17


This unified capability is also important for students

who may be remote from campus. Students that are

overseas or in the military can use a unified communications

platform to connect, collaborate and communicate

in real time with students anywhere. They can video

conference and share desktop screens with their peers

to resemble an interactive classroom environment.

As more institutions implement unified platforms,

they can also benefit from unified contacts. One example

is the single number access. No matter how you want

to communicate with someone, you only dial a single

phone number. The system will answer that number and

provide access to a bevy of options to talk live, leave a

voicemail message, or send a fax or even to set up a TTD

session for those who are hearing impaired. Another

benefit is the ability to check for all messages in only one

place. This feature consolidates voice and e-mail messages

so they can be seen or heard from one screen.

Yet another unified application that is particularly

useful on college campuses is the ability to message

students and faculty from the unified platform. As

mentioned earlier, this is useful for emergency situations,

but it is also beneficial for everyday applications.

Students can be messaged about upcoming events,

reminded about payments and updated about advisor

meetings and other appointments. Faculty can be kept

abreast of a number of group calendar events as well

as individual notifications.

18 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

dATA CenTers

Technology has taken major leaps in cost savings

and functionality over the past few years. No

place has seen greater change than the data center.

Traditionally, each software application needed its

own server to process data and run the application.

That meant each server had to be separately provisioned,

monitored and maintained. Each device

needed to address peak demands as well as offer

redundancy to prevent downtime. Furthermore,

servers were often deployed closer to the user

rather than in a centralized data center to off-load

networking demands and keep costly connectivity

services in check.

That model is changing rapidly. Distributed clusters

of data processing, whether by building, department

or by remote campus locations cannot scale to meet

evolving educational needs. In higher education, it is

becoming increasingly more evident that an integrated

and strategic consolidation of the data processing infrastructure

is essential for efficient management and

cost reduction. Likewise, in K-12 districts, computing

resources are becoming more centralized to leverage

processing power and to stretch the district’s limited

human IT resources.

Today’s high-speed processor — combined with

high-density storage and more robust networking

systems — allow for this consolidation and centralization.

Furthermore, improved system management

techniques and systems enable IT staff to more

effectively manage this consolidated data center with

a common set of tools. What makes this all work is a

commitment by the institution to a greater adherence

to industry standards for interoperability.

As institutions are consolidating and centralizing,

they are taking advantage of new technology that

keeps costs down while providing the flexibility institutions

need to address the expanding and evolving

computing power on their campuses. One primary

way they are doing this is with data center virtualization

in which servers provide processing for more than

one application at a time so that servers can exercise

greater efficiency.

As mentioned previously, software applications used

to require their own servers. Even though on average


only 15 percent of the server’s processing power was

utilized, the entire device must be reserved for that

one application. When you multiply that level of processor

inefficiency across 30, 50 or more applications

you can see how processing capacity is being wasted.

What specifically is being wasted? At 15 percent efficiency,

seven times the number of servers must be

What is the Cloud?

one of the hottest topics of discussion in data centers recently

has been the cloud. the term comes from the old

cloud graphical representations of the internet to which the

campus networks connected. the cloud concept defines

how applications are delivered from a set of virtual services

and devices to the user over the network. this is becoming

an increasingly viable solution as data centers consolidate

and shared server applications more economically harness

the processing power.

the u.s. national institute of standards and technology

(nist) has identified five key attributes of cloud computing:

it should provide on-demand services, allow ubiquitous

network service, offer pay for use, have elastic scalability

and provide for resource pooling.

there are two ways in which the cloud can be offered. one

is referred to as a public cloud in which the internet delivers

services from a specialized service provider. that provider

could be an application provider or it could be a traditional

services provider like a telecommunications company or

systems integrator. this public cloud has the potential to

offer the most economical solutions because it can leverage

a large base of users.

the second type of cloud is a private cloud. this is where

the institution itself (or possibly a consortium of institutions)

provides these services to their users. this requires

that the it department do all the provisioning and management

while they leverage economies of scale to make

this an efficient and effective solution. a major reason why

institutions are considering the private cloud is the level of

control it affords them. they can react to changing campus

needs while feeling more assured they are addressing security

and privacy concerns.

bought, powered, cooled, racked, maintained, monitored,

secured, programmed and provisioned. This

can add up to big dollars for equipment, energy,

building space and operational management.

Data Center Virtualization — Data center virtualization

is growing rapidly. The vendor community is

offering a number of approaches to help in this change.

this cloud technology has come at a good time for schools

that are struggling to keep up with managing an ever-growing

number of systems and applications. the cloud allows

schools to farm out specific applications to third-party providers

who have the resources to more efficiently manage

the solutions. these cloud providers simply deliver the services

and they take care of the servers, storage, software

and security involved with the applications.

the cloud helps level the playing field for smaller entities. for

instance, smaller schools can now have the same ability to

provide enhanced services that previously only larger schools

could afford. By subscribing to cloud-fed services, these

smaller schools can achieve economies of scale they could

never reach if they had to rely on only their own resources.

another benefit for schools of all sizes is the ability to pay

as they grow. cloud-based services eliminate the guessing

game. no longer would they need to over-buy servers,

storage and other infrastructure components as they try to

anticipate growth. this is important when there is a long

procurement cycle or difficulty getting capital budgeting.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 19


A review of education infrastructure bids over the last

couple of years indicate that although larger institutions

often will take this on themselves, many are turning

to trusted vendors to transform their data centers.

One approach is to turn over the data center infrastructure

operations to an outsourced third party. Some

larger research institutions are taking this approach.

This solution leverages virtual processing to consolidate

the work being done while leveraging expertise of the solution

provider. It allows the school IT personnel to focus

on providing applications support and not worry about

maintaining the data center infrastructure. In a similar

vein, larger institutions are outsourcing less critical applications

such as student e-mail while maintaining faculty

and staff e-mail in-house.

Another approach is to have the school’s IT management

select from a group of best-of-breed providers

to address server, security, storage, and networking

needs for their campus. This approach gives the

institution the greatest flexibility, but puts a heavy

burden on the IT staff to implement and support

disparate systems as they virtualize their environment.

If an institution decides it wants to take this

hands-on approach, it is particularly important that

they formulate an implementation plan that addresses

growth, flexibility and adherence to standards. They

also must address how they will continually maintain

these systems once implemented.

20 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

A third approach is to select a solution set that is

provided by a single vendor that can address all elements

in a turnkey fashion. This approach can reduce

interoperability issues as well as limit management

and flexibility concerns. However, if this approach is

taken it is important that the solutions follow industry

standards so that simple interoperability with legacy

or future systems is not compromised.

K-12 schools are following a similar set of options.

What leaders are also considering is how to leverage

the collected resources of a group of districts to reduce

overall costs while providing enhanced services

to their districts. This collectivization of resources

might not only involve other school districts, but also

nearby community colleges and local governmental

entities. What this can bring to mid-sized and smaller

districts is the economies of scale that will allow them

to reduce operational costs in a manner that would be

difficult to do as they are tasked to provide enhanced

services for their schools. One issue schools, colleges

and agencies must face when agreeing to this partnering

is how they can silo data within this virtual

environment so that it is secure and private. There are

good data security options available that operate on

virtual platforms to allow this to happen.

Application Software — Once we have the data center

hardware and delivery system in place we must

address the software that runs applications on that

infrastructure. Going back as far as the mainframe

days, campus applications were often homegrown.

As the educational market has matured over the last

decade or so, more software vendors have created

packages especially for the needs of this market. As

a result, applications are now available and ready for

delivery from a collection of education software providers.

These solutions can save a district or institution

time and money as that school launches new or

improved applications on its campus. These packaged

solutions provide an institution a turnkey application

that requires only limited alteration to meet the

school’s particular needs, which speeds delivery and

provides proven outcomes.

Another approach many institutions have taken to

save money and gain flexibility is to use open source

software. They leverage this no cost software and have


their IT staff create the institution’s applications inhouse.

Quite often in these situations institutions will

augment their staff’s programming efforts with applications

prepared by third-party providers whether

from for-profit companies or from “freeware” consortia.

It must be understood that although open source

software is frequently referred to as “freeware” it is

not totally free. There are costs to apply, integrate and

operate this software that must be calculated into the

decision to go this route.

Storage — We know that 21st-century education

is driven by data. Up until now we have addressed

how it is accessed, processed and distributed. Another

critical component is data storage. Data storage

is becoming one of the fastest growing elements

of any IT manager’s list of concerns. By many accounts

data storage on campuses is growing over 50

percent each year.

There are many reasons for this growth. One reason

is the increasing use of digital content in learning

as more instructors are gaining comfort in using it.

Another is that digital content involves a growing use

of rich media including HD video, MPEG and audio

files that need more storage. STEM applications are

particularly storage intensive since they often involve

these sorts of rich media including X-rays for medical

students, 3-D for virtual labs and HD video for capturing

field observations. Another reason is the need to

store more student records including projects and assessments.

Schools are retaining more student records,

including projects and assessments, and are keeping

increasing amounts of data to comply with legislation,

including HIPAA and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

There are a number of solutions deployed on campuses

today to meet this growing need. Acronyms abound.

SANs are storage area networks in which storage

capacity is shared among a number of connected

storage devices. NASs are network attached storage

systems in which the network provides servers access

to the storage devices. CASs are content addressable

storage systems that more efficiently store data that

does not change over time.

But storage must be intelligent to be useful. Institutions

must store data in a way that is secure and

easily accessible. That means policies must be in place

that limit access to sensitive data while making allowable

data easily searchable for simple retrieval.

Good storage solutions also involve the smart use of

processing and storage capacity so schools can stretch

their storage hardware investments. One such solution

is called deduplication. Deduplication eliminates

duplicated files or files with repetitive data in them.

Examples could include three versions of the same

presentation saved under different names, school logos

at the bottom of every presentation document, or

the multiple times the same video file is stored by an

entire class of students. Some estimates suggest that

up to 90 percent of all education stored files contain

duplications. Good deduplication practices can save

terabytes of storage, improve data access times and

increase overall storage efficiency.

Storage solutions must also be available to students

and staff from any of the ubiquitous devices they use.

This includes handhelds, netbooks, and cell phones as

well as desktops. Security and search characteristics

must be independent of access method. Parents and

school officials as well as students should have simple

access to relevant data on student progress.

Another important storage function involves capture

and archiving of data from surveillance cameras.

IP cameras are a low-cost way to provide an added

level of security while providing visual evidence

should it be needed. This data can be isolated from

other stored data for more effective use of storage

resources. There will be more on supporting video

surveillance later in this paper.

Virtual Desktop — Probably the biggest area where

virtualization is making headway is in the area of

desktop virtualization. The technology is known by

a number of names with slight variations in connotation,

but generally it involves a thin client approach

to delivering applications to the desktop. By this we

mean that application software resides on a central

processor in a data center. The user’s device merely

provides connectivity to the server and presents the

application on its screen. Benefits of this approach include

simplified management, greater device support,

less operational expense, simpler security, more efficient

data storage and back up and lower application

software costs.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 21


Desktop virtualization also benefits from savings

and efficiencies offered by data center virtualization. It

can be delivered from a school-owned infrastructure or

from a data center located off campus that uses shared

resources. It is this later implementation that has introduced

the term ‘cloud’ because the desktop is actually

run from remote data center applications accessed

over the Internet. True cloud applications are agnostic

to desktop operating systems and storage capacities.

All the desktop device needs is Internet access and the

ability to display data visually and aurally as needed.

This can be a boon to schools and institutions who

are struggling to maintain operating software on all

institution desktop devices or are trying to deploy

more computing devices for students in classrooms.

A virtualized desktop environment creates the same

look and feel regardless of device because the screen

image and system operation comes from software

residing on the data center server not on the specific

desktop device. Furthermore, once the session is over,

any data viewed on that device is wiped from the

device. This prevents data from inadvertently falling

into the wrong hands. Additionally, when files are

stored, they are saved on storage at the data center,

not on the user’s device. There will be no more “the

dog ate my homework” type of lost data because the

student can access his or her stored work from any

device that has access to the virtual network.

22 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

Desktop virtualization or cloud technologies have

another very important benefit. In shared environments

like university campuses, they create a new

opportunity for schools to parse out computing support

functions for bill back. For example, data center

services charge backs could be more easily assigned

to address the level of usage, number of applications,

level of customizable support, usage of help desk and

usage of storage.

Another very important benefit is particularly seen

in K-12 districts where money to buy new computers

is scarce. Desktop virtualization allows schools to

repurpose computers that are up to 10 years old because

virtualization does not require that the device

have newer operating systems or memory to support

current applications. That means that old PCs and

other hardware can be used in the virtual environment

to provide users with the same look and feel as

with current generation hardware. This equality of

experience is particularly helpful in the education

process when students regularly use multiple devices

during the course of the day or week. In general,

desktop virtualization allows applications to run consistently

without users being concerned about how

or why — they can focus on the learning experience.

Some schools have even seen virtualization as a way

to enable students to use their own computing devices

to support their learning. Not only will this stretch

the IT dollar, it can more effectively direct students to

school-provisioned and supported resources.

Virtualized desktops are being implemented on college

campuses as well. For much of the same reasons

stated above, schools want their students to have a

consistent experience while maintaining campus data

security. Virtualized desktops allow those schools to

more efficiently deploy applications and limit training

efforts for students and faculty who possess a plethora

of computing devices.

The FCC has recently added their support for virtualization.

In a ruling earlier this year, the FCC identified

virtualization software as an E-rate fundable

technology.

The Web — Every entity today needs a website

and educational institutions are no exception. Not

only is it the window from which the world can peer


“wsCC has onlIne resourCes To

assIsT In TraCkIng sTudenTs and

TheIr progress. These Tools allow

our sTudenT servICes Team To

InTeraCT wITh faCulTy and work To

assIsT sTudenTs who are beComIng

parT of The aT-rIsk populaTIon.”

Joe sargenT — InTerIm dIreCTor of InformaTIon and

eduCaTIonal TeChnologIes, walTers sTaTe CommunITy College

into what is going on within, but it can be an effective

outreach tool to recruit students, explain philosophies,

gain supporters and present achievements.

The institution’s website is the first place people look

to get information on the institution. It is important

that this site be exciting, full of current and relevant

information and be easy to navigate. Excitement is

created with visuals and video links that can put the

viewer at the school in a way that pure text cannot.

The IT department has the responsibility to maintain

the school’s website. To do the best job possible

it must leverage content from available academic,

athletic and other activities to keep a fresh look and

feel. Some have likened the school website to a job

resume. You want to quickly showcase your best stuff

and entice the audience to look deeper for more.

The market has a variety of resources for schools

and institutions to put up an exciting website. Most

large entities take this job on themselves and have

built their own Web infrastructure. However, for

smaller entities where IT resources are strapped, an

effective Web presence can be achieved through a variety

of options from pre-packaged ready-to-use tools

to outright outsourcing. There is a solution that can

meet any budget.

Another aspect to Web presence is to provide Web

portals for students, staff and parents to access

campus resources from wherever they may be. Web

portals must be secure and provide access to all required

relevant data. This is an important function

within IT support.

Yet another set of communication tools are the technologies

lumped under the term Web 2.0. These include

social networking technologies, podcasts, blogs, wikis

and forums as examples. More and more institutional

websites are providing portals to support these forms

of communication. Students like this interactivity and

faculty have found them to be an exciting and more

personal way to engage both students and parents.

seCUriTy sysTems

Schools must address security in a couple of ways.

One is physical security, the second is data security.

Both aspects can be effectively addressed by sound

IT practices.

Physical Security — Campuses must be safe environments.

In the last decade we have seen how

technology has enhanced safety in a number of ways.

One is with the wide deployment of video surveillance

cameras. These cameras have become inexpensive

and they attach directly to the campus IT networking

infrastructure to ensure their operational costs are

kept low. Campus security can have eyes where and

when there are not personnel available. Cameras can

pan to follow action and all recordings can be automatically

archived for future review.

Along with video cameras, campuses have implemented

audio support systems as well. Call boxes,

speaker systems and alarm systems can support

emergency calls for help. Campus security personnel

are armed with specialized handheld radios that

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 23


put them in instantaneous communication with the

campus security control center and with area police and

fire. These devices carry transmissions that are isolated

from standard phone traffic so channels are free for this

purpose alone. This is crucial for emergency responders.

Emergency notification is an application that is

closely tied to campus security functions. Either as a

standalone application or as a part of an integrated

unified communications solution, students, staff and

security personnel can be notified when an event

occurs and told the appropriate actions to take.

Notification can be in the form of a broadcast voice

announcement, text to cell phones, e-mail, instant

message or whatever is most appropriate for the user.

Systems that support this function must be kept current

and tested so the institution is confident they are

effective and users understand how it works.

Campuses have also instituted a number of electronic

systems that regulate parking and building

access, and access to library resources. These security

systems often ride over the campus IT infrastructure

and must be supported by the IT staff.

Data Integrity and Security — Data integrity and

security are more important today than they have

ever been before. A key concern for a campus IT

manager is to keep data secure and private because

not only are educational decisions increasingly being

made based upon this data, but personal informa-

24 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

tion about students, faculty and staff are held there

as well. Data security breaches are organized and

profitable. These attacks come from outside as well

as inside the campus firewalls. This is an increasing

problem for IT staffs as tight budgets have reduced

resources while more sophisticated attacks are assaulting

campus databases.

Some of the most prevalent attacks involve personal

information like social security numbers, credit card

information, addresses and other such data that will

enable thieves to steal identities. Spamming, phishing

and other such malware attack practices are common

methods to gather this information. The good

news is that there are solutions available today from

data security companies that can help contain these

threats. Through a combination of software, firmware

and special-purposed appliances, traffic flows can be

scanned for irregularities. Those irregularities can

then be trapped and quarantined as alerts are sent to

IT management for proper adjudication. To be effective,

threats must be dealt with in real time in order

to mitigate possible areas of attack before they strike.

Good security management starts with a strong set

of policies and those policies must be understood by

all. These policies must be backed up by sound reporting

to verify users are exercising good behavior

and the systems are operating properly. There must

be a closed loop between policy and the response

cycle and all this must be backed up by a proven roll

back and recovery system should there be an attack.

Social media is also presenting a new threat as it has

become prevalent on campuses at all levels.

Good data security requires constant monitoring

and close review of activity. As campus systems are

made more open to allow greater access both on site

and off for students and staff, the opportunity for

intruders to do harm increases. Systems that allow

only the ‘good guys’ to gain access must be vigilant,

flexible to address changing needs and able to adapt

to the constant growth in utilization. This task continues

to become more complex and urgent. As campuses

extend their reach beyond their own bricks and

mortar with online learning, Software as a Service

(SaaS) and remote data backup solutions security

will continue to grow as a campus IT concern.


IT managers must not only protect their networks

and data from improper access, they must also be

prepared to meet state, local and federal regulations.

There is a long list of regulations including the Family

Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the U.S.

Patriot Act, among many others, that put the institution

at risk if not compliant. Again, IT solutions are

available to allow the school to comply while keeping

management resources at a minimum.

Content Filtering — Although it is not security

per se, another area that K-12 IT management must

be concerned with is meeting local and state policies

around the Child Information Protection Act

(CIPA). This federal legislation from 2001 addresses

concerns about access to offensive content over the

Internet. A number of providers offer services that

will thwart access to these offensive sites and provide

automated updates to keep systems abreast of

this ever changing environment.

CIPA is not a concern for higher education institutions.

However, another type of filtering has surfaced

recently on college campuses. Some athletic departments

have begun scanning Facebook, Twitter and

MySpace accounts of athletes for inappropriate postings.

In an effort to help student athletes protect their

image, they have implemented systems that search

these sites and when a post causes concern it will notify

the student immediately to take corrective action.

Critics of this service have expressed concerns about

freedom of speech, but those universities involved say

they are merely providing this as a support service for

students who may be unaware that some comments

could cause them harm in the future.

Security Solution Options — Good security solutions

are offered in a number of ways. Some institutions opt

to go with best of breed providers who specialize in

a particular aspect of security like network access

control or data storage solutions. Most often found in

larger institutions, this best of breed approach relies

on campus IT staff to do the heavy lifting to coordinate

all aspects and manage for success.

A more common approach for institutions and districts

that do not wish to take on that responsibility

is to go with a turnkey security solution in which

intrusion detection and prevention, data integrity

assurance, content filtering, system monitoring and

reporting functions are handled as a package. This

takes the coordination burden away from the institution

while keeping security quality high.

Some institutions are following yet a third course.

This solution involves treating security as a service

managed by either an outsourced security solutions

provider or in house by campus IT staff from a cloud.

mediA CenTers

Yesterday’s libraries are today’s media centers.

As the information age has migrated from print to

digital and online resources, so has the prime research

facility on campus. Content is multi-modal

and diverse. These centers need high-speed Internet

links with highly indexed search capabilities to effectively

support today’s learning activities. Gone

are the days of the card catalogue, Dewey decimal

system and the business hours-only phone line to

the librarian. Today’s users demand 24/7 access to

resources including self-help tools to augment live

assistance.

They need high-bandwidth access to support video

and rich media downloads. Content is found in repositories

that include subscription-based services, course

management systems, institutional or district archives

and peer research. The ability to access this information

is important for students and faculty to capture

this material and use it to collaborate with peers.

Media centers must also provide scanning functions

to accommodate the digital needs of students and

“we have ConverTed a

deCommIssIoned sChool bus InTo

a mobIle produCTIon sTudIo ThaT

allows sTudenTs To produCe, edIT,

and TransmIT lIve broadCasTs from

aCademIC and aThleTIC evenTs To

The TelevIsIon sTudIo for playouT

over Cable Tv and The InTerneT.”

susan norTon — ChIef InformaTIon offICer,

fayeTTevIlle publIC sChools

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 25


faculty. Media centers should also allow for spaces

in which students can collect in an interactive environment

to collaborate on projects. Furthermore, the

media center should provide access to print services

so hard copies can be printed or copied as needed.

TeChnoloGy help And sUpporT sysTems

IT staffs carry a number of responsibilities on

campuses today. They must meet instructional

needs and business needs as well as make recommendations

for better IT solutions in the future. In

this way, IT staffs must provide strategic, tactical

and operational support to all campus entities.

This is not an easy or a static task. IT technology

is constantly evolving as are user needs. It must be

understood that most IT departments are heavily

burdened and especially so at a time when we are

demanding more of our academic resources while

we have fewer dollars to spend.

General System Management — IT departments

must assure all systems are performing to standards

and are free from attack. They must assure that those

who may access resources have simple and secure access

whenever needed. They are also responsible for

campus systems and services, including:

• ensuring data security and firewalling

operations;

• scanning traffic for malware;

• securing access for remote users;

• maintaining proper quality of service for voice,

video and data applications;

• maintaining proper and efficient data storage;

• providing data integrity and backup for

continuity of service;

• utilizing effective system management tools;

• keeping active directories of valid users;

• providing e-mail, voicemail, texting and other

instant communications options; and

• providing utilization reports as required.

Technical Support — One area in which the IT

department plays an important role is in providing

ongoing technical support for users. After a new application

is installed, it falls upon the staff to see that

users understand the new application and that they

26 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

“College e-learnIng supporT sTaff

Can remoTely ‘drIve’ The sTudenT’s

CompuTer and assIsT/TuTor/navIgaTe

Them Through plaTforms, Issues

and provIde foCused, IndIvIdualIzed

TraInIng and supporT.”

mIChael zImmerman — CIo & exeCuTIve dIreCTor of

CommunICaTIon & InformaTIon TeChnology,

maComb CommunITy College

are using its capabilities effectively. With a shrinking

staff and tight timeframes, many are economizing on

training delivery by providing it in an online fashion.

Often this training can be offered by the vendor

as computer-based training or in an interactive way

through an online portal. When these are not available

or not appropriate, then face-to-face trainings

are still used, particularly for very critical systems

and applications.

Another crucial function of the IT staff is to

provide break-fix services. Should any campus IT

system fail to perform, it must be remedied immediately.

A great deal of effort is spent in operational

monitoring and provisioning so that systems

perform as expected, but when they do not this fix

becomes a high priority. In a world of 24/7 learning,

that means operational support must also be 24/7.

Good system support tools allow many problems

to be fixed remotely, making a trip to the desktop

unnecessary. This saves time and money especially

when accommodating users at remote sites.

Software Support and Applications Development —

The IT staff is frequently called upon to either provide

or adapt software to support an application. Increasingly

these applications can be purchased from a provider

requiring only minor configuration to support school

needs. However, when the institution decides that this

is not appropriate either because they need more control

or they want to save capital dollars, the IT department

may have to write its own application. They may use

resources from open sources or they may choose to write

the application themselves. In either case, choosing to

go this route offers a trade off. The institution may save


money on procurement, but it may take more time to

implement and consume constrained IT personnel resources.

After implementing open source solutions, the

school continues to be more actively involved in maintenance

and support but keeps institutional flexibility

and saves ongoing licensing fees.

Printer Solutions — Campuses large and small

are finding one way to reduce operational costs is to

control their printing. New print management solutions

offer a wide array of cost-saving solutions that

help schools reduce paper, reduce ink usage and provide

better document security as the total number of

printers is reduced.

One way to control paper and printing costs is to

not put as much on paper in the first place. There are

a number of document management systems available

that can support admissions, financial aid, human resources

and curriculum efforts by providing digital

filing and retrieval capabilities. As mentioned above,

this not only saves paper and ink, it requires no paper

filing storage. Furthermore, it is more secure because

stray papers are not left on a table, printer or copier

for all to see.

However, what about when someone needs a hard

copy? After all, tests need to be printed, as do reports

and evaluations. Newer networked printing solutions

operate on multi-functional machines that have built-in

intelligence. They can be programmed to require a security

code to operate when deployed in a shared office

or classroom environment. How this works is a user will

send a document to the printer, but the printer will not

print until the user enters the code on the printer. This

assures that the document will be picked up immediately

and that only one copy is printed. This improves

security while holding down costs.

In higher education, this solution offers an additional

benefit for cash-strapped IT departments.

Control over black and white or color print jobs can

“all of our CopIers have The

abIlITy To sCan ITems baCk To any

e-maIl aCCounT.”

Jason harrIson — dIreCTor of IT, dallasTown area

sChool dIsTrICT

be provided based upon user criteria or payment

plans. These payment plans could involve tracking

by page and billing back to a department, providing

page-by-page tracking and billing back to a

student or charging directly to a student credit card

or debit plan. Furthermore, a networked printing

solution can provide print access closest to where

the user happens to be. In this mobile environment,

students and staff can benefit from having the ability

to automatically have documents printed nearest

to them at any time.

Another advantage to managed network printing

is the ability for IT staff to poll the multi-function

devices to gauge usage and to check ink and paper

status. This allows them to provide proactive support

so the devices are kept operational. Other capabilities

include the ability for multi-function printers to provide

test scanning and correction capabilities to save

faculty time and institution costs for single-purpose

grading solutions.

Other Networked Solutions — Classroom and

other campus projector effectiveness can benefit from

centralized management as well. When projectors

are networked they can be controlled from a remote

location providing IT management with their status.

Disconnected lamps, lamp life and other performancehindering

situations can be texted to the support desk.

Likewise, IT staff can diagnose an ongoing problem

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 27


emotely. To support the campus alert system, IT managers

can override these projectors to present emergency

alerts, evacuation plans or other such live messages. Energy

consumption can be limited by remotely powering

down projection units or putting them in a lower usage

eco mode.

A similar scenario can be said for other classroom

support devices. These would include document cameras,

DVD players, special lighting systems and audio

systems found in many classrooms today. Automated

and proactive management saves money and keeps

systems ready for use.

Strategic IT Support — When providing strategic

support to the institution, IT management is required

to offer the data needed not only to assist in IT decision-making,

but to provide other department and

school leaders the information they need to help make

good decisions. To that end, CIOs and IT managers are

called upon to give timely intelligence on campus IT

resource utilization as well as to provide analysis on

alternatives to current systems and solutions. They

are expected to provide integrated reporting by application

or department in easy-to-understand reports

or dashboards.

Sound, inclusive analytical tools are used to facilitate

this effort. These analytics can gather data from

monitoring systems and produce reports that encapsulate

how the institution is operating. These reports can

28 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

provide vital information for planning, budgeting and

forecasting. They can provide drill-up and drill-down

analyses as well as offer comparisons over time. Analytics

can also help the institution do what-if scenarios.

When commoditized into a dashboard and delivered

regularly to management, this can be an important tool

to move toward efficient campus management.

resoUrCe mAnAGemenT &

sUpporT sysTems

Educational institutions have spent a great deal of

money acquiring IT systems over the years. Often

these resources must integrate with older or legacy

systems since complete system change outs are rare.

This means that IT staff must understand existing

systems and accommodate for their integration

when new technologies are deployed. Sometimes

that involves using middleware or some other sort of

integration tool that can extend the old system’s life

while benefiting from the new system’s capabilities.

There are several solutions on the market today that

can assist with this effort. These include solutions that

cross operating systems and application platforms for

a more unified application experience for users.

Network Provisioning — In a related subject, usage

of networking resources must be monitored as well.

This will help staff understand how to provision the

networks for efficiency and effectiveness. As more

students rely on valuable network bandwidth for

educational purposes, the IT staff must be sure that

bandwidth is available for them. In an attempt to

keep bandwidth service costs in check, the institution

must not buy more than what is needed to meet institutional

goals. That means that at times when bandwidth

is constrained, critical applications must take

priority over non-critical applications. That means

that Quality of Service (QoS) decisions dictate that

voice and video take priority over static data and that

pre-identified users or applications will have priority

over others. By monitoring how these QoS policies are

meeting institutional objectives, IT staff can make

data-driven decisions on how to provision their networks

to be most effective and efficient.

Network monitoring can also help educators assess

how well their resources are being utilized. For instance,


in a K-12 one-to-one laptop initiative, a Kansas school

district wanted to see how students were actually using

the district’s online resources. To do that, they deployed

analysis tools that captured real-time usage of all of their

software and hardware. This was extremely useful in

setting expectations and readying for more widespread

deployments in the future.

Asset Inventory and Management — Keeping track

of computing assets can be a massive undertaking

for larger school entities. The data center alone can

contain scores of servers and applications. When the

inventory extends to services, networking switches,

access points and other appliances, help is needed.

Today there are a number of tools on the market that

can provide an inventory and status of all connected

devices on the campus network. Using a standard recognition

protocol, attached devices are identified by

the software and displayed to the IT manager either

on a screen or synthesized into appropriate reports.

This information must be kept current, therefore an

active asset inventory system is very important so

resources are properly configured, maintained and

supported. Additionally, an asset management system

can also track software levels and licensing permissions

on attached devices. A good asset inventory

system can improve campus efficiency by:

• assuring all assets are properly identified;

• assuring that all software licenses are current;

• allowing for all assets to be properly reflected in

budgets;

• providing utilization reports;

• satisfying audits;

• demonstrating due diligence to state and federal

funding programs; and

• reducing the overall cost of infrastructure by

limiting unnecessary buying.

IT departments must also be concerned with protecting

their assets. Data centers must be secured.

The cabling infrastructure, including the distribution

closets, must be locked as well. Movable assets like

laptops and other devices need protection too. One

popular solution for laptop devices is a service that

can track down a stolen device. This service registers

the IP address of the device and queries the Internet

to detect when it is used. Once it is spotted, the server

is locked on and identified as authorities are called.

This asset recovery solution can be bundled with

other security and asset management solutions such

as licensing alerts, security patches and application

updates for laptops and other devices.

End of Life Dilemma — How to responsibly recycle

old equipment is a concern on most campuses today.

In an era of keen environmental awareness, not only

are manufacturers producing products that are more

efficient in operation, they are using environmentally

friendly components that are also more easily recyclable

and reusable. Examples of this are data center and

networking solutions that can be upgraded simply with

software or firmware changes rather than swapping

out entire chassis. Other examples include equipment

that can be more easily repurposed for other locations

with similar software or firmware adjustments.

Yet another area in which manufacturers are stepping

up to the plate is in offering to take back old

equipment from the school or institution upon its

retirement. Most companies include this effort as a

part of their company’s environmental responsibility

commitment. They will cover the cost of shipping and

will process the equipment to recycle or reuse components.

That which they cannot repurpose will be

disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.

Some will even offer a rebate on this old equipment

if it is replaced by newer equipment from their company.

In any case, having the manufacturer take on

this recycling responsibility takes one more burden

off of the IT department.

Asset Scheduling and Integration — When assets

are limited, access to them must be closely monitored

for efficient usage. On educational campuses this involves

the scheduling of smart rooms, video-enabled

rooms, computer labs and the use of specialized

equipment like mobile video recording studios. Smart

rooms are instructional centers that are equipped

with a higher level of technology than the average

classroom and may include interactive white boards,

LCD projectors, camera projectors, enhanced sound

systems and lecture capture technologies. Scheduling

the use of these smart resources is common in higher

education. A common solution is to automate the

process whereby these smart resources are matched

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 29


to an online reservations calendar. Not only can this

provide an easy way to reserve these resources, it can

provide IT staff a heads up as to when they will be

needed to provide support.

In the K-12 environment we often see laptop carts

that roll between classrooms to provide a full class of

students their own computer for a period of time.

Often used for research assignments, this application

can help stretch limited computer dollars within

schools, but to be effective these computers should also

be well scheduled so they are most effectively used.

Digital Signage — Digital signage can be found

anywhere on educational campuses. They are located

inside as well as outside and are networked for easy

management and control. Uses include:

• delivering up-to-the-minute news briefs;

• announcing upcoming events;

• making calendar reminders; and

• reporting athletic results.

They can be deployed either as standalone devices

connected wirelessly to the campus network or as

directly connected signs to the campus wired infrastructure.

Digital signage can deliver high-definition

video images as well as standard graphics and print.

Schools are finding this to be a very engaging way to

keep students and staff informed.

Concerns and Issues — Many institutions are reconsidering

the level of technology they are willing

30 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

to support in house. They have recognized that educational

technology has become more complex as it

has become more critical. It requires more budget and

increased levels of expertise. They are finding that if

they outsource or pool resources they can find economies

while improving service. As a result, institutions

are deciding what functions must be maintained by

campus staff and what could be managed more efficiently

by off-campus resources.

Another dilemma facing educational institutions

— particularly in K-12 — is how to justify spending

money on technology and IT staffing at a time when

teachers must be let go. This may be the most difficult

choice to make when budgets have to be cut. The reality

is that unless schools invest in technology to support

more effective learning, any staff reduction will heavily

impact learning. The best way to maintain quality

learning with reduced staffing is to get better leverage

out of technology. Furthermore, without expanded

support for classroom technologies, schools will be no

closer to the goal of student-centered learning.

Another concern for school administrators has

evolved during this past decade. How can we provide

continuity of learning if we can no longer meet in

classrooms on Monday through Friday? Flu epidemics,

hurricanes, tornadoes, blackouts and terrorist

attacks — not to mention the usual sick and snow

days — have interrupted classes across the country.

What is the back-up plan? As learning becomes more

digitally based, students can continue their education

from home, hospital or anywhere they may be.

This is yet another reason why educational institutions

are considering more technology in their learning

environments.

whAT is in The fUTUre?

One area in which help is coming for rural schools is

higher bandwidth. There are congressional bills and

other administrative recommendations in government

that would make high-speed bandwidth to all parts of

the country a national goal similar to the electrification

initiatives in the last century. One idea uses schools,

community colleges and libraries as hub points for

high-speed access for a community. Other ideas encourage

public/private partnerships that would support the


implementation and long-term management of highspeed

services for these communities. The Department

of Commerce is administering a Broadband Technology

Opportunities Program and the Department of

Agriculture is running the Rural Utilities Service

Program to support some of these initiatives. In all,

there is over $7B in federal grant money at play.

Another idea making its way around academic IT

circles is how they might utilize their private Inter-

net network (Internet2) as a general service portal.

They are thinking about how Internet2 could be

partitioned to provide Internet access for a greater

set of academic institutions. This concept takes today’s

Internet reality into consideration. Over the

past several years, a flattening of the Internet has

sent 50 percent of traffic to top content providers

like Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Monster.com. If

the academic network were to offer other academic

Resources and Processes for a Healthy Academic Infrastructure

TeChniCAl resoUrCes

• adequately provision internet access and bandwidth

for all programs

• adequately provision voice services for all buildings

• deliver healthy iP over campus networks including

wired and wireless

• adequately provision and support data center systems

and applications

• deploy, refresh and maintain core applications

• Provide proper power and cooling for equipment

throughout the campus

• offer communication systems to address voice,

video and data needs

• Provide effective voice and e-mail systems

• offer handheld communications support for mobile

users on campus

• Maintain proper event notification systems and alerts

• secure data and networks from malicious attacks

• Back up data to prevent loss

• Provide security systems to improve safety on campus

finAnCiAl resoUrCes

• Provide a flexible budget process to properly

meet evolving needs

• Provision for operational expenditures that address

technology refresh

• fund professional development and it training

• apply for and leverage grants for technology

wherever possible

• look for opportunities to cooperate on infrastructure

initiatives to save money

• utilize outsourced services when appropriate to

gain expertise and cut costs

mAnAGemenT resoUrCes

• get executive leadership that supports process

change made possible by technology

• involve it executives in developing campus

business strategy

• develop and maintain a long-term technology plan

• train staff and create a staff retention plan

• develop a technology sustainability plan

• Maintain an active disaster recovery and

continuation of service plan

• Monitor information system usage for efficiency and

effectiveness

• report key utilization characteristics to executive staff

• support users with training and break-fix support

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 31


institutions (higher education and K-12) direct links

to these sites — and to others as well — they could

gain new revenue streams for their cash-starved institutions.

At the same time, they would be offering

enhanced services for the entire academic community.

This certainly would not be a small undertaking, but

it is an intriguing idea.

Another concept that has some similarities to the

private Internet idea is to treat IT academic resources

more like a utility. By that we mean using the capabilities

of virtualized solutions and data center consolidation

to provide common resources for several school

districts or colleges. Processing power, storage, system

security and general applications support could be

maintained by a well-equipped data center. This data

center could be administered by a consortium of entities

including schools, colleges and local governments.

All would benefit from access to better resources and

services at much lower costs. Vital institutional applications

and databases could be partitioned and made

safe. For many institutions and agencies, maintaining

stove-pipe infrastructures is no longer a viable longterm

option. To make this a reality, parties will need

to address time-honored processes involving budgeting,

scope of control and sharing of authority.

Yet another option is to outsource infrastructure

services to a managed services company. This seat

license approach would get the school district or

32 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

college out of the IT management business. For a

set fee per user supported, the managed services

company would fulfill all IT demands for the

institution to an agreed upon level of service. Under

the terms of a service level agreement (SLA) the

district can set expectations and easily revise them as

needs evolve. Once IT services are outsourced, school

IT professionals can focus on higher-level support

activities like integrating technology-based solutions

into curriculum and strategizing on how technology

can help control operational costs.

Some schools are using their technology resources

to help raise money to support school initiatives. One

example in K-12 is the use of hosted video streaming

of athletic events. Schools are recording the games

in high-quality video with student play-by-play announcers.

They are rebroadcasting the telecast with

commercial sponsorships from the school’s Web portal.

The school has seen some new income and friends

and relatives get to see games they might not be able

to see otherwise. In higher education, colleges are

providing Internet access at stadiums to back haul

traffic for carriers and to support point of sale access

for in-seat merchandizing and speedier transaction

processing.

ConClUsion

A sound digital infrastructure is vital for any educational

institution in the 21st century. Technologies

that facilitate meaningful learning as well as information

systems that enable efficient institutional management

require it. This infrastructure must contain

all the elements, including telecommunications and

Internet access, a robust network with both wired and

wireless capacities, a sound data center with server

and storage capacity and flexibility to meet evolving

needs, a set of security measures that ensure protected

data and a management team equipped with

the right tools to keep all systems operational and all

users taking advantage of the technology.

A successful infrastructure depends on good planning.

An institution must develop a technology plan

that addresses current needs while anticipating the

flexibility to satisfy future needs. With educational

applications growing at double digit rates annually,


solutions should be following standards so interoperability

with other applications and systems can

be simple and less costly. Schools that are the most

successful realize that modernizing their infrastructures

requires systematic change. Goals must be set

as should the methods to measure those goals.

Most importantly, executive leadership must not

only be on board, they must be at the helm. Budgets,

administrative policies, entrenched interest groups

and institutional inertia must be overcome. It takes

an active executive leader to break through these barriers

and set the tone for improvement and change.

This leader must understand education infrastructure

technology is an enterprise investment, not an

incremental spend. Put another way, technology is

vital to the 21st-century education infrastructure,

not just an appendage.

Getting closer to the ground, campuses can expect

that their network capacity and data center applications

will continue to grow at a rapid rate as more students,

faculty and staff rely on the richness of digital

resources. Video will be a large part of that increase.

This is because more information is encapsulated in

video formats as more video is being delivered in HD

quality. It is also growing as both faculty and staff

collaborate with peers on video chat sessions and

share video objects and other rich resources among

participants.

Institutions must also consider new ways to fund

technology to accomplish their goals. One way is

to see where consolidations make sense, be it at the

data center or with services that can be outsourced

to third party providers. Another consideration is to

share resources with other entities to get better leverage

out of your technology spend. Technologies like

virtualization make this a viable alternative since

services need not be sourced from the building site.

Outsourcing training, help desk, e-mail services and

other resource-intensive activities can enable campus

IT resources to focus on those things in which they

can bring the best return on investment.

Procurements should also reflect this need for fresh

ideas. When large infrastructure investments are

considered, and a formal bid must be let, consider

allowing flexibility in the RFP process. Identify the

goals, inhibiting criteria and other limiting issues

and allow the respondents the opportunity to propose

what they see as the best solution. Consider in-house,

outsourced and shared solutions if your organization

can be comfortable with them. Just as technology

has evolved in recent years, so have delivery systems.

Take advantage of the selections now available. Likewise,

consider alternative acquisition methods. With

interest rates at very low levels, leasing can be quite

attractive, especially when capital budgets are constrained.

Many vendors offer attractive leasing packages

so consider that when letting your bid offers.

And finally, make sure that teachers, students and

staff understand the technologies you are deploying.

Since the goal for technology is to improve learning

and increase efficiencies, then users must understand

how they can use these new tools to reach those goals.

Training is vital. We must demonstrate how technology

can transform tasks. This training cannot be

short-shrifted. If we expect these solutions to improve

learning and provide better assessments we must arm

users with the knowledge to do it. Most bad press

comes not from bad technology, but rather how poorly

that technology was implemented and managed.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 33






The real transition in infrastructure is moving away from the assemble-it-all-yourself

party to solutions that don’t require you to have all the ‘plumbers and mechanics’ to

run everything, and yet still get management efficiencies.

Larry Singer, Vice PreSident of U.S. State, LocaL and edUcation SaLeS, HP

Tight economic times call for innovative technologies that allow iT to deliver more

services to their customers and users under smaller budgets. Campuses of all sizes

are realizing great benefits from building out infrastructures that utilize open source

solutions, while enabling students to stay ahead of the technological curve.

JoHn PUnzak, Senior director, State & LocaL goVernment and edUcation, red Hat

virtualization has changed the landscape of IT infrastructure in higher education.

server, and even more importantly, storage Virtualization technology is allowing

colleges to provide internal private cloud services to their faculty and students.

regina kUnkLe, regionaL director, netaPP, inc.

virtualized wireless networks are transforming the campus environment — providing

predictability in often unpredictable environments. The proliferation of wireless

devices on campus and the desire for campuses to improve the student’s learning

experience are driving the need for a high-performance and reliable wireless

solution. virtualized wlans meet this challenge — driving 1:1 laptop programs in the

classroom, supporting bandwidth-intensive video, voice and data applications, and

delivering predictable wireless coverage across campus, including highly dense areas

such as the student union or auditorium.

ram aPPaLaraJU, Senior VP, marketing, merU networkS

34 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e









schools are facing big challenges with their IT infrastructures as they integrate

educational technologies in their curriculum. They must simplify this migration with

solutions to create robust iT environments to ensure reliable, fast and secure

access to the digital resources needed to support 21st learning.

BoB moore, Senior manager, k-12 BUSineSS deVeLoPment, deLL

as technology increasingly facilitates the educational experience, teachers, students

and parents are digitally connected in ways that look and feel like their social

and work environments. because of this they will expect the same standards of

information security and information availability as they get in those environments,

if not better. schools have to figure out how to do this for less cost.

JoHn BeLLe, Symantec

student collaboration using Im and p2p applications to learn does not have to

equate to network security mayhem. a defense-in-depth approach including

application layer coverage prevents intrusions, stops unauthorized access and

blocks malware to protect users, resources and essential data. schools keep

productivity high and organizational liability in check.

Linda ScHneLL, Senior manager, watcHgUard tecHnoLogieS

Cloud computing is seeing its own revolution on campuses worldwide as

higher education IT departments reduce their on-site technology footprints with

versatile hosted technologies that integrate with their existing tools, like learning

management systems. Universities who can quickly adopt cloud-delivered

solutions that leverage their existing infrastructure while delivering new solutions

will be the ones best equipped to do ‘more with less.’

keLLy roy, VP of cUStomer SUcceSS and marketing, iLinc commUnicationS





C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 35


glossary

bandwidth

Bandwidth is the term given to the collective data

flow over a circuit; it is also used to define the

maximum capacity of a circuit.

CAleA

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement

Act is a US wiretapping law passed in 1994 requiring

telecommunications carriers to assist intelligence

agencies in electronic surveillance. Some higher

education campuses may be considered carriers.

CAs

Content Addressable Storage is a mechanism

that provides better data storage integrity and

accessibility by tracking stored data with unique

markers.

CfAA

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, passed in 1986,

makes it a federal crime to hack into federal or

financial institution computer systems.

CipA

The Children’s Internet Protection Act was passed in

2001 to keep offensive Internet content away from

children on school and library computers. E-Rate

funding is tied to compliance.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the process of moving computer

operations — including software and storage — to a

centralized server rather than having it reside on the

user’s device.

deduplication

This term is used to define how data storage can be

maximized by eliminating redundant or duplicated

data.

e-rate program

This federal IT grant program helps fund

telecommunications and Internet services and

delivery systems to schools and libraries. It

disburses $2.25B a year from fees collected from

telecommunications carriers.

36 C a m p u s T e C h n o l o g y I n f r a s T r u C T u r e

ferpA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is

a federal law that protects the privacy of student

education records. The law applies to all schools

that receive funds from the federal Department of

Education.

firewall

A firewall is either embedded software or a specially

purposed appliance that blocks unauthorized users

and prohibits access to content on a network.

hipAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Assurance Act

was passed in 1996 to protect the insured and also

provide criteria to address the security and privacy of

health data. Compliance with this act requires careful

handling of health records as well as limiting access

to those records.

internet2

Internet2 is the premier networking consortium for

U.S. higher education and research institutions.

Begun in 1996 and in partnership with government

and healthcare entities, Internet2 provides enhanced

network connectivity and services for its members.

longitudinal data systems

Longitudinal data system is the term used to

define educational data systems that track student

information and performance over multiple years

regardless of which schools they matriculated.

Currently it applies to K-12, but efforts are underway

to expand to P-20.

mpeG

The abbreviation is taken from the Motion Picture

Experts Group standards body. The newest version

enables software-defined digital video compression to

create high-quality video presentations.

nAs

Network-Attached Storage provides file-based

storage and access to a wide set of users connected to

a network.


open source

Open source refers to software code that can be

studied, changed and improved at no charge,

provided users agree to share any improvements they

make to it. Often this software is created in a public

and collaborative manner.

pbX

A Post Branch Exchange is the on-premise telephony

switch that has traditionally served campuses with

their desktop dial tone services.

phishing

Phishing is the term used to describe the fraudulent

process of gaining access to sensitive information

such as usernames, passwords and credit card details

over the Internet by pretending to be a trusted entity.

poe

Power over Ethernet is the process of powering

connected devices like telephone handsets and

wireless access points over twisted pair wiring from

their network switches.

Qos

Quality of Service is the term used by switching

providers to describe how IP traffic can be triaged

when bandwidth is constrained. It gives priority to

time-sensitive transmissions (like voice or video) over

those that are less time sensitive (data).

saas

Software as a Service is a term to describe a software

distribution model in which applications are hosted

remotely by a third party and made available to

customers over a network.

sAn

A storage area network is a software-enabled

network of storage devices that act as a single entity

attached to a local operating system.

sarbanes-oxley

Also referred to as SOX, Sarbanes-Oxley is a federal

law passed in 2002 to set new accounting measures in

place for publicly held businesses in the United States.

slA

Service level agreements are contracts with service

providers to meet specific performance criteria.

social media

This term refers to the use of broadcast media to

enable interactivity. It facilitates social interactions

by using the Internet to change users from consumers

of information to producers of information.

Examples include Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Unified Communications

Unified communications describes the integration

of real-time communication services such as instant

messaging, presence information, telephony, video

conferencing, call control and speech recognition

with non-real-time communication services such as

unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, and

fax).

U.s. patriot Act

The U.S. Patriot Act is a federal law that allows law

enforcement agencies the ability to search telephone,

e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other

records to make it easier to gather intelligence on

foreign threats.

Voip

VoIP is the term used to describe the delivery of

voice communications over IP networks such as the

Internet or other packet-switched networks.

web 2.0

Web 2.0 is used to define web applications that allow

interactive information sharing, interoperability,

user-centered design, and collaboration on the

Internet. Web 2.0 sites let users participate in

creating the site’s content rather than simply being

observers of the site’s content.

C e n T e r f o r d I g I T a l e d u C a T I o n 37


Solution Spotlight: HP

A Printing Strategy

to Fit Your Needs

While a strong digital infrastructure is a requirement for

21st-century educational institutions, today’s uncertain economy

is forcing many schools to reduce operating costs. A growing

number of organizations are turning to managed service providers

to meet these competing demands.

Letting a service provider manage your printing for you can be a

fast and easy way to quickly slash IT expenditures, but not every

organization is ready to put its printing infrastructure in someone

else’s hands. HP offers the perfect solution: the HP Pag e Plan.

It’s a simple, convenient program that can reduce operating costs

while giving you greater control of your imaging and printing

environment.

In a single print-services contract, HP Page Plan bundles printers,

copiers and other hardware with HP supplies and expert HP

technical support to help you manage your environment. This

fl exible, scalable plan helps reduce printing costs and cuts down

on the use of paper and other consumables, which also helps the

environment.

HP Page Plan provides an easy way to better manage your print

environment at a strategic level without becoming buried in the

details. The plan will help you cut printing costs, improve productivity,

streamline procurement, improve security and help the

environment.

For additional information, visit www.hp.com/go/pageplanCDE.

Major benefi ts of the HP Page Plan include:

• Convenience: A simple and straightforward one-

to fi ve-year contract that covers all HP hardware,

supplies and support.

• Flexibility: Lease and purchase options on hardware,

plus variable contract terms and hardware

support options.

• Effi ciency: Priority access to one telephone number

for your support needs and the online HP Service

Portal for technical support, ordering supplies,

obtaining usage reports and locating contract

information.

• Reduced administrative costs: Streamlined ordering

through Automated Toner Delivery, plus deviceinitiated

toner/ink sensing and ordering. And there are

no minimums, so you only pay for what you print and

nothing more.

• Scalability: Easily move up to the more comprehensive

HP Managed Print Services agreement whenever

you’d like.

• Security: HP Access Control Secure Pull Printing with

PIN Authentication improves security of your printing

environment by allowing you to restrict services to

authorized users.

• Manageability: HP Access Control Job Accounting

helps you track print, scan, copy and e-mail usage

by device, user or department. Organizations can

develop detailed reports for budgeting, forecasting,

internal billing and cost recovery.

HP is a global leader in education printing solutions, with technical expertise, reliable products,

and solutions that optimize infrastructure, manage the environment and improve document

workfl ow. With industry experts in education, HP is equipped to provide customized solutions

for the unique needs of educational institutions.


Solution Spotlight: Microsoft

The Promise of a 21st-Century Education

What does it take to give every student an education that will

prepare them to face the challenges of the 21st century and beyond?

Ambition, innovation, adaptation and commitment certainly come to

mind. With the increasingly competitive global economy, everyone

involved in the public education system is seeking new ways to guarantee

that our children reach their full potential — both for each student’s

sake and for America’s future economic success.

Today, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),

schools can compete for extraordinary grants for education transformation

in the Race to the Top competition. The grants cover four pillars

of reform thought to be the most critical to improving school success.

These pillars include the adoption of core common standards and

measures; the creation of critical data systems; recruiting, developing,

rewarding and retaining the best teachers; and turning around our

nation’s lowest-achieving schools.

States and school districts serious about reform understand that

technology is a common denominator in addressing all four pillars in

Reaching the Top

Productivity and Collaboration: Live@edu offers the education

community co-branded e-mail, collaboration tools, calendars,

and online software tools for students and faculty. And this hosted

product offers round-the-clock maintenance by a Microsoft

Data Center.

Web Portals: Microsoft Web portal solutions create single point

of access Web applications for students, teachers, administrators

and the community. These solutions can help minimize manual data

entry, promote collaboration and allow one-stop access to multiple

information systems.

Unified Communications Solutions: Educational institutions

often have many legacy systems. Unified communications solutions

We work with local, national, and international education communities to use Microsoft technology, tools, and programs,

to create solutions that help address education challenges, while improving teaching and learning opportunities.

We believe that the evolving demands of the global economy make education vital to sustainable social and economic

success. We also believe that education is a fundamental human right and is the single most important investment in the

future of individuals, communities, the nation, and the world.

For more information, please visit www.microsoft.com/education/solutions.

the Race to the Top program — and that the right technology solutions

will provide the support and foundation for the ambitious changes that

are required. Microsoft has learned through years of extensive experience

in the education sector how to provide innovative technology that

enhances dramatic reform.

Education institutions may be struggling with user identity issues,

information silos, disconnected processes and lack of consistent, accessible

system feedback in a single point of access system. The integrated

approach taken by Microsoft — connecting data, processes and people

using its suite of products, solutions and partners — will deliver systems

that stand the test of time, helping to prepare schools to deal with

educational requirements both now and in the future.

Race to the Top offers states and school districts a unique opportunity

to compete for grants that will help them make bold changes to

the way they educate America’s next generation of students. Microsoft

applauds these efforts — and is ready and willing to assist educational

institutions in meeting the challenges inherent in education reform.

from Microsoft can help integrate numerous information silos,

providing access to e-mail, calendars and messaging applications

through multiple devices.

Microsoft Education Analytics: Getting the right information to

track a student or teacher’s progress is now only a click or two away.

Education Analytics Dashboards from Microsoft pool that information

and display it in familiar Office tools.

Integrated Solutions: Microsoft Services works with educational

entities to assess their needs and provide solutions that support the

institution’s educational goals. Microsoft Services can help schools

and districts cost-effectively deploy new technologies, integrate them

with existing information systems or simply make the most of their

existing infrastructure.


Solution Spotlight: Red Hat

One partner. Unlimited capabilities.

Whether you’re improving your data center, supporting

thousands of student and faculty e-mail accounts or adding

new video-streaming applications, a reliable and secure IT

infrastructure is essential to making those things work.

Red Hat solutions, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat

Enterprise Virtualization, give schools the capabilities and features

they need to securely and cost-effectively deliver the applications

that support student learning and school administration. Red Hat

technologies let schools manage their infrastructure more easily,

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

• powers mission-critical applications for teaching, learning,

managing networks, conducting research and more

• supports the top 10 enterprise applications

• benchmark tests prove RHEL performs better than

competitors

• scales from laptop systems to blade and rack environments,

to large servers and mainframes — satisfying the

wide variety of educational needs

• strategic partnerships allow Red Hat to get input from, and

test with, industry-leading technology companies

• supports standard data center management tools, from

backups and disaster recovery to confi guration and

provisioning support

• interoperability with Windows, so schools get the benefi ts

of RHEL without having to replace Windows tools, such as

Active Directory

• developed security features with the U.S. government’s

National Security Agency, for multi-level security and rolebased

access control

adapt to changing needs in the education environment and reduce

operating costs.

Red Hat is an industry leader in open source and virtualization

technologies that dramatically lower costs while also improving

performance. Red Hat provides highly scalable, robust tools for

any educational need. It enables complex research projects in

computational chemistry to run just as smoothly as educational

videos streaming to a laptop.

Red Hat offers numerous robust, easy-to-manage tools to help you get the most out of your IT infrastructure, including:

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV)

• a proven virtualization platform that’s been tested and certifi

ed by leading vendors and strengthened by many years of

production deployments in very demanding enterprises

• enables more virtual machines on one physical server than

any other solution

• can run both physical and virtual machines on the same

platform, eliminating silos and greatly improving the capital

and operational effi ciency of the data center

• tremendous scalability decreases management workload,

as thousands of servers can be managed as easily as one

• allows schools to focus their efforts on teaching and

learning rather than managing servers

• foundation for cloud computing, a model that’s becoming

increasingly common

• rich management capabilities, high performance, scalability

and security at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions

These and other Red Hat tools provide the adaptability

needed to satisfy the changing demands of today’s educational

environment. With its vast experience in virtualization, open

source and streamlined IT infrastructure that reduces costs, Red

Hat is a strong, dependable partner for K-12 and higher education

— both for today and tomorrow.

Red Hat and DLT Solutions

As Red Hat’s Exclusive Value-Added Reseller to Academic Institutions, DLT Solutions

helps all divisions of education to overcome real-world challenges through its best-in-class

information technology products and superior services. From open source to virtualization

and more, DLT provides the most trusted and innovative Red Hat solutions available

through multiple contract vehicles.

www.dlt.com/edu


Solution Spotlight DELL

Foundation for Learning

in the Digital Age

Ensuring that technology expenditures are adequate to provide innovative

classroom technologies is a challenge school administrators must wrestle

with yearly. Many school districts spend their limited technology funds

maintaining and repairing an outdated infrastructure. But administrators

must answer to the community when student achievement doesn’t measure

up to expectations, so it’s vital that schools’ technology infrastructure be

effi cient and ready to support the classroom technologies and applications

today’s students need.

Dell’s Connected Infrastructure for schools lets districts enjoy greater

operational and cost effi ciencies through standardization, simplifi cation

and automation. Based on open standards so they can easily integrate into

existing data centers, Dell’s products and services help administrators reduce

maintenance costs and free up capital for classroom technology, as well as

provide the foundation for innovative educational technologies needed to

keep students competitive.

Robust Networking: Schools that want to provide the latest and

greatest technologies for the classroom and beyond must have a

strong network infrastructure to deliver those applications. Dell

wired and wireless networking technologies allow schools to ensure

that their students and teachers can access tools and applications

they need to create innovative learning environments.

Access and Security: Increasingly lessons are being taught and

learned outside the classroom. The need for mobile applications,

distance learning and 24/7 remote access for students and

teachers presents schools with new security challenges. Dell’s

simplifi ed security approach helps educational institutions apply

appropriate layers of security to secure school systems and student

information while allowing access to those who need it.

Data Storage: School districts are increasingly taxed by growing

storage needs. Student notes, work assignments and research

projects, and teacher records and administrative records, are all

Dell is committed to enabling teachers to more

effectively engage students with all types of

learning styles and to prepare students to

succeed in this digital age. As the top provider

of technology to U.S. K-12 classrooms, the

company uses feedback from educators across

the country to design and develop technology

offerings like Dell’s Connected Infrastructure,

which integrates seamlessly with Dell’s open,

capable and affordable data center technologies.

Learn more about Dell and education at

www.dell.com/connectedlearning

moving from paper-based to electronic storage. And as multimedia

fi les — including sound, video and imagery — become more

common in education, storage needs are increasing rapidly. Dell

offers open, standards-based storage solutions to reduce data

management costs. A consolidated storage system provides

centralized, secure, high-speed access for students and educators.

Systems Management Solutions: Routine operational and

maintenance tasks can tax a small IT staff. Dell’s KACE

Management and Deployment appliances let IT staff redirect

their time from routine tasks to innovation. Software and image

management, program and network management, service desk

management, asset management, security enforcement, patches,

upgrades and more can all be automated to allow for effi cient

use of the IT team’s time and resources. KACE appliances can be

deployed in a day, and an intuitive interface and online training

mean IT staff can learn to use the new tools in a matter of hours.


Solution Spotlight: HP Networking

Working It Out On Campus

IT simply has to work better in higher education environments.

Education is too important to stick with the old ways. That

means moving forward aggressively, with leading-edge technologies

that improve productivity and save signifi cant amounts of

time and money.

HP Networking Converged Infrastructure puts all the pieces

together for higher education. It provides a blueprint for the

data center of the future. It integrates servers, storage, networks

and facilities — including highly effi cient use of power and

cooling resources — to create a streamlined environment that

can be managed from a single platform. Virtualization, consolidation

and integration of all your IT resources give you greater

control of your systems — increasing effi ciency and saving

money that can be reallocated to other mission-critical needs.

You have greater demands on aging IT systems, security risks,

complex system management issues, rising costs and other

challenges. HP has the solutions. HP Networking has what your

infrastructure needs, whether you want it on-site, off-site or in the

cloud. HP Converged Infrastructure will streamline and optimize

your IT environments — accelerating your return on investment

for all your IT resources.

HP is changing the rules of networking by bringing nextgeneration

technologies and proven deployment experience to

customers demanding IT alignment to new business priorities.

Innovating across the infrastructure, HP will help networking

break free from its historical walls, play a more integrated role,

operate differently and deliver far better economics.

For more info, go to www.hp.com/networking.

HP Networking infrastructure provides streamlined, automated

management across a multi-vendor environment

from a single management display. It’s a simpler, more

effi cient way of managing your infrastructure, bringing

down your operational costs and total cost of ownership.

It makes your environment:

• Virtualized — Virtualizing all resources (servers,

storage and networking) separates applications

from the underlying hardware. That makes it easier

and faster to adjust applications to match changing

needs. IT becomes more fl exible and responsive.

• Resilient — Mission-critical resiliency is a must.

HP’s hardware, software and operating environments

have proven to be resilient in deployments throughout

the world.

• Orchestrated — Strong orchestration gives you infrastructure

that’s driven by policies and service-level

agreements, centralized management, automated

workfl ows and application-aware environments.

HP hardware has intelligence built in, helping your

systems achieve ideal performance.

• Optimized — HP Converged Infrastructure uses

policies to optimize itself for any workload, on both

physical and virtual machines. It uses the right

amount of resources for the job, saving money that

legacy systems waste.

• Modular — HP solutions are based on modular

design principles and open, interoperable standards.

So you can scale up or down at any time. And you

can begin converging from whatever resources you

currently have, moving in phases toward your

next-generation system.

HP is a global leader in higher education printing and enterprise networking

solutions, with technical expertise, reliable products, and solutions that

optimize infrastructure, manage the environment and improve document

workfl ow. With industry experts in higher education, HP is equipped to provide

customized solutions for the unique needs of educational institutions.


Solution Spotlight: Symantec

Protected on

All Fronts

The digital landscape of the 21st century has given educational

institutions unprecedented and growing opportunities to improve

student learning and teacher effectiveness through the use of

online tools, collaborative media, and forums and applications

geared toward information sharing. Students and teachers should

enjoy the benefi ts of these tools without worrying about the

threat of malicious software.

Threats are not abating, however. Last year, according to the

Symantec Global Internet Security Threat Report XV, more

than 2.9 million new malicious code signatures appeared. That

constitutes a growth of more than 1.2 million signatures over

the previous year. And securing the digital infrastructure in an

academic setting comes with unique challenges. Like most

organizations, schools are obligated by law to secure data

within their student information systems. Symantec is trusted

by millions of individuals and organizations around the world to

secure vital information. All Symantec solutions for the education

industry include robust reporting features that feed reports to a

common management console, allowing schools to demonstrate

compliance with the law, and in some cases, meet reporting

requirements for state and federal grants.

Unlike most organizations, however, school technologists must

support a wide variety of applications and tools, many of which

are open to a vast and constantly evolving user base. Securing

the many facets of a school’s digital infrastructure can quickly

turn into an unruly and costly venture, which may seem

unmanageable in today’s budget environment.

Symantec information security solutions constitute a scalable,

cost-effective defense for student information systems while

safeguarding digital infrastructure against unauthorized activity.

Symantec’s Academic Buying Programs offer competitive license

terms and pricing with the option to extend security to student

Safeguarding the Systems Students

and Educators Rely On

Symantec security solutions protect school information

systems and network users in numerous ways.

• Symantec Protection Suite, Enterprise Edition

provides integrated, multilayered malware protection,

backup and recovery for the entire infrastructure,

including desktops, laptops, servers, e-mail and

messaging clients.

• Symantec Endpoint Protection blocks malicious

activity on computers and devices across the

network. Symantec Endpoint Protection helps

budget-conscious schools prevent unauthorized

access to systems that house personally identifi able

information, fi nancial data and academic records.

• Symantec Brightmail Gateway cleans and fi lters

e-mail, eliminating viruses and spyware at the

network perimeter.

• Symantec Web Gateway fi lters inappropriate

content, phishing sites, viruses and other malicious

software types.

• Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite helps

IT staff remotely manage software updates and

patches for better security. It also reduces IT costs

by providing remote troubleshooting of endpoint

devices and touch-free imaging and provisioning.

• Symantec Altiris Deployment Suite reduces costs

of deploying and managing desktops, laptops and

servers, and enables seamless migration to new

operating systems, including Windows 7.

• Symantec Backup Exec 2010 facilitates full backup

and data deduplication for budget-conscious schools.

• Symantec Enterprise Vault enables e-mail and

fi le archiving for larger K-12 districts with 1000+

mailboxes.

and teacher computers and mobile hardware. Educational

institutions can rely on Symantec’s partners and support

network to deploy and manage their information infrastructure,

and confi gure it to their needs.

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to

help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software

and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and effi ciently, enabling

confi dence wherever information is used or stored.

To download this Solution Spotlight, visit go.symantec.com/cde.


Solution Spotlight: iLinc

Extending the Virtual Classroom

iLinc for Learning was the fi rst virtual classroom tool developed

by academics. Their intention was to create an online learning

and professional development experience that would go far

beyond the limits of traditional classroom teaching.

They succeeded.

iLinc for Learning provides unparalleled engagement between

teachers, students and administrators. It’s an essential

component of integrated LMS strategies for K-12 districts and

universities alike. It also helps institutions reduce their technology

footprints, and even allows them to extend their brands and

outreach worldwide.

Extending Outreach and Brand

Unlike typical classroom technologies, iLinc is confi gurable

beyond the classroom — providing administrators with a costeffective

tool to communicate worldwide for teacher recruitment,

research collaboration, fundraising, brand awareness and alumni

outreach. Administrators can also use iLinc to facilitate meetings

and webinars.

Reducing Technology and Carbon Footprints

iLinc for Learning doesn’t require more hardware, because it’s

a hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. And iLinc’s

patented Green Meter technology works continuously on the

back end, tracking carbon emissions avoidance for every teaching

session, by measuring distances between IP addresses and the

instructor’s location. The data is fully transparent and aligns with

many institutions’ green and sustainable policies.

Teaching and Learning

iLinc builds classrooms without boundaries. As an online

learning platform within a strategic LMS framework, iLinc

provides unmatched capabilities. Together, teachers

and students can:

✓ Share documents

✓ Visit websites

✓ Create and save whiteboards

✓ Leverage breakout rooms for group activities

✓ Poll the class

✓ Record sessions/provide online access to students 24/7

✓ Launch sharable content object reference model

(SCORM)-compliant tests

✓ Play prerecorded videos

✓ Use live webcam videos for all students

✓ Track attendance

✓ Create Q&A sessions on the fl y

iLinc and Instructional Design

iLinc provides more than innovative technology. It also provides

essential services and best-practice advice for instructional designers,

helping them transform traditional, asynchronous lesson plans into

synchronous learning experiences that draw students in. With iLinc,

students are more fully engaged in the learning process, interacting

with teachers — and with one another — in exciting new ways.

About iLinc

iLinc, a pioneer in the development of online learning tools, helps educational institutions redefi ne “the

classroom,” facilitates innovative teaching, and enables the extension of an institution’s brand worldwide.

An essential component of any Learning Management System, iLinc combines politely obsessive service

with robust, patented, and confi gurable tools for teachers, students, and administrators.

To speak with one of our iLinc education experts, call 877-255-5444.

Or visit www.ilinc.com/converge to request additional information.


Solution Spotlight: WatchGuard

Online Security Guards:

Protecting Students

and Technology

Security issues are paramount in educational institutions

today. Not only must student data remain secure, but students

and faculty alike must be shielded from an onslaught of spam,

viruses and malware invasions to stay productive. Because

students and teachers access a school’s infrastructure from a

variety of devices and locations, network security challenges can

drain IT staff time, effort and resources.

With the right tools, however, schools can monitor their networks

and protect their data and network users without demanding a lot of

time from network administrators and money from school budgets.

Securing the Network

Extensible Threat Management (XTM) from WatchGuard

integrates a powerful fi rewall with virtual private network (VPN)

and security subscriptions. Implementing XTM solutions allows

school administrators to:

• Ensure only authorized students and teachers can access

computer and network resources. They can also reinforce

acceptable usage policies with detailed control over the

applications and services users can access.

• Integrate anti-spam, Web content fi ltering, intrusion

prevention, anti-virus and domain reputation checks to stop

unauthorized access and block malware. Web surfi ng can be

controlled with teacher overrides — even on HTTPS traffi c.

• Enforce safety policies required by the Children’s Internet

Protection Act (CIPA) and others so obscene, pornographic

or harmful content is blocked or fi ltered.

• Engage proxy fi rewall architecture to control the use of

instant messaging and peer-to-peer applications, thus

reducing potential exposure to harmful content and malware.

• Secure remote connectivity and provide VPNs to permit

students, teachers and administrators to communicate with

one another securely.

WatchGuard builds affordable, all-in-one network and content security

solutions to provide defense-in-depth for the organizations they power.

WatchGuard solutions scale to offer right-sized security for small schools

up to enterprise-like districts or universities. Since 1996, more than

600,000 WatchGuard signature red security appliances have been

deployed worldwide. Learn more at www.watchguard.com.

• Track, monitor and review reports by users and user groups

with easy management tools.

Defense In Depth

Along with XTM, WatchGuard Extensible Content Security

(XCS) solutions for e-mail and Web applications deliver the industry’s

most effective spam and malware security for e-mail, Web

and data loss prevention.

XCS appliances protect the network perimeter with a combination

of defenses including “in-the-cloud” real-time monitoring

of domain reputations, URL fi ltering, always-on e-mail security

so you never lose a message, and granular reporting suitable for

audit requirements and compliance needs.

WatchGuard Technologies’ suite of network and content

security solutions protect school data and users by delivering

powerful technology along with reliable management,

monitoring, logging and reporting capabilities.

Meeting Today’s Security Challenges

WatchGuard Technologies helps schools address common

network security concerns, including:

• Ensuring only authorized users have access to

school networks

• Protecting against malware and preventing network

security attacks

• Keeping networks protected from inside and

outside intrusions

• Collecting and reporting robust data so technicians

know their network status at any given time


Solution Spotlight: Meru

A New View

Universities, colleges and K-12 schools are transforming their

campus environments by deploying wireless in their classrooms,

on campus and across their school districts. As students return

to campuses each fall, they bring with them a plethora of new

mobile devices. Additionally, schools are launching 1:1 computing

programs for improved learning. Educators and students need

predictable and reliable wireless solutions to improve learning

experiences and to work seamlessly in highly dense areas, such as

classrooms, student unions and auditoriums.

Meru Networks’ virtualized wireless LAN solution delivers this

predictability to more than 1,100 schools and universities around

the world. Meru is the fi rst WLAN manufacturer to deliver a solution

that virtualizes its access points. This innovative approach is

more reliable and scalable, providing better performance with less

equipment than competing legacy microcell wireless networks.

Meru’s virtualized WLANs deliver many benefi ts:

Meru Networks delivers virtualized wireless networks to more

than 3,500 customers worldwide, including 1,100 customers in

the education marketplace. Meru’s scalable and cost-effective

wireless platform supports converged mission-critical video, voice,

and data applications — predictably and securely across campus,

including high-density areas such as classrooms, lecture halls, and

auditoriums. Visit www.merunetworks.com to learn more.

Meru’s virtualized WLANs provide the performance required

to support online learning initiatives in classrooms with 10 to 50

students, as well as in lecture halls with hundreds of students.

In fact, Meru conducted an industry-fi rst demonstration of its

unique WLAN 500 solution, delivering HD video, streaming

multicast video, VoIP and data to 500 client devices, simultaneously,

in a 500-square-foot area. The demonstration proved that

Meru’s virtualized WLAN solution supports highly dense areas,

with zero dropped clients and without the complexity inherent in

a microcell WLAN.

Meru provides all the features of a wired network, but with the

advantages of mobility and a signifi cantly lower cost of ownership.

It’s no wonder education is taking a closer look at wireless. Meru

networks are easier to implement and manage, deliver predictable

performance, and scale easily.

• Lower Costs: Installing and maintaining a Meru wireless network frees the budget for other projects. Meru requires less

equipment and less installation time than other systems.

• Up to 30 Percent Fewer Access Points: With Meru’s Air Traffi c Control technology, every access point can transmit at the

maximum power allowed by the FCC. Other systems use reduced power to minimize interference among numerous channels,

thus requiring more access points. With Meru, fewer access points mean lower costs for equipment and installation.

• Easy to Deploy and Manage: It takes just hours to install an entire Meru network. And once in place, it’s very dependable.

Set it and forget it.

• Add Capacity Easily: Adding access is easy. Simply install an access point, and it automatically comes online.

• Meru WLAN 500 — Scalable for High Density: Supports highly dense areas — 500 client devices in a 500-square-foot

area with zero service disruption.


Solution Spotlight: Tandberg

Extending Your

Educational Reach

Schools are under continuous pressure to deploy more

and more advanced technologies to keep up with

today’s learners. Schools must enable learning

experiences consistent with the constantly advancing

technological landscape in the work force, commerce

and social networks. Video communication is making

it possible — and Tandberg is leading the way.

Tandberg video communications help connect students with

endless educational opportunities via distance learning,

virtual fi eldtrips, archived podcasts of lectures and lessons,

virtual offi ce hours, clinical applications like speech therapy

and integrated video in online classrooms and newsfeeds.

Tandberg’s Grant Services Team offers

expert assistance to school districts

in locating and securing funding

opportunities. Tandberg consults with

school districts to provide information and

needs analysis to help ensure funding

success. For more information visit

www.tandberg.com/grantservices.

To learn more, download our

Distance Learning Video Guide at

www.tandberg.com/educationvideoguide.

Tandberg, now part of Cisco, provides a secure infrastructure

for robust video communication.

In addition, school districts can extend their budgets and

student reach by offering classes via video to students in

underserved or rural areas or to homeschooled students.

Students access teachers and subjects that they might not

otherwise have in a more traditional setting. Foreign languages,

advanced mathematics, and science and cultural history

courses can be taught to multiple campuses simultaneously.

Interactive video communication, remote access and airtight

security have become mandatory for schools that wish

to offer their students the best educational advantage.

Tandberg offers districts the secure, fl exible infrastructure

necessary to run cutting-edge distance learning programs.

Cisco TelePresence powers the new way of working, where everyone, everywhere

can be more productive through face-to-face collaboration. From the boardroom, to

the offi ce and customer-facing environments, and to the home, Cisco TelePresence

spans a complete, innovative endpoint portfolio, an integrated architecture,

any-to-any standards-based interoperability, and user-friendly features, such as

one-button-to-push and continuous presence.


Your Trusted Technology Partner

The world is changing and your network is becoming the platform for r all al all l communications, co communications, collaborations, and interactions.

As a result, you demand the most intelligent, integrated network solutions, and GovConnection works hard as your trusted

technology provider to meet your your needs.

Meeting your technology needs

through Cisco Gold Certification

As a Cisco ® Gold Certified Partner, GovConnection has

achieved the highest level of credibility and the broadest

range of expertise across multiple technologies. We have

acquired the following 8 advanced specializations:

Unified Communications

WebEx

Routing and Switching

Security

Wireless LAN Technologies

Data Center Storage Networking

Data Center Networking Infrastructure

Unified Computing System (UCS)

Cisco Gold Certification provides GovConnection access

to comprehensive sales, technical, and lifecycle services

training and support available from Cisco.

Gold Certification means we can better serve you

GovConnection achieved this elite status by heavily investing

in and training our highly skilled team in these technologies

and by consistently delivering measurably high levels of

customer satisfaction. In addition, we have trained our team in

Cisco’s proven Lifecycle Services methodologies and processes

for successfully delivering and supporting Cisco solutions.

GovConnection’s team of Account Managers—which includes

many Cisco Sales Experts—is supported by a dedicated

group of Cisco Certified professionals and experts (CCIE) on

staff. Drawing on the experience of our professional services

engineers and project managers, we offer services including

project scoping, solutions development, best practices

advisement, implementation support, vendor liaison

support, product demonstrations, technology

assessments, and more.

Call Your Account Manager Today 1.800.800.0019 www.govconnection.com

©2010 GovConnection, Inc. All rights reserved. GovConnection is a registered trademark of PC Connection, Inc. or its subsidiaries. All copyrights and trademarks remain the property of their respective

owners. Our Sales Policy—All sales subject to published GovConnection Terms of Sale or applicable federal, state, or local Government contracts or acquisition regulations. See Our Sales Policy at

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