c e n t e r f o r d i g i ta l e d u c at i o n ’ s
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
Vice President, Education Strategic Programs
Center for Digital Education
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
Premise ................................................................... 3
Executive Summary.............................................. 4
Key IT Infrastructure Issues in
Academic Environments...................................... 6
Options for Tight Budgets................................ 9
Technology Categories for K-12 and
Higher Education................................................ 12
What is the Cloud?......................................... 19
What is in the Future?........................................ 30
Resources and Processes for a Healthy
Academic Infrastructure ................................ 31
Glossary ................................................................ 36
engage learn collaborate
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
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
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
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
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 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
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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
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
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
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
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
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
Options for Tight Budgets
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?”
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
• 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
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.
are the receptionists of
the infrastructure. Much
like receptionists receive
and send messages to
the appropriate person,
transmit messages sent
over long distances to the
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
like mail carriers deliver
letters and packages to
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
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
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.
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
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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
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ken Clark — dIsTrICT TeChnology CoordInaTor, bonner sprIngs/
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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.
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-
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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.
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
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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
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
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
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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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
• 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
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
Jason harrIson — dIreCTor of IT, dallasTown area
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
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
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
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 &
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
• 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
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
• 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
• 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
• Provide a flexible budget process to properly
meet evolving needs
• Provision for operational expenditures that address
• fund professional development and it training
• apply for and leverage grants for technology
• look for opportunities to cooperate on infrastructure
initiatives to save money
• utilize outsourced services when appropriate to
gain expertise and cut costs
• get executive leadership that supports process
change made possible by technology
• involve it executives in developing campus
• 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
• 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
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
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
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.
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.
Content Addressable Storage is a mechanism
that provides better data storage integrity and
accessibility by tracking stored data with unique
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, passed in 1986,
makes it a federal crime to hack into federal or
financial institution computer systems.
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 is the process of moving computer
operations — including software and storage — to a
centralized server rather than having it reside on the
This term is used to define how data storage can be
maximized by eliminating redundant or duplicated
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
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
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
A firewall is either embedded software or a specially
purposed appliance that blocks unauthorized users
and prohibits access to content on a network.
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 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.
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.
Network-Attached Storage provides file-based
storage and access to a wide set of users connected to
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.
A Post Branch Exchange is the on-premise telephony
switch that has traditionally served campuses with
their desktop dial tone services.
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.
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.
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).
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.
A storage area network is a software-enabled
network of storage devices that act as a single entity
attached to a local operating system.
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.
Service level agreements are contracts with service
providers to meet specific performance criteria.
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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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
• 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
• 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
• Scalability: Easily move up to the more comprehensive
HP Managed Print Services agreement whenever
• Security: HP Access Control Secure Pull Printing with
PIN Authentication improves security of your printing
environment by allowing you to restrict services to
• 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
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
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
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
• 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
• interoperability with Windows, so schools get the benefi ts
of RHEL without having to replace Windows tools, such as
• developed security features with the U.S. government’s
National Security Agency, for multi-level security and rolebased
adapt to changing needs in the education environment and reduce
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
• 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.
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
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
• 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
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
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
• 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
• Symantec Web Gateway fi lters inappropriate
content, phishing sites, viruses and other malicious
• 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+
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.
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
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
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
✓ 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.
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:
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
• Protecting against malware and preventing network
• Keeping networks protected from inside and
• 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
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
To learn more, download our
Distance Learning Video Guide at
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:
Routing and Switching
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
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