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Alvarado Independent School District Upgrades Data Storage and Implements Virtualization

Alvarado Independent School District in Texas has improved the performance and efficiency of the district’s data storage while implementing a virtualized server environment and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). The district says it anticipates achieving a 100 percent virtualization environment within 18 months.

The school district’s legacy storage infrastructure could not meet the performance and scalability demands of the district’s rapidly growing virtualized IT environment. These limitations were affecting the ability of students and staff to access online resources quickly. The school district replaced its storage environment with EMC VNX unified storage and implemented the VMware vSphere virtualized server environment and VMware View VDI.

The upgrades have improved the performance and efficiency of the district’s IT infrastructure while accelerating its journey to cloud computing and helping the district manage costs. The new system is able to handle “boot surges” when hundreds of students access the EMC VNX storage infrastructure simultaneously. The district’s private cloud also enables students and staff to access virtual desktops from laptops, iPads, iPhones, or other devices, and IT staff can manage both the virtualized and physical server infrastructure and VDI through a single-pane view using EMC Unisphere. As a result, the district has reduced its IT costs and data center footprint while delivering more services to students.

"We currently provide a laptop to every student from 4th through 8th grade,” said Kyle Berger, executive director of technology services, Alvarado. “In our plans to expand our investment in program, we are working to make all of the laptops VDI enabled. Through the testing of this program, we learned that every time students change classes and powered up their laptops, hundreds of boots storm our infrastructure and there's an incredible activity spike. With EMC VNX and our 'FLASH 1st' strategy using FAST Cache, our storage infrastructure will simply absorb these surges without affecting users. VNX unified storage gives us a solid foundation so when that bell rings and the laptops come on, we're ready to teach our students."

Alvarado Independent School District is located in Alvarado, Texas. It serves 3,200 students from kindergarten to grade 12.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].