Gulf Coast District Gets Disaster-Ready


Gulf Coast District Gets Disaster-Ready

Tom Petry, network technology coordinator for the District School Board of Collier Countyin Naples, FL, prepares for the worst by opting for the best..


...Data protection and integrity
Disaster recovery is now at the forefront of most backupplans, including our own district’s; we understand the needfor the continuous protection of student data. Thisincludes everything from the applications our studentsuse, to reports, projects, and homework they create andsave on a daily basis.
…A highly reliable data center
A reliable data center to house our district’s storagearrays, servers, and network equipment is of paramountimportance to ensure an adequate disaster-recoveryplan. Unfortunately, many school districts don’t have afacility adequate to house this important data and providemission-critical services to students and teachers.Consequently, services are often down, which takes awayprecious instruction time from educators.
…Protection from catastrophic disaster
Building a reliable data center is also necessary, in orderto provide protection for your equipment. Unfortunately, nomatter how resilient a data center is at one location, itcannot provide protection from a catastrophic event suchas a natural disaster or fire. The need to establish anotherlocation that can service data center needs is critical.
…A high-speed network
To implement a solid disaster-recovery system between twodata center locations, we knew a high-speed network had tobe implemented. This will allow information to be syncedbetween the two sites, as well as users to be served fromthe disaster-recovery facility.


HP, HDS, Cisco
Our tech department determined that the best way to provideprotection for student data is to utilize continuous replicationfrom one location to another. We’re implementingstorage area network products from Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, andCisco Systems to do this for us.
APC, Cummins
Our district decided that the existing data center was unreliableand inadequate for serving the needs of students andteachers. After extensive evaluation, and based on the reliabilityand scalability of the solution, we chose a complete APC InfraStruXure system. We’ll now be ableto meet exponential growth needs and maintain a highly reliablenetwork through the use of dedicated uninterruptiblepower supply (UPS) units and A/C air handlers, in additionto a dedicated generator (Cummins)and A/C chiller unit.
Redundant data center, APC
Having our data center located in one main facility was aserious weakness. So, as our redundant data center, wechose a resilient new high school—a Category 5 facility (towithstand Category 5 hurricanes) that’s inland, safe fromstorm surges. The tech department is adding storage arraysand servers there to provide quick recovery in the event of afailure in the main data center. From this data center, thedistrict will also provide storage and application services toreduce the daily load on the main facility. We’ll use APCequipment in this facility, as in the main data center.
Alcatel, Cisco
Our district is implementing a fiber-optic network that wewill completely own, operate, and control ourselves. Thenetwork connection between the two locations will initiallybe 20Gbps and can be easily upgraded as additional bandwidthis needed. The network will utilize fiber-optic cablingfrom Alcatel and network equipment fromCisco Systems.

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This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2006 issue of THE Journal.