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Best Practices for Well-Designed Education Data Centers

20 Apr 2016 by Heather Breedlove

“There will be significantly increased ‘cloud’ storage and computing, as most computing user interfaces will be distributed among mobile or wearable devices. On the other hand, some enterprise computing will always be necessary and may actually increase as more artificial intelligence functions are brought in-house for decision making and productivity,” according to the Data Center 2025 report by Emerson Network Power.

While the year 2025 is far into the future, many school districts and universities are making decisions today that are affecting how their data centers look and operate in the years to come. For instance, more than 2,000 superintendents have signed President Obama’s Future Ready Pledge since he implemented it in 2014, committing to transition their districts to “personalized, digital learning.”

How do educational institutions prepare their data centers for the demands of an ever-changing digital world of the future?

Pieces of the infrastructure puzzle

A coalition led by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the U.S. Department of Education and the LEAD Commission is one way. The initiative included 13 Future Ready regional summits across the nation to provide support for those districts and build a network of leaders.

Part of the support for those districts includes The Future Ready Schools Framework. “When employed as part of a comprehensive educational strategy, the effective use of technology provides the needed tools, resources, data and supportive systems that increase teaching opportunities and promote efficiency,” conforming to the framework elements that comprise a strong infrastructure.

The changing data center

 the problem 
smoothly,” as reported by the Guidelines for School System Chief Technology Officers through Consortium of School Networking (CoSN).

A solid infrastructure is invisible, providing the necessary support for educational institutions to serve both staff and students. School districts and universities are looking at the current function of the data centers and how they support the educational landscape. As recently as 2009, IT top priorities were heat density, compared to recent concerns of monitoring and infrastructure management, captured by a chart in the Data Center 2025 report.

Missing parts of the whole

“The promise of technology in the classroom is almost entirely dependent on reliable infrastructure. But in many parts of the country, schools still struggle to get affordable access to high-speed internet and/or robust wireless connectivity,” as this in-depth Education Week article shares.

While 77% of school districts were meeting the kbps/student goal for high-speed Wi-Fi in 2015 compared to 30% in 2013, 23% of school districts still do not have the bandwidth they need. That’s according to EducationSuperHighway’s 2015 State of the States report.

Enriching your education data center

A well-designed data center makes a differences for schools. But storing the information, securing it and making it useful for staff, teachers and students can be challenging without the right approach and correct tools. Download our Insight whitepaper, “Enriching Education Data Centers,” to learn steps districts can take to improve their IT infrastructures.