SSDs Power Digital Transformation at K–12 Schools

The proper solid state drive can boost performance and support critical innovations.

As flash storage options continue to evolve, K–12 IT leaders have embraced the new storage arrays to reduce their data center footprints.

Though smaller than legacy infrastructure, districts, like Michigan's Jackson County Intermediate School District, have found that the capacities of the new drives have enabled faster performance.

Ongoing efforts to transform the digital learning environment in Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools are guided by a ­simple mantra: “Let us be a little better and a little different than we were yesterday,” says Vincent Scheivert, assistant superintendent of digital innovation.

To do that, here are some tips from the IT department for the northern Virginia district, which counts on flash-based storage arrays to support about 300 virtual servers running high-performance, critical applications, such as the student information system.

To Pick an SSD, Ask the Right Questions

An SSD preference is based on the benefits these devices bring to the school.

Says Sheivert, two of the most important questions to ask related to storage are:

  • Is the resource there when needed?
  • Does it work quickly?

“SSDs address both areas. We’re seeing higher availability because SSDs don’t have spindles that wear out,” he says. “In addition, there’s an overall improvement in performance compared with the spinning disks we use for Tier 2 storage.”

Find Balance Between Performance and Cost

Higher capacity SSDs are also helping the IT staff balance digital transformation efforts with budgetary realities.

“We love being able to reduce our storage footprint, both physical and carbon, as well as the ongoing operational costs, such as electricity and cooling expenses,” Sheivert says.

“This is huge for us because we see a continuous increase in demand for technology, but not in additional resources for building new data centers. High-density SSDs with a small footprint mean we can stay within the existing IT stack, while also ­dramatically increasing capacity,” he says.

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Jan 08 2018