May 03 2019

3 Ways to Ensure New K–12 Digital Infrastructure Fits

Schools interested in digital innovation will need to make sure their physical infrastructure can handle the new digital one.

While K–12 schools are working to guarantee their data is secure, educational IT experts are raising concerns over the safety and accessibility of physical IT infrastructure in schools. 

Limited space means schools are often forced to store essential technology alongside other items, such as physical education equipment and janitorial supplies

As the use of technology in education grows, schools may want to revisit infrastructure strategies to ensure critical technology is securely housed. Below are suggestions for optimizing technology space and storage in schools.

MORE FROM EDTECH: Check out how the physical layout of a learning space can affect classroom management.

1. Evaluate Your Space for Storage Opportunities

Technology does not need to be placed in one central location. Consider organizing your physical space so technology use is seamless throughout the school. 

For example, libraries are often large, open spaces and can be easily transformed into computer laboratories. Classrooms are another great place to store technology and provide immediate access to teachers and students. 

Sleek, compact charging carts hold tablets and Chromebooks while taking up little space. Smaller carts are the perfect storage for countertops, while wheeled carts can be placed anywhere in the room. 

Don’t have enough space on the ground? Wall-mounted charging stations are a great way to create a more open classroom. 

2. Optimize Your Equipment for the Space You Have

Investing in smaller, more powerful hardware can be an excellent way to reduce the footprint of technology infrastructure without sacrificing any functionality.

Upgraded network storage solutions can help to meet storage needs while occupying less space. Using hybrid flash arrays for data backup and storage can optimize space while increasing efficiency, and uses significantly less power than traditional hard disk drives. 

These compact options create cost-effective solutions and free up vital space as infrastructure needs continue to grow. 

After experiencing a critical storage crash, Missouri’s Mehlville School District invested in IntelliFlash arrays and found it to be the perfect solution. 

“IntelliFlash arrays enable the transformation of an institution’s IT infrastructure, delivering lightning-fast performance and high levels of availability at a cost that’s one-third of traditional storage arrays,” according to a case study

MORE FROM EDTECH: See how flash storage is driving digital innovation in K–12 schools.

3. Send Infrastructure Needs to the Cloud

In-house data centers require regular maintenance and dedicated space and can cause security concerns. Schools can avoid the need to purchase hardware for storage and compute power by investing in cloud-based solutions

Cloud providers offer secure, offsite compute and storage, mitigating the need for in-house data centers. Not only does cloud storage address limited space needs, but it also simplifies the IT infrastructure because everything can be accessed in one place. 

Teachers and students can centralize educational resources at any time in a seamless manner. A cloud-based model also means that “schools don’t have the expenses associated with server room cooling, electric, and maintenance, which can get very costly, especially in warm-climate states,” according to the Center for Educational Excellence

Cloud solutions can also be much more budget-friendly. Many schools will find they do not need to invest as much in expensive, space-consuming hardware as there are cloud offerings that will provide them with the same functionality at a fraction of the cost.

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