Sep 06 2023
Data Center

HCI vs. Cloud Storage: Exploring What K–12 Schools Can Do with Their Data

Uncover how hyperconverged infrastructure and cloud solutions can benefit IT professionals modernizing their K–12 data centers.

As technology becomes more integrated into learning and teaching, IT must evolve from a support function to a strategic partner in driving learning innovation. 

Modernizing K–12 data infrastructure to enhance efficiency, agility and robustness becomes mission critical with limited IT resources. The use of cloud-based technology in schools has grown more complex and widespread, giving way to various methods to protect private student data in the cloud.

Many schools have embraced hyperconverged infrastructure and cloud storage, seeking to upgrade their IT infrastructure for enhanced computing power, administrative simplicity and resource efficiency. But how do these technological solutions differ in supporting K–12 schools?

Click the banner to explore the world of cloud storage for your K–12 school.

How Does Hyperconverged Infrastructure Help K–12 Schools?

Hyperconverged infrastructure refers to a software-defined storage method that integrates components such as storage, computing, networking and administration. HCI enables schools to handle different infrastructure operations from a single control panel.

Hyperconverged infrastructure is a natural next step in data center modernization. With HCI, K–12 IT leaders can accelerate critical applications, such as relational databases, and scale to suit unique application needs while future-proofing their IT system.

This also allows schools to reduce the size of their data centers and the costs associated with procuring and maintaining traditional hardware equipment. Because of built-in failover capabilities, HCI can also help reduce the time and expense necessary for software upgrades and hardware replacement.

With the greater control offered by HCI, tech leaders can monitor their data center footprint to increase and stabilize the performance rate inside the school’s IT department.

LEARN MORE: Follow these best practices to deploy HCI in your school system.

However, hyperconverged infrastructure doesn’t replace cloud storage. Both have distinct characteristics and are capable of meeting schools’ various needs.

What Is Cloud Storage, and How Does It Work for K–12 Schools?

With cloud storage, users can access files and data stored in a remote location using the internet or through a specialized private network connection. These services, such as those offered by Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, are more affordable and scalable than on-premises hard drives and storage networks.

End-user spending on public cloud services is expected to reach $600 billion in 2023, with spending increasing at a 20 percent annual rate, according to research from Gartner.

Because the provider hosts, manages, secures and maintains the servers and related infrastructure, school personnel can access needed data more easily. This also means that teachers and students can access instructional resources from any device with internet access, which supports anytime, anywhere learning.

That enables K–12 teachers to provide customized learning experiences in virtually any location, while cloud solutions guarantee security, developmental scalability and cost-saving advantages.

The flexibility of cloud computing is notable, but it still has its own challenges. The specialized skill sets needed to build and deploy apps on public clouds differ from those of typical IT teams, which further specialize in data that is already highly segregated.

DISCOVER: How can school districts successfully shift to the cloud?

Schools must consider several criteria when selecting the best cloud deployment. Although public and private cloud models are popular, hybrid and multicloud options can offer greater control for K–12 institutions. 

What Are Hybrid Cloud vs. Multicloud Models in K–12 Data Centers?

Hybrid clouds always incorporate a private cloud and are typically administered as a single entity. A hybrid cloud deployment that includes numerous public clouds is also known as a multicloud deployment. A multicloud system always incorporates more than one public cloud service. They don’t have to have a private cloud component, but they can, in which case a model can be both multicloud and hybrid cloud. As a result, the names are occasionally used interchangeably, although they mean significantly different things.

Depending on their chosen model, K–12 institutions can scale their computing resources in response to demand. This allows schools to expand storage capacity during peak usage periods, such as during multimedia-intensive activities or online assessments. This adaptability helps optimize resource allocation and adjust to changing educational needs.

journey to the cloud toc


HCI vs. Cloud: What Differentiates Schools’ Data Storage?

Although they complement each other, cloud computing and hyperconverged infrastructure are separate concepts. 

Cloud computing delivers the flexibility and operational efficiency that today’s K–12 environments require. With HCI, IT teams can integrate on-premises infrastructure with cloud capabilities to create a cohesive hybrid system. HCI supports public, private and hybrid clouds, enabling schools to modernize their data centers as they see fit.

The tightly secured, hyper-integrated building components of HCI provide a dependable and stable working environment. Moreover, it offers proper data protection and centralized data administration in instances of massive data workloads.

This can be combined with cloud computing, which helps schools scale over time without significant investments in IT infrastructure every few years. Disaster recovery and automated backups in the cloud additionally ensure that any potential downtime is kept to a minimum. A school’s technological systems can be operated more cost-effectively with lower license payments.

Many companies have experience combining HCI with cloud computing. IT admins can turn to professionals at companies such as Nutanix and VMware for help with the transition.

In the K–12 ecosystem, HCI and cloud storage play distinct roles. The key is to fit the technology to the use case rather than trying to replace HCI with the cloud or avoid the cloud for HCI. It’s essential for K–12 IT leaders and administrators to embrace this technological transition and invest in modernizing school infrastructure with cutting-edge solutions that will benefit both educators and students.

Take the journey toward data center modernization for your K-12 school.

Illustration by Sey Yassine

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