Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) ranks among the largest public education systems in the U.S., with 67,000 students across 67 schools—and we’re continuing to grow, adding nearly 1,000 new students a year. While our large size may seem daunting, we’ve been recognized at every level, from state governments all the way to the White House, for our leading role in transforming education through technology.

We’re using technology to give our K-12 students greater choice in what, how, and where they learn by integrating digital learning that supports their interests. Such implementation has led to improved grades, test scores, and graduation rates, and more of our students are going on to attend college.

But our road to revolutionizing the way educators teach and how students learn did not come without its set of challenges. Our mission to give students a leg up on the road to entering a highly educated workforce includes introducing computer coding to kindergartners through play to providing high school students with impactful internships by partnering with local businesses.

Such a dedication to the growth of student learning, across all grades and ages, required an IT infrastructure that could deliver the performance and capacity needed by both physical and virtual environments to drive this collaboration and innovation.

Aging IT Infrastructure Limits Growth

An aging and inflexible storage area network (SAN) was holding us back from realizing the full potential of digital learning and integration. District school websites were often slow, resulting in frustrated users and triggering the need for support calls. We transitioned e-mail to the cloud to allow some leeway, but it wasn’t enough, as our resources were nearly exhausted.

Complex, expensive and slow tape-based backup and recovery systems also proved difficult for our IT team to manage. It could take up to 32 hours to complete full backups of our critical administrative file server, and local restoration required a day to clone from tape. Equally time-consuming were recovery tests for off-site tapes—a plane ride was required to the contracted provider, coupled with countless hours to simply find and restore a single file.

Without a more powerful, flexible, and efficient storage infrastructure, our goal of furthering sustainable operations and scholastic excellence faced significant hurdles.

(Next page:  7 characteristics for successful IT infrastructure)

About the Author:

Dr. Tim Harper is the CIO at Seminole County Public Schools.