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Remember what you’ve learned: data storage for schools

As education becomes more and more digital, education CIOs at all levels are faced with an ever-expanding network of desktops, servers, notebooks, mobile devices and digital education and research tools. In addition to requirements around governance, security, deployment, maintenance, and training, these tools typically generate enormous amounts of data. Multimedia information is becoming more prevalent as video, VR and other technologies enter schools. But this information is only useful if it can be efficiently captured and made available to teachers and students as required. Typical challenges education IT managers face include:
  • disparate systems across differ faculties
  • legacy analogue and digital data stores not integrated
  • storage systems reaching capacity and lacking scale
  • personal devices used by staff and students
  • rising use of mobile and cloud-based apps
  • limited discovery of stored data.

This last point is quite pertinent for education CIOs. Collecting multimedia information has never been easier but classifying it and making it available for teaching and learning poses a new set of challenges.

Finding the right storage solution

Legacy storage systems will likely need to be supplemented – or in some cases, replaced – with modern options that offer greater flexibility and capacity. Key factors to consider when planning for a multimedia education platform include:

  • Scalability: Can the system scale both capacity and I/O? This is important for virtual desktop hosting on campus.
  • Software-defined storage: Software-defined storage tends to be more flexible than hardware-only systems, so skill up for a software-defined future and compare the total cost of ownership of a software-defined option with servers and appliances.
  • Integration: What are the integration options? Take the opportunity to break down silos and make sure education apps and end-points can discover and retrieve the raw data.
  • Cloud services: Most education data, particularly multimedia, is likely to be hosted on-premises, however, modern storage should be able to talk to cloud services when the need arises. For example, many education institutions now use cloud-based email systems, which can lead to fragmented data if it is not discoverable. Cloud is now an option to consider.

The digitization of education has brought with it a raft of storage challenges for CIOs and the rise of the connected student (and classroom) is making multimedia a central teaching method and technology. The good news is there are now more storage options that can improve efficiencies, make your infrastructure run better, and ensure the learning experience is not stymied by poor access to data.