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Universities have multiple ways to meet escalating capacity needs

By Max Burkhalter
July 27, 2015

Public colleges and universities are great places to party, but they may not be the easiest environment for data center management. That's because IT teams are asked to manage a constantly growing and shifting student body, along with a great deal of other important pieces of administrative and academic information. With greater capacity needs come higher costs, but state funding checks won't be around the corner anytime soon. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, over a dozen states cut funding to their institutions last year.

Thankfully, there are multiple cost-effective strategies that public schools and universities can deploy in order to beef up their data center without adding too many extra costs. Reviewing a few of these strategies directly could give your own school a jolt in the right direction. Read on to learn which solutions would be a good fit for your campus.

IT plays a more important role on college campuses than ever before.IT plays a more important role on college campuses than ever before.

IT pros need a grip on the network's vulnerabilities and weaknesses
CIO noted that university IT teams should start their capacity upgrades by first performing a detailed evaluation of the current network's strengths and weaknesses. After all, you'll need to successfully monitor usage, identify where energy fluctuations are occurring and establish how space is being utilized in the center before on-site or third-party upgrades are introduced to expand data center capacity.

College data centers are incredibly complex systems that need careful planning when it comes to system upgrades. It's only a matter of time before it will come time to rescale the facility even further, so anticipating this inevitability by considering scale during your next purchase is another way to account for one of the system's weaknesses ahead of time.

Consolidation can reveal more cost-effective ways to proceed
Why update every data center on campus when the key to minimizing overall IT costs and offsetting the costs of new construction is consolidation? According to the University of California, UC Health's latest data center project utilized consolidation in an attempt to centralize the facility's IT strategy and prepare for the future - this less-is-more approach could be utilized by any institution that recognizes the need for increased storage capacity in the future and can locate instances of underutilized square footage in their data centers. Shrinking your square footage today ensures you can expand with fewer obstacles later down the road.

Modular data centers tout instantly deployable options
Modern modular data centers have become a blockbuster solution for businesses interested in expanding the scope of their facilities while avoiding the myriad complications that typically accompany an expansion. The same perks of deploying all-in-one, scalable architecture that have made the solution attractive to businesses can be utilized on public campuses as well.

By eliminating many of the start-up costs associated with expanding data center capacity, modular solutions also allow schools to get more data center for their money. The University of Montana was recently the beneficiary of this trend when the purchase of a modular data center allowed the school to update the performance of the school's IT services very rapidly.

"Fiber media converters help take much of the busy work out of network growth."

Media converters can be used to facilitate onsite expansions
Schools don't always need a comprehensive network expansion to facilitate a capacity upgrade. Sometimes all it takes is a reorganization of the data center and sufficient resources for extending your current infrastructure. Some schools have been able to increase the capacity of their data center operations by organizing new cabling layouts with fiber media converters. Whether their facility is in need of a copper to fiber or copper to copper connection, these converters can help take much of the busy work out of network growth.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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