Real World DMaaS Experience: Simplifying Edge Computing

It’s the practical experiences of users that count, so I’m always interested when customers take time to participate in case studies. For that reason, the Bainbridge Island School System in Washington State story caught my eye. The case study is told by Alan Silcott who is responsible for ensuring access to information systems for 4,000 students and their teachers at the island’s 9 schools. Silcott discusses how Data Center Management-as-a-Service (DMaaS) has significantly improved his visibility across these remote sites and allows his small team to improve the availability of critical education assets in a place where severe storms and power outages are common occurrences.

The Uptime Issue for Bainbridge Island Digital Classrooms

On Bainbridge Island, the traditional classroom is a digital classroom. This means that IT and connectivity services must be reliably delivered across a widely distributed network in 11 different school buildings. Teachers rely on web-based teaching tools, students use Chrome books and iPads, and staff members depend on IP phones. It’s exactly the sort of distributed environment DMaaS was designed for.

Since downtime is a source of major disruption for both students and teachers, a decision was made to equip all facilities with Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS). They also installed battery back-up with enough runtime to ride through any glitches in the utility supply.

In addition, on-premise data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software was installed to help supervise the network infrastructure. However, this meant that even a small flicker in the utility supply caused the large number of UPSs to generate email notifications to the team. This flood of data made it difficult for Silcott’s team to identify whether all IT devices were safely online or not. Monitoring became a cumbersome task often entailing remote troubleshooting outside of regular working hours.

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How DMaaS Benefits Bainbridge Island School

To minimize the threat of disruption and keep the schools running smoothly, Silcott and his team needed a convenient, simple and reliable way to monitor the system. Since the majority of the school’s physical infrastructure is from Schneider Electric, Silcott was attracted to its recently introduced EcoStruxure IT Expert Mobile Insights.

The new app uses cloud-based software to pull all device data, irrespective of vendor, and make it available from a single source. As a result, Silcott and his team simply refer to their phones for easy access to all devices connected to their network. Importantly, all alarms are consolidated according to relevance, so the team can focus on affected devices and address problems quickly and efficiently.

In addition, the team can also text the Schneider Electric tech support people with questions. These conversations are recorded for future reference and access. Subsequently, Alan Silcott has also engaged Schneider Electric’s Service Bureau to give him hassle free support in managing the power stability of the Bainbridge Island central data center.

Everyone likes a story with a happy ending, and in this case, DMaaS has not only reduced after-hours monitoring and troubleshooting work to minutes instead of hours, but Silcott also gets enhanced peace of mind for IT and admin staff. He knows that Schneider Electric Service Bureau experts are monitoring the data center, ensuring Certainty in a Connect World. Best of all, Silcott says, “That gives me more time to spend with my own family.”

Learn more about Bainbridge Island School District’s story and discover how DMaaS can simplify and optimize data center and distributed IT operations. To access additional data center management trends, please follow me on Twitter.

 

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