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Storage Solutions Enable Education IT Modernization

by Jackie Davis

With the vast amount of information that educational institutions are responsible for growing, Higher Education and K-12 school systems are embarking on digital transformation journeys. This effort to store, protect, and analyze data is driving academic institutions to implement technologies that are scalable and secure.

For Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, a storage solution was needed that would enable data to be shared in various locations. When a hurricane was headed towards the city, the Corpus Christi research center used Red Hat storage solutions to secure their scientific data. A mirror of this information was previously shared with the University of Texas at Austin to keep the data safe during a natural disaster.

“Data is the lifeblood of an organization,” said John Call, Red Hat’s Domain Architect for Storage. The education sector should look for “a solution that checks all the boxes. It should be scalable, performant, and resilient to meet the needs of future ventures.”

Student information, university research, and online courses are just a few areas creating data for educational institutions. When coupled with financial information and medical records, institutions are finding that they are rapidly outgrowing not only their storage capacity, but also the ability of their IT teams to manage the data, said Call.

“Data storage solutions that customers have today may not be cut out for their current and future applications” he said. With many applications and systems available, it’s important that schools choose a secure and flexible storage solution.

This modernization aligns with the priorities of the U.S. Department of Education, which is two years into a five to eight year modernization plan to lower costs and bolster security. “We have modernized our entire IT infrastructure whether it’s from a hosting environment or network environment or endpoint environment. We have transitioned and modernized all IT services that we provide here,” said Jason Gray, the Education Department’s chief information officer.

While it’s clear that an innovative solution is needed across the education sector for these vast amounts of data, many institutions don’t know where to start. Red Hat’s John Call highlights that moving on from legacy systems is a good first step. “Legacy systems don’t provide the same amount of safety that newer solutions do.” With state-of-the-art storage solutions, institutions can mitigate risk “with improved redundancy and resiliency. The glaring risk of legacy systems is that they don’t support the cloud-native storage method that developers want, and schools need.”

“Traditional data storage has all eggs in one basket,” said Call. As organizations throughout the public sector adopt new technologies and grow the data pool, storing information is critical and plays directly into how the institution functions.

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