Using the HC3 cluster “hasn’t required a huge knowledge upgrade for myself and my staff,” Beck said. “Monitoring the server is basically just an extension of the interface we’re already using.”

He added: “Normally we would log into the [storage area network] just to manage the SAN, but now I can manage the SAN or manage the virtual server. I don’t have to launch a different tool or go to a different interface.”

Now that managing his schools’ virtual infrastructure is much simpler, Beck said he and his staff can increase the amount of support they give to users, because the time it takes to manage the system has been halved.

In a standard scenario, it could take several days for a school to set up virtualization infrastructure. But to deploy an HC3 cluster, schools merely need to stack the devices on a server rack and configure an individual IP address for each node.

“Within 15 minutes of getting them racked and stacked and configured, you’re copying data on there, so you can actually start creating virtual machines,” said Collier.

Davis noted that although everyone wants to improve technology in schools, “the question is, how do we get there? How do we afford it? And how do we sustain it once we buy it? It’s kind of like nailing Jell-O to the wall.”

But with HC3, “I really believe in the technology,” he said. “It makes the architecture—for storage, for virtualization—much simpler than … what everyone else is doing.”


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