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Central Valley School District Migrates to TierPoint

Introduction
Central Valley School District (CVSD) serves an 80-square mile area in Spokane Valley, Washington consisting of more than 12,600 students attending 22 schools and three learning centers. CVSD offers high quality academic and co-curricular programs for K-12 students, pre-school and a variety of learning support and highly-capable programs.

Faced with significant IT upgrade costs and tight budget constraints, Superintendent Ben Small needed to make decisions regarding the direction of IT spending for the next 5-10 years. After researching and presenting the options to the Board of Directors, it was agreed that migrating their physical systems, applications and data to the TierPoint cloud would not only save money but also improve application, network and security performance and capability to district staff, students and parents.

CVSD was faced with a decision to either upgrade server hardware and the environmental control systems of the data center operated at the district offices, or find an alternative that would cost less. This led CVSD to look at the cloud as a way to reduce the capital expenses related to hardware and software renewal, upgrade and licensing cycles, continue supporting the applications and systems with reduced IT staffing, quickly show an improved system experience for end-users and be able to accomplish a migration to the cloud in four weeks before the start of the school year.

CVSD knew it needed to find a partner that had the appropriate cloud infrastructure and systems to handle the District’s critical production applications and the proper personnel and skillset to manage the new environment.

CVSD met with and began evaluating cloud options with several cloud providers, ultimately choosing TierPoint, a recognized VMware vPowered service provider, due to operational experience, maturity, scalability, location and support.

“After touring the TierPoint owned data center facilities and meeting the organization’s management and engineering teams, it became clear that TierPoint was the cloud provider that made us feel we could successfully accomplish our objectives,” said Rob Curnow, Technology Services Supervisor, Central Valley School District.

TierPoint owns and operates state-of-the-art SAS70 and SSAE 16 certified data centers. The underlying cloud infrastructure provides the necessary redundancy for production workloads including A and B power feeds, highly available and diverse UPS and generators, high availability switches and firewalls, resilient 10 Gigabit iSCSI storage, multiple hosts for failure protection, and redundant Internet connectivity. TierPoint engineers have the experience and certifications to design, implement and operate network, security, storage and virtualization technology to meet any organizations needs and requirements.

TierPoint system engineers and security experts analyzed CVSD’s business requirements and existing infrastructure environment to put a migration plan in place. A total of 22 aging physical servers were converted to virtual equivalents. The conversion included multiple web, mail, database and education-specific applications all critical to daily operations.

A new network security architecture was implemented to provide increased network segmentation between applications, databases and users. Enhanced capabilities for web filtering, anti-virus, intrusion prevention, application control, data leak prevention, and secure remote access were also implemented to protect the cloud and end-users. High speed fiber connectivity was installed as a ring between district offices and the cloud to provide the necessary performance, redundancy and availability throughout the district.

The CVSD cloud is operated on the VMware vCloud Director platform providing a centralized platform for provisioning and management of virtual data centers and resources. TierPoint virtual data centers isolate, simplify and speed the creation and management of virtual data center resources such as CPU, memory, storage and networking of virtual servers configured through the vCloud Director self-service interface. This allows the increase or decrease of capacity as needed while paying only for what is used.

The implementation plan was carried out smoothly, efficiently and ontime. All district systems were operational before the first day of school.

While pricing wasn’t the only determining factor in CVSD’s decision, it played a large role. The solution provided a significant increase in IT scalability and quality of service while providing significant cost savings. “The move to TierPoint eliminates the expense of upgrading existing equipment every three to five years and allows our limited technology staff to focus on supporting our schools,” said Small. As new applications have been introduced, CVSD has been able to add and pay for only the capacity needed instead of spending limited funds to upgrade hardware and reducing software licensing headaches.

The outsourced management of the cloud environment has also allowed IT staff at CVSD to spend more time providing support more directly to students, teachers and staff and other important projects. The improvements gained in resource management will also allow more strategic IT planning to occur. Issue resolution and management has been enhanced to identify and mitigate application performance and configuration issues making a more stable experience for the end-users. And, the district data is more secure now than ever.

“We are very happy with the TierPoint cloud solution,” continued Curnow. “It has met and exceeded all the requirements we needed to accomplish. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with TierPoint.”

TierPoint’s proposal makes sense to me when you look at what is required to support our district infrastructure. We have more security and reliability with a resource like this.

Ben Small

Superintendent, Central Valley School District

AT A GLANCE

Industry
K-12 Public School District

Technology
Cloud Computing & Managed Services

Challenge
Keeping backend server
technology fresh and
affordable to keep
pace with the growth
of the district and its
technology needs.

Solution
Cloud-based services to
host all of the district’s
physical servers, web
filtering, intrusion
prevention, application
control, data leak
prevention and secure
remote access.

Results
The move to the cloud
significantly increased
the scalability of the
district’s IT services,
eliminating the need for
costly upgrades to both
hardware infrastructure
and software licenses.

Website
www.cvsd.org