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School Districts Adopt Brocade's Stackable FCX Switches
School Districts Adopt Brocade's Stackable FCX Switches
By Mark Long / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus

Brocade is helping school districts in California, Missouri and South Carolina upgrade their IT networks to achieve substantial cost-savings by taking advantage of the latest technologies built into the company's entire range of FCX switches.

The goal of Brocade's new "effortless network" initiative is to help the IT departments at schools across the nation -- which have traditionally focused on supporting data -- deal with new challenges, such as streaming video, virtual desktops and unified communications, as well as providing support for personal devices and delivering anytime, anywhere access.

"Our students don't want access to just the server -- they want access to the world," said Cathi Eredia, interim director of technology at El Monte Union High School District in Southern California.

To make this possible, Brocade's entire range of stackable FCX switches are now powered by HyperEdge technology that delivers new levels of automation and simplification in campus LANs. According to Brocade, HyperEdge is all about "simplifying network management and paying for only what you need today while enabling you to add seamless capacity and functionality as your needs grow."

Economy Without Sacrificing Functionality

Among other things, HyperEdge automatically consolidates the management of all campus access devices to a single IP address, which makes it easier for schools to roll out new security access policies.

"Instead of manually reconfiguring each device or configurable stack, HyperEdge technology allows you to update user ports across the campus with just a single command," Brocade said in a HyperEdge technology video overview.

With most state governments sharply focused on reducing their annual budgets, school districts are also struggling to do more with less money than in the past. At the Fort Mill School District in South Carolina, for example, the student size has doubled to more than 10,500 in the past decade -- even as the district's range of technology needs has greatly expanded.

What's more, the performance-to-value ratio has become a prime concern, said Fort Mill School District Director of Technology Tom Queen.

"We need networks that work quickly and are simple to configure and troubleshoot," Queen said. "We want high performance, not high maintenance."

Using HyperEdge technology, school district network administrators can mix and match premium and entry-level in a single stack and then vary the mix as their requirements change -- in other words, economy without sacrificing functionality, according to Brocade. The entry-level devices automatically inherit the functionality of the premium devices.

Policy Issues

Through the addition of six Brocade FCX stackable switches, the Fort Mill District's network will be covering six out of 13 schools by the middle of this year. What's more, the district is also considering the addition of Brocade's MLX family of routers, Server Iron ADX family of high-performance application delivery switches and the VDX family of Ethernet fabric switches.

The Washington School District in Missouri has already implemented a network featuring Brocade FCX switches and has added a Brocade MLX router for the network core and Brocade VDX switches for prioritizing services. Moreover, the district has implemented Brocade Mobility wireless controllers for centralized wireless management together with wireless Brocade Mobility access points.

Policies are unique to every school district and higher education institution, which means that many factors -- such as risk tolerance, budget and strategic institutional goals -- will come into play, said Brocade Product Marketing Manager Patrick LaPorte.

"We advise our customers to evaluate and deploy best-in breed security solutions that integrate seamlessly with our open, high performance, and reliable wired and wireless networks," LaPorte said in an e-mail Thursday. "The end result for our customers is a dependable BYOD solution to deliver the highest quality education to their students via any preferred device."

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