This was one of the worst cabling situations we had come across in awhile. Our company inherited this closet when we took over support. It got this way because they had more cabling in the building than they had switches, so whenever a port needed turned on they physically moved the wire in this rack. Over years of doing this, it turns into...a networking nightmare! All the panels were off on the sides, and the cable management systems were not being used. We were able to obtain a few more switches to do it right so we went to work. It took two engineers four days to complete this with the goal of keeping the building online and re-wiring over 320 drops. Below are the pictures at the end of each day. Day 1 we spent mapping every drop and moved active ports to a bank of switches out of the rack to keep operations alive. Day 2 we actually started the process of rebuilding the rack and continued through Day 3 until the final result on Day 4.
If you have a similar situation, we can help, we have been there!
Many Hats to Wear, Many Technologies to Master
School Districts today have all the aspects of running a medium to large business in terms of managed devices and network demands using a fraction of the staff to maintain it. Managing a school IT department can take a back seat after being pulled in many directions through each day.
School Technology Professionals Are Faced with Larger and more Complex Deployments
The larger the school, the more difficult it is to properly staff an in-house IT department. Supporting school technology is an ebb and flow of staff, systems and devices. At times, projects and task are almost caught up only to turn around and buried again, and that isn’t even a strong enough word…crushed depending on the time of year. Some days a team of 3 needs to be a team of 12. The deployments have gone from dozens to hundreds to thousands of devices in a matter of a few years and the stress from state testing requirements, curriculum application support, multiple OS platforms has made deployments even more challenging.
Consider Blended Managed Services
This is where outside services from IT providers can supplement the IT administration of school districts to help level out the demand from everyday support to providing resources to the largest initiatives. The goal here is not to replace the IT departments as many managed service companies have done, but rather provide support for one to many of the areas where your time is being taken away. This could be key in providing enough help to increase response times to staff, repair student and staff equipment, have higher level resources at your disposal to manage your various systems and network.
Support models through the years are ever changing, and no doubt they will continue. For schools, hundreds if not thousands of devices have become under management in single buildings and many more when considering an entire district. These are problems are usually found in large publicly traded companies with massive IT budgets and departments but many districts are run by one to a few people at best.
Blended Managed Services for districts may be an optimal situation because outside service providers cannot be everything to a district nor should it be. A fortune 500 company doesn’t oust the CIO and hand the reigns to an outside IT department but rather contract parts of the IT to outside contractors. We believe this blended model is well suited for schools. On the other hand, a district may not be interested nor have the budget for a large IT staff. The large swings in support demand, the enormous amount of technologies to master, having a backup to days off or simply need a team of people to implement a project. The end result will be more time dedicated helping teachers and students get the most out of the technology investment the district has made.
Vice President, Mobile Technical Services