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Education Featured Article

September 20, 2012

NCDPI Selects SAS to Secure Data, Modernize Systems and Reduce Costs of Education Institutions

By Calvin Azuri, TMCnet Contributor

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) recently announced that SAS (News - Alert) will help it to consolidate and house data from various school districts in the state to develop new and advanced systems, greater data protection, and substantial cost savings for leading education institutes.

SAS is a premier provider of business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market.

The company, a hosting service provider for the North Carolina Education Cloud (NCEdCloud), will now house servers for supporting critical business functions of the local education agencies (LEA).

“Local education authorities should save significant money by eliminating costs associated with physical ownership of these devices,” said Phil Emer, director of Technology Planning and Policy at North Carolina State University’s Friday Institute. “While LEAs will control business operations performed by these servers, the hardware and the data will be in a safer environment.”

The NCEdCloud is expected to ensure that K-12 education across the state is supported over robust server infrastructure. A portion of the $500 million in federal funding will support the deployment of the NCEdCloud, which will essentially drive the shift from LEA-hosted server infrastructure to cloud-hosted Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

Individually, each LEA owns and maintains a separate IBM (News - Alert) iSeries (AS/400) server. However, NCDPI research revealed that LEAs on an average spend approximately $25,000 annually in obtaining iSeries hardware and operation system licensing.

By consolidation and housing data, LEAs will benefit from savings of $10,000-$15,000 a year. The freed-up funds can then be directed towards more deserving LEA programs.

This figure is of course subjective based on factors such as purchase price of hardware and annual support agreements.

The new cloud-hosted infrastructure will feature data center locations to ensure reductions in costs while LEAs benefit from a more reliably robust, stable and secure platform. The servers will be placed in high-security data center facility with adequate power backup and redundant network connections.

Twenty LEAs have been included in the start-up phase of the iSeries consolidation. An LEA leveraging the centralized SAS systems during the pilot phase will be provided with a year of free hosting at SAS.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker

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