Hoosic Valley Central School District in New York State

CDW-G, HP, and Aruba deliver unified networking with performance, scalability, and availability at the right price.

When Jeffrey Hoag, Systems Administrator of Hoosic Valley Central School District, New York, was asked to update the Board of Education on the state of the technology and network infrastructure, he jumped at the opportunity.

“Our Cisco network is more than a decade old, and—while I can’t predict the future—I knew that we needed a mobile-first infrastructure,” explains Hoag. “We have to support connectivity for over a 1000 students and staff, new eLearning tools, streaming media, and—eventually—BYOD.”

Refreshing an aging infrastructure

With over 400 computers spread across three district buildings, support for Castle Learning Online, the introduction of Google Chromebooks, and expansion on the horizon for online testing, putting the right network in place was critical to the school district. As soon as the Board of Education approved the upgrade, Hoag contacted CDW-G to ask them to design the network and submit comparative quotes based on equipment from two of the industry-leading vendors. The comparable builds each included stackable switches and full redundancy, integration with the Cisco telephony system, and support for a 10GB fiber-optic backbone with the ability to scale to 40GB and 100GB in the future.

With a restricted budget and dependence on government grants to complete the project, Hoag was also conscious of the need to keep costs to a minimum without compromising the school district’s requirements.

Aruba … “a no-brainer”

“When CDW said that they could provide us with a robust HP Networking solution at almost half the cost of the competitive bid, it was a no-brainer. We jumped at the opportunity,” says Hoag, adding, “We haven’t been disappointed.”

All of the previous legacy equipment was replaced by new Aruba 10GbE across the campus and 1GbE to the desktop. The Aruba 2920 and 3800 switches provided the scalability and performance needed to support the school’s media-rich, bandwidth-intensive applications.

High-performance unified networking

When CDW-G said that they could provide us with a robust HP Networking solution at almost half the cost of the competitive bid, it was a no-brainer. We jumped at the opportunity. We haven’t been disappointed.
Jeffrey Hoag, Systems Administrator, Hoosic Valley Central School District, New York

And with HP’s acquisition of Aruba Networks, what originally started off as two separate network projects soon merged into one. With some Aruba access points (APs) already installed in the elementary school, the wireless network has been expanded to include the high school with Aruba’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi access points for a converged campus network with the latest multi-gigabit wireless technology. The affordable and multifunctional 200-series 802.11ac APs are easy to deploy with Zero Touch Provisioning, and maximize mobile device performance in medium-density Wi-Fi environments.

“The results have definitely met our expectations—if not exceeded them,” says Hoag. “To test the network, we started streaming a movie on a laptop in the elementary school and walked across to the high school without any interruption whatsoever. That was kind of cool. Our network is now faster, easier to connect to, and our users more satisfied than ever before.”

A tailor-made solution

One of the key differentiators was the ease with which the solution came together. “We sent the building plans to CDW-G and they came back with the two designs that we had asked for. We had to make a couple of tweaks, but nothing significant,” says Hoag.

“For the wireless network we did the same thing. Within a few days CDW-G came back with Aruba heat and channel maps that provided a guide for positioning the APs to maximize performance and coverage,” adds Hoag. “What really impressed me was that we weren’t forced into deploying a solution designed for a much larger school district. CDW-G, Aruba, and HPE listened to our needs. We got the solution that’s right for us.”

A seamless solution with significant cost savings

CDW

As the administrator, Hoag’s life has also been made easier with Aruba AirWave. “I can manage everything from a single-pane-of-glass, and integration between our firewall and the Aruba APs enables simplified, proactive management that allows me to address issues before they arise,” says Hoag. “We’ve also saved a significant amount of money. We’ve been able to consolidate and simplify our wiring closets, and our network support costs have been halved. In addition, the entire upgrade was accomplished without any downtime. That’s exactly what I wanted.”

District tax payers are the real winners

Hoag summed it up: “I believe that the burden for district tax payers has been reduced by the decisions we’ve made. We’ve future-proofed our environment and can scale easily as demands increase. Unified networking from HP and Aruba provides our staff and students the access they need to make the most of the learning experience. Along with CDW-G, they’ve proved to be trusted advisors that I can depend on to meet the future needs of the school district.”

 
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