Learning institutions at every level, especially colleges and universities, are suddenly faced with transitioning from in-person classes to enabling remote learning for large populations of end users. Students and faculty need simple access to online classrooms, applications, and collaboration tools for real-time interactive communications. Participants must be able to log on and off with just a few clicks, review modules and videos, interact with each other, download assignments and upload finished projects with ease. But it takes a lot of work behind the firewall for IT to bring cloud-based online learning to frontline participants in the virtual classroom.

Many higher education institutions use Dell PowerStore solutions to effectively address their data storage needs. PowerStore delivers scalable, unified storage (physical or virtual, file-based, or container-based) to provide a data-centric, intelligent, and adaptable infrastructure supporting both traditional and modern workloads. PowerStore supports autonomous, consistent operations with programmable infrastructure that enables automation and DevOps by streamlining development environments and automating end-to-end workflows.

But following a traditional networking approach for PowerStore can make deployment complex and error prone due to time-consuming manual configuration operations, offsetting the very advantages for deploying modern data-centric workloads. Enter Dell SmartFabric Services.

Modernize Your Data Center Performance while Minimizing Footprint

Dell EMC SmartFabric Services enables an autonomous fabric interconnect for PowerStore to drive automation and operational efficiency, freeing resources and reducing staffing requirements. SmartFabric Services brings simplicity, agility, and efficiency to PowerStore storage by automating up to 99% of LAN connectivity tasks, enabling turnkey fabrics for cluster deployments and expansions. SmartFabric Services allows IT administrators to build out scalable networks in an automated fashion to quickly support the needs of growing remote user populations of students and faculty, like virtual desktops, for example.

Dell EMC SmartFabric is an automated tier of services that sits on the networking stack. When integrated into the storage portfolio, it speeds AppsON deployments and enables more dynamic networking. SmartFabric is scalable and expandable. It reduces time to delivery, increases agility, simplifies workloads, and consolidates data center footprint. SmartFabric automates the networking stack to help deliver seamless management through VMware. Administrators can perform life cycle management while managing all PowerStore nodes from a single pane of vCenter.

So when a major Northeast university using PowerStore wanted to migrate terabytes of data and applications from its traditional architecture to a software-defined network and the cloud to support online learning, the first step was to build a hybrid infrastructure that included networking, servers, storage, and compute assets. Its legacy network did not have the automation or open platform that allowed for integration with VMware or other applications and storage platforms that take advantage of APIs. To realize the benefits of the modern data center, an open architecture is needed to allow for automation. IIS recommended Dell EMC SmartFabric Services for PowerStore. This unique solution gave school IT administrators a gateway to the cloud with tools to automate complex workloads while maintaining tight integration with their PowerStore nodes. It minimizes manual operations and errors inside the data center, allowing IT to quickly deliver apps and services to remote students and faculty across campus and beyond.

As a Dell Technologies Platinum partner, IIS has the expertise and resources necessary to roll out and deploy modern networking automation solutions for higher education institutions, or any data-intensive organization for that matter. The IIS networking team is ready to help you validate, provision, and architect a Dell EMC SmartFabric Services for PowerStore solution to manage your data with maximum efficiency and agility through automation.

Jay Singh

Written by Jay Singh