Customer Guest Blog - St. Mary's Academy - Director of Information Technology - Curtis Johnson
In 146 years, St. Mary’s Academy has seen many things. As one of oldest K12 institutions in Colorado, it was the first to grant a diploma, and this was before Colorado was even a state. Almost a century and a half later, St. Mary’s Academy is still one of the most prestigious institutions in the state.
St. Mary's Students of today are the technology pioneers of the future
As recently as three years ago, however, one would have thought the network and the underlying IT infrastructure was original to the academy.
The network was a statically assigned, class C public address space. No DHCP, no network management, and the fastest network link was 100 Mbps if we were lucky. We realized that it was time for us to upgrade everything, but what did that mean? We had to have powerful, reliable network gear, fast pipes and, critically, a true partner with the expertise to guide us. This was no job for an order-taker. We needed someone to spend time with us and help us determine exactly what we would need and why. Enter Brocade.
A fast and reliable network is the foundation of any IT environment. And that’s exactly what Brocade provided for us. Powered by a Brocade FastIron SuperX switch at the core and fiber-connected Brocade FastIron POE GS switches at the edge, our network now has the speed and reliability to support our existing and planned projects in the classroom.
Because of the networking equipment from Brocade, we can now host over 10 terabytes of video on the network with no lag across the campus. Since the switch to Brocade, we have also implemented Voice over IP (VoIP) as well as a high-end, enterprise-class wireless solution that allows mobile access around the campus.
With an interactive whiteboard in nearly every classroom, 2010 is going to be a banner year for instructional technology. Because of the generous network headroom, students can interact with streaming video from Discovery Networks in amazing ways. Because the video is hosted locally on a fast network, there is no need to worry about saturated Internet connections and bottlenecks. Quizzes on video segments are instant and interactive, enabling custom-tailored classroom instruction.
The result is faculty who are more energized than ever to teach, and students who have the latest learning tools at their fingertips.
Brocade has been the perfect solution for St. Mary’s Academy. We now have gigabit-to-the-desktop speeds across our five-building, 24-acre fiber-connected campus with plans to upgrade to 10 Gigabit Ethernet on the backbone this summer.
In just three years, we’ve built not only a new network, but a whole new approach to education and a new and trusted partner in Brocade.