Cannon T4 Inc has released a complete data center in a box for schools and colleges. The Mini Data Center range is a self-contained data center in a single enclosed rack or cabinet that can be sited in a corridor, closet, or externally in a car park or yard.

“Childrens' lives revolve around IT.  At home with PCs, gaming consoles, and smart phones; and also in the classroom with big screen multi-media displays, electronic whiteboards, and increasingly ‘per-student’ PCs and iPads,” said Michael Varcoe, director for the Americas, Cannon T4. Varcoe further explained that to deliver the content of all of this requires each school and college to have the full functionality of a small data center. But a serious problem in many schools is the lack of space for the data center and of the skills and resources to manage and maintain one.

 The new range contains sophisticated self-management systems alongside cooling equipment, uninterruptable power supplies, wide area network (internet) access, router, firewalls, content filtering and control, Ethernet switches, storage, servers and Wi-Fi access controllers. All of this is integrated in Cannon Technologies’ factory with e-learning management software (LMS)—ike Moodle and Blackboard—together with all of the back-office systems, student security functions like campus-wide access control and CCTV recording for the school or college. This is all fully integrated and tested before delivery to the school.

 “Although it is possible to run Ethernet cabling throughout the school, with the preponderance of hand-held devices, transportable whiteboards and large screen displays the moves, adds, and changes (MACs) for a school are a potential nightmare. We tend to recommend the use of encrypted Wi-Fi throughout the school and yard which does away with most of the MACs and, if Power over Ethernet is used, reduces the total cabling job for the entire school to one main supply to the cabinet and only 10 Ethernet cables to 10 Wi-Fi access points for a 300 user system or just 40 cables for an entire 1,200 user campus,” Varcoe said.

Using systems like Moodle, teachers and lecturers now prepare lessons and present their students with information in widely varying formats, from text to graphics, to HD video.  They also have to manage multiple processes and facilities their predecessors knew nothing of: like electronic forums, twitter and social media as well as online progress tracking and grading assessments—all provided through the Learning Management Software.

Perhaps amazingly, the IT-savvy students even access e-Learning from home or while away on vacation and do so at all times of the day and night leading to a requirement for 24x7x365 availability via the worldwide web.

 The result is that schools today require a sophisticated data center in much the same way that a typical business does. The data center must provide powerful servers for the processing and all if the infrastructure capability needed to support these functions, take up very little space and need very little IT support and maintenance. Cannon Technologies’ Mini Data Center range provides exactly that ready to work ‘out of the box.’

 Cannon T4 Inc. is part of the Cannon Technologies Group Ltd.