Ohio ITC Leverages FlexPod IaaS Solution to Deliver IT Services On Demand

3/29/2013 | Case Study | 0 Comments |



Tri-Rivers Educational Computer Association (TRECA) is an Information Technology Center (ITC) that provides shared IT services to 36 K-12 school districts throughout Ohio. Its services touch approximately 100,000 students. Founded in 1979, TRECA has evolved from a provider of basic administrative products to an organization that Ohio school districts look to for services and leadership to address a range of technology challenges in education.

TRECA knew that it had to upgrade its server and storage infrastructure soon, but with state education budgets even tighter than usual, securing the funds for this large project was going to be a challenge. They were looking for a better financial model.

“We wanted to figure out how to replace an aging infrastructure while ‘operationalizing’ our server infrastructure costs,” says Michael Struck, Director of IT Infrastructure and Development. “We wanted to get out of the cycle of replacing our server infrastructure every 3-5 years in a capital expenditure and constantly requesting more capital as our infrastructure needs changed.”


After a series of consultative meetings to get a full scope of TRECA’s challenges, MCPc proposed an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) solution based on the FlexPod data center platform (NetApp storage, Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco Nexus data center switches). Under a 5-year OpEx agreement, MCPc fully owns and manages the server and storage environment while TRECA manages the VMware virtualization layer to the endpoints. This allows the organization to provide compute, storage and backup/disaster-recovery to its member schools as a utility without an upfront investment.

“MCPc understood our needs and where we wanted to take the services we provide to our customers,” says Struck. “They were the only partner who remained dedicated to our vision and, in a lot of ways, helped us shape that vision.”

To ease TRECA’s transition into the new FlexPod IaaS environment and prove viability, MCPc executed a 30-day proof of concept for the FlexPod according to the NetApp Test Plan. During this phase MCPc engineers deployed the infrastructure, monitored server utilization and uptime and provided resources to fully support the environment. After the proof of concept was successful, the IaaS environment was brought online into full production by MCPc.


The IaaS solution has given TRECA a private cloud capable of delivering IT services to its school district members on demand within a modular data center architecture that can flexibly scale to meet their growing needs. Moreover, the five-year OpEx plan makes the annual budget predictable by eliminating the need for large capital expenditures to maintain and expand the infrastructure.

“We now have a very stable, high-performing infrastructure with the ability to grow compute and storage resources rapidly,” says Struck. “Plus, for the first time in our organization’s history, we now have disaster recovery capabilities that make us a more complete asset to our member school districts.”

With MCPc owning the infrastructure, TRECA gets to reap the business benefits of the private cloud without having to invest in internal experts to support the technologies involved.

“It makes a big difference for us knowing that MCPc has a stable of certified NetApp and Cisco resources fully managing the infrastructure. It gives us the stability we need to support our members at the level they expect.”

Now that TRECA has a proven XaaS model for shared services built on a platform that can rapidly scale, the organization is well positioned to meet the growing needs of not only its existing member base, but other customers in the Ohio public sector, as well.

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