Ozarks Technical Community College supports key student and administrative systems as well as physical security on a unified Nutanix platform.
For the past 30-plus years, Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) has focused on providing high-quality, affordable learning opportunities to students throughout southwest Missouri.
OTC’s comprehensive mission, focus on job-skill training, and college transfer preparation has made it a vital part of one of the fastest-growing areas in the region. More than 200,000 citizens of southwest Missouri have taken advantage of the college’s educational services since its inception in 1990.
The network infrastructure is the platform that supports all of the college’s key instructional, administrative, and operational systems on its campuses. When its three-tier system began to show its age, administrators saw an opportunity to build a more flexible platform that could meet changing needs faster with less overhead. Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure brings its separate systems together onto one hyperconverged infrastructure that’s easy to monitor, manage, and extend.
|Central point of visibility and control on HCI helps IT team respond faster and scale resources.
||Dependable, flexible support for 300 video surveillance cameras strengthens campus safety.
||Transparent, dependable technology provides trouble-free support for higher education learning tools and administration.
In the past, starting a new project like video surveillance might require a new storage system. With Nutanix, I can just bring up a few nodes to support the new application, and we’re ready to go, quickly and easily.
The OTC System encompasses six locations across southwest Missouri, as well as a robust online education center. Its infrastructure is the cornerstone of all of the college’s most important systems and processes for students and administrators, including its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, student information system (SIS), and the physical security systems on campus.
When it was time for scheduled upgrades of OTC’s separate storage, compute, and networking solutions, the college’s IT administrators wanted to do more than simply replace outdated equipment—they wanted a more efficient, flexible platform that they could build on for the future.
“Our classic three-tier environment was approaching end of life, and it was time for an upgrade,” said Eric Kyle, Chief Technology Officer at Ozarks Technical Community College. “At the same time, our environment was becoming more complex, and we had growing issues with siloed systems. We had a person that focused on supporting virtual machines, a storage person, and a networking person. If an individual left or changed jobs, we would have to hire or train someone to step into a very specialized role.”
Kyle and his team were looking for an infrastructure solution that was more consistent and simpler to manage, to offer dependable performance with plenty of room for growth.
When estimates to rebuild the college’s existing platform proved to be too costly, the IT team took a fresh look at its options—and chose Nutanix.
“The engineer in charge of our virtual environment spotted a Nutanix promotion and signed up for a demo session,” said Kyle. “We were given our own environment to try out in the cloud, and we tested our ERP system from Ellucian, which was one of our most important applications.”
The test went smoothly, and Kyle and his team quickly deployed Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure, configuring 33 nodes to support 1,700 employees and 11,000 active students.
“We have a hybrid environment, running our LMS and email on the cloud, and our most critical applications such as ERP, SIS, and our security and surveillance system on premises—all running on Nutanix,” said Kyle.
The OTC team also activated AHV Virtualization, replacing its legacy hypervisor with an efficient solution that dramatically reduces its licensing costs.
“We tried AHV Virtualization and never looked back,” said Kyle. “Now it’s the hypervisor for 95% of our environment. Prism Central is also a great solution, providing all the information we need about our environment on one dashboard.”
With its new hyperconverged platform in place, OTC has gained a new level of agility and expandability. The college is running more than 300 Genetec video surveillance cameras to help keep students and faculty safe, and the Nutanix solution made planning and deploying the new devices a snap.
“We can easily add new devices like video surveillance cameras, without the need to refit anything,” said Kyle. “We don’t have to get the networking team involved to set up a whole new environment. We just need two really big nodes, which fit smoothly right into our system.”
Adding new capabilities and applications is simple as well, thanks to the consolidated, unified architecture.
“What I liked about Nutanix early on was the flexibility,” said Kyle. “Under our previous environment, making a change or applying a patch might require updating more than a dozen different systems. With Nutanix, adding a feature like encryption to keep pace with regulatory changes basically requires clicking a checkbox, and we’re done.”
For Kyle’s stakeholders at the college, having a consistent, flexible platform enables his team to meet needs faster—and deliver better outcomes for students.
“The expandability is huge, and I'm not having to scrap any of the technology I’ve already bought,” said Kyle. “The technology behind the scenes is seamless and works great. It allows the college to meet its needs, instead of getting in the way.”
Nutanix Cloud Platform gives OTC the scalable platform it needs to not only tackle its immediate needs, but a wide range of new challenges in the future. The IT team is exploring new features like Flow Network Security and Frame virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and is considering adding these capabilities when needed. With Nutanix, the future is bright for southwest Missouri students.