Recent and Upcoming Projects: Spring, 2014

JSS Server Migration – Finished


We recently completed a migration of our JSS server – which is responsible for managing Mac and iPad devices on our network – from an Apple xServe server to a virtualized Windows server.  This migration was intended to solve a number of reliability and performance problems that we were experiencing with our previous JSS server, including problems with policy updates, software installations, operating system update deployments, and JSS database integrity.  The results of the project have been excellent, as all of the recurring problems we had been experiencing with the JSS vanished.  One unintended consequence was some unexpected behavior from Macs that hadn’t properly applied policies in the past year suddenly getting policy updates, some of which required a bit of tweaking.

Safari Montage Demo Configuration – Finished

Between January 22nd and the end of April, the district will have the opportunity to road test the Safari Montage video streaming and hosting service, with the potential for purchase of some or all components of Safari Montage for 2014-15.  This service allows for streaming video queues, video editing, public sharing, and so forth.  More information about Safari Montage, including access instructions, will be sent during the final week of January.

Network Optimization – Finished

While network maintenance is ongoing, we aggressively identified redundancies and bottlenecks during November and December of 2013, completing the project in January.  Lab spaces were either optimized for wireless connectivity or connected via gigabit Ethernet, interference from HVAC systems was identified and mitigated in the middle school, and redundant equipment was removed from the data center.

Data Core UPS – Finished

We finished installation on January 23rd of a new UPS battery backup in the data center core, which will provide ample power in the event of power disruptions to maintain core services for several hours.  This will solve problems we’ve had with server reboots, email routing problems, wireless connectivity, and phone access during power outages.

Wireless Controller Upgrade – Upcoming

We have been working with our wireless LAN vendor to identify a solution that will allow us to enable wireless multicasting and Apple’s Bonjour service, both of which are not currently possible without significant performance issues.  This will make it possible for us to offer iPad printing, AppleTV streaming, and other services.  As soon as the firmware is released to enable these services, we will be initiating the upgrade process.

Communications Strategic Plan – Upcoming

While not strictly a technology project, Adam Kurth will be facilitating the development of a communications strategic plan for the district, which will address shortcomings related to our website, district publications, social media presence, emergency communications, and messaging consistency.

Firewall Upgrade – Upcoming

An increase in our internet bandwidth from 85 to 160Mb for the coming school year will require us to replace our firewall when its service term is up at the end of the year.  We are currently receiving training and working on pricing for a much more powerful firewall solution that will ensure better performance and increased security.

Mavericks Migration – Upcoming

We are currently engaged in testing and preparation for a district-wide upgrade to Apple’s latest OS X version, Mavericks.  This upgrade will be rolled out in spring and summer, 2014.

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