Mississippi Community College Board Adopts FlashStack Solution For Critical Enrollment Applications

09.21.2017

Statewide college system cites improved performance, effortless management and a superior long-term return on investment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Pure Storage (NYSE: PSTG), the leading independent all-flash data platform vendor for the cloud era, today announced the Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB) has adopted a FlashStack™ solution, joint offering from Cisco Systems and Pure Storage, to host its most critical enrollment applications.

"Our mission is to promote the future of Mississippi by providing a skilled workforce, and to do that we need a solid foundation of technology," said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Executive Director, MCCB. "With Cisco and Pure Storage as valuable partners and FlashStack at the core of operations, we have significantly enhanced our data-center infrastructure, reduced cost and drastically improved the enrollment experience for more than 70,000 students."

The MCCB provides centralized IT services for its 15 community colleges and acts as an Internet service provider for those campuses. The IT team develops and deploys key applications such as student enrollment, and collects data across the system in response to legislative requests. FlashStack combines the latest in compute, network and storage into a single, integrated architecture. Based on Cisco Validated Designs and joint reference architectures, these pre-tested configurations speed time to deployment, lower overall IT costs and reduce deployment risk.

The impact has been seen most notably in the process of registering students for classes, using the online Enrollment Tool. "The first week of registration is when the system runs its hardest," said Ray Smith, Assistant Executive Director for Technology with MCCB. "We historically would always have points where the system was running so slow that students and administrators couldn't access it. So, one of our prime objectives was to improve the speed of this application."

After migrating the Enrollment Tool to the FlashStack infrastructure, Smith observed, "We have seen much faster performance, which is a benefit to the students and a big relief to us."

"Pure Storage is focused on delivering simplicity, efficiency and performance to MCCB, so they can exceed their students' expectations and ensure that their education is not disrupted by slow applications or downtime," said Gary Newgaard, VP of Public Sector, Pure Storage. "Pure is ideal for organizations that want the flexibility to scale over time while also reducing the cost of power, cooling and space."

The new IT infrastructure also has allowed the MCCB to implement the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC), whereby students can enroll in a class from any of the 15 colleges. Previously, students could only take classes at colleges designated to the district in which they resided. Smith's office took advantage of the added processing power and storage resources afforded by FlashStack to develop an application that allows cross-district enrollment.

The MCCB made the decision to deploy their FlashStack infrastructure upon the recommendation of its system-integration partner, Venture Technologies, and purchased two FlashStack configurations – an all-new one for its main data center, and another for its disaster recovery (DR) site.

"With FlashStack, we saw the opportunity to reduce the footprint in our data centers, and to adopt a converged infrastructure that greatly reduces cost and complexity," said Smith. "We found that for less than the cost of the hardware maintenance on our legacy system, we could buy a FlashStack implementation and three years of maintenance. It was an easy decision for us."

Installation of the FlashStack configuration was also a lesson in simplicity, Smith noted. "With our previous system, the vendor had a team of seven people working over a series of months to get the system up and running. With FlashStack, we had one person who worked on the conversion, which he completed in less than a week. Installation of the FlashArray itself took about an hour."

The conversion to the new FlashStack infrastructure "was accomplished without an interruption to our production applications or to the user experience, which is just unimaginable compared to what we had before," Smith added. "In all my years, this was the most efficient install of something so sophisticated."

He also has high praise for the management features of the Pure Storage FlashArray.  "Within an hour and a half of installing the first array, I had the Pure1™ application on my cellphone where I could see everything that was going on with the array. It was like nothing I had even seen before."

About Pure Storage

Pure Storage (NYSE:PSTG) helps companies push the boundaries of what's possible. Pure's end-to-end data platform - including FlashArray, FlashBlade and our converged offering with Cisco, FlashStack – is powered by innovative software that's cloud-connected for management from anywhere on a mobile device and supported by the Evergreen business model. The company's all-flash based technology, combined with its customer-friendly business model, drives business and IT transformation with solutions that are effortless, efficient and evergreen. With Pure's industry leading Satmetrix-certified NPS score of 83.5, Pure customers are some of the happiest in the world, and include organizations of all sizes, across an ever-expanding range of industries.

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SOURCE Pure Storage

Sabrina Johnson, Sabrina.johnson@purestorage.com, 1 405.496.1116