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University of Northern Iowa Picks Sanbolic Kayo System

Improves campus-wide information sharing for students and faculty (August 23, 2004)

Founded in 1876, the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is today ranked number two in the Midwest public universities. With over 13,500 students, the university has gained a reputation for excellence in many fields including Education, Business, Fine Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences. In 1999, the Center for Educational Technology at UNI began the integration of a flexible multimedia distribution system to serve the needs of both students and faculty. Today, this project has grown substantially and is able to deliver supportive learning materials consisting of a combination of video, audio and digital images. It also supports two university-based radio stations, Internet delivery of athletic events, and offers access to content from the universitys library, both from within the universitys own network as well as from the internet.

During the spring of 2004, the Center for Educational Technology began upgrading to a larger SAN environment to satisfy the needs for the universitys growing demand for storage.

In preparation for this upgrade Rick Seeley, UNIs Instructional Technology Research Development Coordinator, decided to change his current SAN software solution to help share this valuable data between students, faculty and alumni. The university needed a solution that could regulate read and write privileges of the files stored on the SAN and handle high transfer rates for the capture and export of video, audio and graphic files. The answer was to use Sanbolics Kayo volume sharing software, as it is specifically designed to enable multiple computers to easily and transparently share volumes on the SAN storage.

?Our objective continues to be the delivery of digital content to students, staff, and faculty easily and effectively to support UNIs curriculum. Changing our SAN management solution to Kayo on our media distribution system has enabled us to continue to distribute digital objects like video, audio, pictures, and other multimedia files. This allows students to access content 24 hours a day via the intranet or Internet, comments Rick Seeley.

The benefits from this new installation are numerous according to Marilyn Drury, Director of Educational Technology at UNI. ?Thanks to the right choice of technology and our centralized approach to this project between our various colleges, weve achieved significant cost savings in terms of equipment and personnel. But even more importantly, this new IT infrastructure is helping us live up to our universitys motto which is ?Students First. Having easy access to course materials, video and audio files, and being able to share work, research and data is in the best interest of our students and a huge boost to their learning experience, comments Marilyn Drury.

Right now, the universitys installation is largely used for storage, production, videoconferencing and distribution/sharing of educational digital media files. But an interesting new trend is emerging as students are increasingly creating and sharing their own content, from web pages to links to multimedia files, to sophisticated digital portfolios.

?This is definitely a trend we are encouraging and something we want to further develop as we continue expanding our multimedia distribution system, says Marilyn Drury. ?We are also finding that our distance learning programs have been further enhanced thanks to our project, with students being able to access course files and share information with each other much more easily than ever before. In the past we have also worked with K-12 school districts in the state piloting a project that allowed the delivery of multimedia content into middle school classrooms, adds Marilyn Drury.

The system components at UNI include a multi-terabyte storage system in a SAN configuration, servers and support applications, and a production lab where users can create the learning objects and access the technologies available to distribute content via the Internet, Intranet, cable, satellite, DVD, CD, video tape and more. The sharing of data is handled by Kayo allowing high-speed data transfers to take place over Fiber Channel. A transparent SAN solution using NTFS, Kayo allows users to simultaneously read from the shared volumes on the centralized storage. Write access to the shared volume can be assigned to any server in the workgroup.

Kayo is very simple to use and is seamlessly incorporated into the Windows Explorer interface. All users see the volumes on the storage as if they were local and Kayo's automatic refresh functionality (ARF) gives users continuous access to the most up-to-date information on the shared storage.

About Sanbolic
Sanbolic, Inc. is a privately held independent software vendor located in Watertown, Massachusetts. Sanbolics products simplify data storage management, increase system flexibility, and enable high bandwidth shared access to data. The product offerings are Melio FS, an advanced symmetrical cluster file system, LaScala, a symmetrical cluster volume manager, and Kayo, volume sharing software. Sanbolic distributes its products worldwide through a network of distributors, OEMs, VARs and system integrators. Further information about Sanbolic can be found on its website


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Related Keywords:University of Northern Iowa, Sanbolic, Kayo, UNI, Center for Educational Technology, SAN, Rick Seeley, Marilyn Drury,

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