When Boise's first charter school was approved, its administration and faculty brought along years of academic experience gained in the public school system which would enable the timely and efficientl realization of a vision for a unique K-6 environment. However, that experience didn't extend to planning, deploying or managing a full-service data network -- details typically dealt with exclusively by district-level tech experts.
The attractive price of this switch, along with its reputation for durability and performance, made it a logical choice. Even better, the investment in the switch would be easily leveraged as the school grows, as additional ports and feature-modules can be added, or 'stacked' without having to retire-and-replace this hardware.
For a network operating system, the obvious choice was Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server 4.5. Optimized to provide enterprise-class services while running on a single server (an HP LC3 in this case, graciously donated by Hewlett-Packard), SBS is designed (and priced) to permit up to fifty concurrent connections: just right in this environment. In addition, we provided and configured a second server running Windows NT 4.0 Server to provide dedicated and secure file services to both staff and students. A DAT-3 tape drive handles system back-ups, with a pair of UPSs providing power-failure insurance.
All student grades and each staff has thier own email address, with all email managed by Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, also part of the small business server suite. Exchange Server also handles all personal appointments, school scheduling and calendaring, and is the basis for a number of paperless electronic forms and documents which will shortly become part of the organizational forms archive.
With the core equipment and operating system deployed in this case, a startup non-profit educational institution is able to utilize and benefit from a level of services and features usually thought only accessible to larger organizations with much greater capital budgets. Please contact us if you would like more information on this type of configuration.