There will be sporadic outages in technology over Fall Intersession due to upgrades.
- Wired and wireless network upgrades are occurring at SA, PA, SM, PM, SH, PH. Outages will be throughout the building and one complete shutdown time. in each building These will take place around areas used by students in the mornings of the first four days and throughout the remainder of the two week time.
- Server upgrades will take place on numerous services. These updates will occur in the afternoons of the first week and any time during the second week. Various services will be impacted as outages occur.
- Internet upgrades will be taking place. The main firewall will be replaced with possible outages in the afternoons of 10/12-14 and the circuit will upgraded on 10/15.
Welcome Back Staff!!! Over the summer, your Technology Department has been busy working on many items. Here are a few highlights:
- The latest data and classes have been loaded into Pivot. You can look at your new students right now!
- Desktop machines were updated with current software, including Office 2013.
- New or improved wireless access was added all around the District.
- Skyward was upgraded, rolled, and readied for this school year with many great improvements.
- A new caching system was installed that stores temporary copies of items like YouTube videos for classroom use.
- All virtual desktop systems were updated and cleaned.
- Servers throughout the District were checked out and readied.
- Successmaker, Scholastic, and many other curriculum programs were brought to their newest versions.
- 3,000 new Chromebooks were readied for a great school year.
- Hapara Chromebook management system was brought online and integrated to Skyward for SHS.
- New data integrations were created for McGraw-Hill and Pearson textbook software.
As we monitor our Internet bandwidth throughout the day, we are seeing regular trends of very high usage.
This is actually great news for us in all except one way. Currently we have a 200MB connection to the Internet which we see filling up many times during the day. When that connection reaches 90% usage, our system seeks to protect access to sites categorized as Educational. This can at times create an unstable environment for other valuable resources.
Over Fall Intersession, AT&T is scheduled to upgrade our Internet connection to a brand new transport and increase our speed to 500MB. This is exciting news and this project cannot be completed fast enough for all of us.
We are very excited to be rolling out over 3,000 new 1:1 devices this school year. In addition, the District is launching several major online curriculum platforms.
With all of that in place, we are planning for the future with a major network upgrade to all school buildings. Over our Fall Break, all of our building connections will be upgraded to this connection riding on a major new backbone for AT&T on the southside. Here at PTEC we are connected in on a 10G fiber, the first such connection in the District.
All of our buildings will come in via this connection and be upgraded on their end. When complete our Elementary buildings will be moved from a minimum 100MB connection to a 250MB connection. Our Secondary buildings will be moved from a minimum 250MB connection to a 1GB connection.
Yesterday beginning at approximately 1:44pm a drive was brought into the township containing a zero-day (largely unknown) virus. That virus spread through buildings by use of our shared drives. Fortunately we were very proactive and caught the little bug early in its process. It very easily could have infected all of our buildings and users in a matter of time. By dropping access to the shared drives, we were able to limit its spread.
Today we will begin the process of cleaning up and restoring access. The majority of buildings were not infected and will have their drives restored early in the process. Those buildings will not lose any data due to this. More information will be sent out to those buildings as it is available.
We are also continuing to clean the infected PCs and users in the other buildings. Once those are cleaned, we will move to restore their files and the shared drive files. That process will take some time and we’ll look to have it completed 11/29/12 so that we can restore shared drive access.
The District shared drive will be remain offline for the immediate future.
Recently, we have increased the amount of shared storage to Elementary and Academy buildings. Those sizes are now:
Elementary Schools and Academies (and SC) – 4 GB
Middle and High Schools – 15 GB
Elementary Schools and Academies – 5 GB
Middle Schools – 10 GB
High Schools – 30 GB
Infrastructure: Fresh on the heels of a great deal of progress, comes some concern. At this point, a good deal of the District is under heavy construction and updates. Many ceilings have been removed to work on items and in those cases a number of technology support items are not functional. My expectation is that we will have some major outages, especially to wireless networking, that are unknown until staff return. We will do our best to correct those as we are aware.
Software: As we did not “reimage” this year throughout the District, there are a number of software packages that need updated. At this time, many computers are disconnected for construction/cleaning so most updates will occur after the school year begins. We will be pushing out updates to the systems and software. These will include items such as Smart 11, Adobe Flash, and Silverlight to name a few.
Educational Packages: Scholastic software packages are nearing completion to be ready for the start of school. We are still working with Pearson on having Successmaker ready. It may not be ready at the start of the year. We will update this situation as new information comes in.
This week we will be undertaking some maintenance on our Exchange system. A couple of items you will note:
– Accounts are being transitioned to a new faster connection system. As that happens you may notice that your Outlook opens odd on your computer. Give it a few minutes and it should catch up.
– We will be moving the main mail store to a new storage system. This will result in a few hours of evening downtime where you may not be able to connect. Messages will still be sent and received during this time.
This weekend we will be having major electrical work done in our network center. This is going to require a complete shutdown of the system. We will begin at 3pm today (3/2/12) shutting down less used and power hungry systems. Saturday morning we will shutting down the whole system and bringing back up critical items. Systems that will remain up include: