But… it was summer yesterday!

Fall certainly has moved in quickly. It was just last week I was hiking, biking & enjoying the beautiful sunny fall days of +20C. Long gone are those days. I woke up this morning to frost & slight snowfall/slush.

It’s been a relatively smooth back to school – we had a number of infrastructure projects over the summer – many of which involved replacing aging old servers, switches & backup systems. Our high school was our crowning acheievement – we were finally able to retire the 8+ years old server that was running file services, student data & more. What a difference new technology makes!

Additionally, we updated a wealth of items in our datacenter. We’ve addressed heating & airflow to ensure our server rack is being efficiently cooled. We’ve also installed a new, taller 60U server rack to handle years of further expansion.

All in all, a great summer full of projects. Looking forward to continuing improvements going into fall/winter.

Summer Projects

Summer break is around the corner!

That means it’s goodbye to the 2016-17 school year! It’s been an amazing year full of new challenges, adventures, learning opportunities & more. While this is generally the ‘busy’ time of year for our tech team, it’s also an opportunity to vacation, explore the great outdoors & enjoy that awesome weather!

To ensure our staff who will be working in some of our schools over the summer keep updated, we’ll be both posting online & emailing to advise of any possible outages. This is the only time of year our team has the opportunity to make those ‘big’ improvements we weren’t able to do during the school year. We’ve got a lot of exciting new upgrades planned to help further our growth of mobile devices, including iPads & Chromebooks. Additionally, we’re furthering our support to strengthen our BYOD (bring your own device) policy. This translates into a more efficient network, faster speeds & quicker access to the tools you need to get the job done!

We hope, above all, everyone has a wonderful break. Remember to get outdoors & make some memories. We look forward to seeing everyone in the fall!

-The SD64 Tech Team

Security Update

With news of ransom ware late last week hitting big systems and corporations around the Globe, our team investigated the possible impact on our district and servers.

It’s been advised to our team from the Ministry to implement a series of updates on our servers around the district to ensure the latest vulnerabilities have been patched. Additionally, we’ve taken precautions to ensure our datacentre & school firewalls are also running the versions of Wildfire (built in anti virus) & security policies to protect against attacks like this.

As always, we encourage all users to regularly update their passwords for their personal accounts, email and online resources. Additionally, never click on links from senders you do not recognize. We encourage our staff to keep their antivirus updated – and to inform our tech team of any concerns they may have.

Thank you.

NGN is complete!

After what seemed like a project that never ended, our district has finally transitioned our last site Windsor House and completed the transition to our Next Generation Network.

For those of you who’ve been following our journey, this marks a large milestone for our team in having all our school sites upgraded to a faster, more reliable fibre network. The journey hasn’t been without hurdles & challenges, but we’re pleased to be on the other side.

For those who haven’t followed our journey, or have no idea what an ‘NGN’ is.. it’s been a nearly two year process to upgrade our school sites from their aging ADSL internet connections to fibre. Additionally, new hardware & configurations now allow our tech team to use sophisticated monitoring tools & remote diagnostics to assist. This also allowed us the chance to master plan and built a brand new datacentre that securely houses our servers that run our whole network.

We’re very proud to have finally crossed the finish line and move into newer projects. Who knows what the future will bring!

-The tech team

We have a new home!

In playing with some of the capabilities of our new datacentre during late summer, we saw an opportunity to move to a new ‘local’ platform hosted right here on Salt Spring turf.

So, without further ado.. *drumroll* Our new SD64 HelpDesk! Although it’s still very much in beta/testing.

Our hope is that our users will have access to resources and information faster by having things hosted locally – and remove reliance on third parties hosting our websites halfway across the globe.

We’ve got a long road & lots of work left to do.. but we’re excited to see what happens over the next few months as we develop this new platform.

Wow, it’s Fall again!

Wow, what a summer it’s been!

    To say our tech team has been busy has been an understatement! Although we all got some great Holiday adventures fit between our busy projects, we also hit a number of big milestones this summer.

First off, we have successfully transitioned all but one of our school sites to the new NGN Network. In addition, our 2 biggest sites, Salt Spring Middle School & Gulf Island Secondary, are worth noting of finally joining the new network.

Secondly, we assisted in moving & wiring our new Windsor House school site in North Vancouver. They’ll be starting their school year with a fast new network, a new fleet on notebooks & speedy Wi-Fi.

Thirdly, we worked with our partners at JAMF Software to setup our new Mobile Device Management server for our iPad users, which will allow downloading and updating of iPads to be a smoother and easier experience… more on this soon.

We also finished a number of smaller, invisible refinements across the district, including our new redundant backup system for all our servers. This will act as the new central way to protect and ensure the privacy of our district data. We’ve also optimized Wi-Fi across all our school sites, and based on your feedback, improved many of the weak spots or dead zones in classrooms. We’ve improved wiring, labeling & cooling in many of our wiring closets and server racks, as well. These changes will improve reliability & performance.

Additionally, we’ve completed work on the labs in your schools as well, ensuring updates & antivirus, browsers, etc are all working top notch.

We’re heading back into the 2016/17 school year and feeling more confident than ever – thank you to everyone for supporting us the past year and a half through these big projects. We couldn’t have done it without your support!

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