Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) is located in Chicago’s southwestern suburb of Palos Hills, Illinois. Founded in 1967, the school enrolls over 34,000 students serving 26 communities annually and is one of the largest community colleges in the state. Susan Gray is the current Director of Network Operations, Computing Services and Telecommunications. She oversees all wired and wireless networks, virtual server environments, storage, telecom, and ERP infrastructure. These responsibilities also include email and other critical applications.
For Gray’s team, it was pertinent to find a hardware support solution that would fit shrinking budgets. MVCC maintains two separate Storage Area Network (SAN) environments that supports the college’s ERP system and other applications. Although Gray had a team member who could support IBM AIX, finding a staff member to support hardware was a challenge.
“The biggest challenge the college currently has is supporting two separate environments. Finding the right talent to support AIX and the IBM SAN environment is difficult. It is hard to compete with salaries offered in Corporate America for this talent. As a result, we seem to always be short of staff to support the most critical applications on campus”, says Gray.
Another factor that played into MVCC’s challenges was an affordable Service Level Agreement. Gray states, “Our ideal hardware maintenance solution is 24 x 7 x 4 hour response time. This can be very expensive when dealing directly with the original equipment manufacturers.” With the need to support their SAN environments, and with a limited budget, Gray began researching other support options. A former employee of MVCC had previous experience with third-party maintenance providers and introduced Gray to Park Place Technologies.