The Network Connection
While deploying Active Directory and SCCM were critical, nothing would have moved forward without a network upgrade.
Mark Lancaster, network administrator supervisor for PPS, says the district upgraded bandwidth to accommodate the additional technologies. The city of Portland leases the district bandwidth on its 10 Gigabit Metro Ethernet fiber backbone.
"The city’s network is really great," Lancaster says. "It basically serves as a local fiber ring in which we transmit IP traffic."
Once the bandwidth upgrades were in place, Lancaster
worked with CDW to configure the VPN tunnel using Cisco
ASA appliances. Keith Walberg, the CDW configuration
center supervisor who worked closely with PPS to
establish the network link, says the process was fairly
PPS configured a Cisco ASA 5505 VPN appliance and
SCCM server and shipped them to the Las Vegas data
center. Then CDW racked them, installed the cabling and
connected the server to the VPN."We did initial testing,
and they gave us some feedback, and then we were up
and running in no time," Walberg says.
Whitman-Morales says the new setup helps the district
get new PCs into the hands of students, teachers and staff.
"I worked in shops that did their own imaging by hand,"
he says. "We would have to image something like 20,000
machines and each one would take 45 minutes to an hour."
The imaging system was especially useful when PPS
had to reimage 14,000 machines as part of a Windows XP
migration. As of late fall, the district was about 84 percent
of the way done, largely because of the quality of the
imaging system and the power of the city of Portland’s
"It doesn’t matter if it’s during busy times like last
spring, or if we get a large donation and need to image
new machines, we now have the infrastructure, tools and
network connection in place to quickly image computers
and upload software any time we need them," concludes