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St. Mary and All Angels School

When Mike Magaldi joined St. Mary and All Angels School as director of technology four years ago, he was more concerned with getting students to use computers than he was about storing their work. Now, his picture graces at least one SAN vendor's marketing brochures.

Magaldi's SAN story began a couple of years back, when the non-denominational Christian school (K-8) in Aliso Viejo, Calif., began scrambling for gigabytes. A new emphasis on video by the school's 100 teachers and administrators, as well as growing interest among its 835 students, was hammering the small, homemade RAID system Magaldi had built.

"We started in 2002 and 2003 bopping along with five Microsoft servers and local storage. But in 2003, everybody got a digital camera for Christmas, and images and video were integrated into the teaching materials," Magaldi says.

There was also more data coming from the school's eight homegrown video-editing machines, which use software from Pinnacle Systems, and from two computer labs, which are testing sites for certifying students on Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) products. By 2004, the school's storage had risen from about 50 Gbytes to 300 Gbytes, and now it's close to 1 Tbyte.

Not a lot of storage by enterprise standards, but a handful for 800 users, 250 workstations, and one technician, who is also a teacher, struggling to manage garage-built RAID. Magaldi's VAR, Nth Generation Computing Inc. of Irvine, Calif., and San Diego, introduced Magaldi to the StorageWorks Small Business SAN Kit from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and to QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), whose headquarters are nearby.

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