Of the most used IT buzzwords over the past year, big data certainly tops the list—across every industry and sector, big data was big news in 2014. Possibly less buzz-centric but no less important was data center modernization, as organizations struggled to keep pace with ever-shifting technology innovation while striving for optimum efficiency.

GovDataDownload featured many stories this year on both big data and data center modernization. Here are four of the most popular posts on these issues.

Big Data Could Mean Big Things for Higher Ed Marketing

For many, big data is something that happens somewhere deep inside a network, and doesn’t really affect them. However, as Paul Rudin, NetApp Account Manager, Higher Education, sees it, big data presents big opportunities for his clients to improve one of their critical processes: marketing. Those outside of the education vertical might not immediately think of marketing and Higher Ed, but the landscape for undergraduates has become much more competitive in recent years. Universities that leverage big data can have a big advantage in the marketplace. Read more about how big data could have a big impact on Higher Ed marketing here.

UCLA’s Transition to a High Performance Computing Environment Fuels High Performance Research

When the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) realized that their IT infrastructure was limiting their ability to conduct the research they wanted to do and the work they knew they could create, they wondered if High Performance Computing (HPC) could help bolster their research and innovation capabilities. The Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE), which is dedicated to maintaining UCLA’s position as a world leader in research, began to explore options that met UCLA’s exacting needs: highly scalable and available on a 24×7 basis, as well as able to fit within the existing data center framework and be energy efficient to fit with the university’s environmental commitments. Read more here about the HPC solution UCLA implemented.

Morton School District 709 Gets an “A” in IT Infrastructure

A few years ago, Morton School District 709 in Illinois was struggling to meet today’s educational IT challenges such as enabling BYOD and meeting online assessment mandates. Morton transformed its IT foundation by implementing a well proven IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) solution offered jointly by tech industry leaders NetApp, Cisco and VMware. Called FlexPod®, it is a validated and economical path for educational institutions to take their often small and overworked IT departments from simple zones of virtualization to the cloud. Read about the details of Morton’s transition to FlexPod® and to watch a video of what an effective, economical IT transformation looks like in K-12.

NOAA – Leveraging Technology for Better Weather Data Sharing

Whether you check the daily weather forecast by referring to an online source or a mobile app or watch it on the local news, chances are you don’t realize the massive amounts of data that go into those reliable, omnipresent sources of weather information. In reality, all those forecasts depend on data collected, analyzed and distributed free by the government. All this is done by the National Weather Service (NWS), which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Until recently the servers that powered this critical government function were scattered across the country. There was no ability to centrally manage analysis and dissemination of data, and data center and data storage costs were rising. An IT transformation needed to be made, one that consolidated data centers dramatically and enhanced and standardized the network infrastructure.

Read about how the NOAA IT staff embarked on a transformational journey that virtualized servers on the front end while creating an intelligent and flexible infrastructure.