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Case Study

Chico Unified School District

Sprawling Multi-Campus School District Turns to Pivot3 for State-of-the-Art Safe Campus Solution

About the Customer

Chico Unified School District (CUSD) is situated in the Sacramento Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in California. The sprawling public school district is comprised of 18 campuses, 320+ square miles, and more than 12,000 students. The district, whose origins stem from a single wooden schoolhouse constructed in 1865, is dedicated to the education of children from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. The CUSD oversees four preschool programs, 12 elementary schools, three junior high schools, two high schools, and a series of continuing education, opportunity, independent studies and special services programs.

The Challenge

The safety and security of the children, teachers and staff is the district’s paramount concern. The security program is managed by the CUSD IT Department, and the systems and network analysts and maintenance operations work together to manage and monitor the surveillance cameras, video management systems, and associated access control applications. The small IT team is also responsible for the inner workings of the entire campus infrastructure including servers, storage, phones, door locks, student accounts, and staff communication, increasing the importance of streamlined operations and simplified management.
The existing surveillance infrastructure had reached a breaking point. The camera count continued to increase, the older Nimble SAN had run out of space, and performance was suffering. The SAN was dropping frames and critical data, and bandwidth was at capacity. Recording servers were spread all over the district, which required an exceptional amount of time and energy to physically maintain, taxing resources and increasing operational costs.

“Pivot allowed us to double our deployment, and we’re still growing.
We like that we can just drop in another appliance and expand.”

– John Vincent, Director of Technology, CUSD

The Solution

Funding from three sources was pooled to enable the CUSD team to upgrade the entire district to a state-of-the-art, enterprise-level security installation. The IT team evaluated several different storage alternatives, but none of them were adequate for a video-based workload.

The Pivot3 hyperconverged infrastructure stood out as the only solution designed specifically for mission-critical video environments. Chico USD purchased a Pivot3 Safe Campus solution totaling 1PB usable storage, consolidating their video storage and management onto one infrastructure. The solution eliminated the need for individual recorders spread across hundreds of square miles and unified management into a single pane of glass within their VMware environment. Upgraded CPUs and the addition of a fourth node allowed them to increase their camera count, and the system stands ready to scale. The Pivot3 solution is flexible, and as the district adds more cameras or integrates more applications, they can seamlessly build out capacity or compute to meet their evolving needs. “Pivot allowed us to double our deployment. And we’re still growing,” said John Vincent, director of technology. “We like that we can just drop in another appliance and expand.”

“Every once in a while, you run across a system that is a true enterprise system that just works as it’s supposed to. Pivot3 is one of those rare systems you don’t have to worry about. We’ve been so completely satisfied. We’re really excited to get our next appliance. ”

– John Vincent, Director of Technology, CUSD

The Results

The Pivot3 Safe Campus solution delivered on performance, price and scalability. The user-friendly interface is easily navigated by non-technical personnel and allows for easy, centralized access to video from any campus or facility at any time. Video is always available for situational awareness, dispatch and response, forensic investigations, analytics and more.

The Pivot3 solution can seamlessly scale compute, capacity and bandwidth with a single appliance or add storage-only appliances as more cameras are added across the district. And CUSD can integrate additional security applications and technologies to the infrastructure as budgets allow, helping to reduce TCO and avoid unnecessary expenditures or overprovisioning.

Pivot3’s professional services team installed the solution, eliminating the need for the CUSD to spend valuable time and resources to undertake specialized training or learn a new skillset to complete the installation.

“The level of support from Pivot3 and the team’s desire to give us the best product we can have is outstanding – the Pivot3 team has gone above and beyond,” said Justin Cooper, information systems analyst. “I can’t say how impressed we are with what a great team Pivot3 has.”

The CUSD team reports a “night and day” difference in system performance. The Pivot3 solution is optimized for video-based workloads and significantly decreases capacity utilization. Video is always accessible, and patented erasure coding ensures there’s no downtime, degraded or dropped frames, or data loss, reducing the district’s risk and liability.

The CUSD team unanimously agreed that Pivot3’s smart infrastructure for mission-critical video had transformed the district to a state-of-the-art, enterprise-level security installation.

Pivot3 Case Study

Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Video Surveillance




Chico, California

Key Challenges

  • Overwhelmed surveillance system
    at breaking point
  • Critical data loss and
    compromised performance
  • Sprawling physical network
  • High operational costs


Pivot3 Safe Campus Solution

Business Benefits

  • Consolidated storage, servers and applications into one datacenter
  • Streamlined operations, increased efficiency and reduced TCO
  • Automated, centralized and
    simplified management
  • No system downtime or data loss
  • Optimized performance and scalability