Guest post by Omar Sultan, Senior Manager for Cisco Data Center Architecture
It’s that time of year again: Back to School. With all kinds of technology providing new ways to learn, today’s students are taking advantage of mobile devices and tablets to log on to classes remotely from home, using online learning tools, and turning in assignments virtually. For example, The Network, Cisco’s technology news site, recently posted an article about innovative ways in which students are learning: How Cloud Computing is Revolutionizing Education. This article describes how cloud computing provides an innovative alternative to bricks-and-mortar schooling and enables personal and interactive learning.
We’re seeing more educational customers evolving their data centers to take advantage of the latest trends in cloud computing and virtual desktop solutions, to support new student learning approaches. In addition, of course, saving IT costs is a key priority for these educational institutions.
Let the class begin!
ConnectEDU: Moving to Cloud-Based Data Center Operations
ConnectEDU, headquartered in Boston, MA, provides education and career management solutions to learners at 2,500 high schools and 450 colleges The ConnectEDU application is hosted on a Navisite cloud platform and supported by the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). ConnectEDU estimates it has slashed overall data center costs by 35 percent, and Cisco UCS is delivering five times more speed, while allowing the IT team to work faster. The server provisioning and physical rollouts that used to take the IT team seven weeks to accomplish, now only take a few hours in a virtual environment. The combination of Cisco UCS and VMware has allowed ConnectEDU to get much higher server utilization and achieve consolidation.
Richland School District: Deploying a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure for Cost Savings, Ease of Management
The Richland School District, in Washington State, serves nine elementary schools, three middle schools, and three high schools, and the district’s 4500 PCs and laptops support everything that Richland students do. The school district has deployed a Cisco desktop virtualization solution (VDI) with Citrix XenDesktop using the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), in conjunction with an EMC storage area network and VMware virtualized servers. Desktop virtualization provides significant cost savings. Richland IT staff estimate the average cost for a new PC at around $800, and with 4500 computers, it becomes very expensive to refresh machines every five years. But with virtualization, Richland’s cost is less than $300 per machine, and the life expectancy is 7-10 years. Students have access to the latest technology and the IT department can provide updates across the entire campus quickly and efficiently while maintaining security policies.
Seattle University: Virtual Desktops Support Remote Learning
Seattle University, located in Seattle, WA, deployed a desktop virtualization solution with the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and VMware as the foundation for server virtualization in the data center. The Seattle University IT staff is now managing open computers in 17 of the 32 educational and administrative buildings, residence halls, and student areas on campus, and has plans to grow into the other buildings as well. The IT staff is able to easily deploy and manage software applications and learning modules, which has reduced costs, created new learning opportunities, and freed up critical facility space on campus by reducing the need for additional computer labs. Students and faculty are now better able to conduct research with virtual desktops, and students can more easily take courses online from home with high speed access to the virtualized desktop system.
Please feel free to share your experiences with Cisco data center in the comments section to this blog, so that we learn from each other.