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Indiana’s Largest K-12 Education Institution Adopts Virtualization to Get Kids’ Attention

December 3, 2012
at 9:42 am PST

Have you visited your local high school or middle school lately? If so, it wouldn’t surprise you to know that students spend considerable time focusing on recreational media unrelated to their coursework. Everything from Facebook and Pandora to Netflix and Twitter.

This presents a particular challenge for teachers who must compete for students’ dwindling attention. However, there is an answer. Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), for example, adopted virtualization as their gateway for delivering quality education.

This means it doesn’t matter where kids are located, what their educational needs are, or even what device they use to access technology. It also means that IPS, the state of Indiana’s largest K-12 education institution, is meeting kids where they “live.”

To enable this anywhere, anytime approach, IPS turned to several Cisco partners, including Cisco Premier Partner Bell Techlogix, Cisco Gold Partner MCPc, and Cisco Gold Partner and Master Unified Communications Specialized Partner Netech. They also worked directly with Cisco to help build their network of the future. 

Working in various areas of the project, the Cisco partners helped IPS virtualize its data center, significantly reduce its physical servers, and slash hardware and services costs.

So how did they achieve these impressive results?

IPS had a complicated network configuration involving a multitude of equipment manufacturers and it was starting to sprawl out beyond what they could control. IPS needed a way to make their environment more manageable.

The first step was to install an end-to-end Cisco Data Center solution, including networking, core, distribution, storage, and, eventually, compute. This reduced the number of managed network connection points, decreasing the complexity.

The next step was to implement virtual desktops broken into five “domains,” including EduLabs, Labs, Students, Staff, and Training. This virtualization of servers allows IPS to be more responsive to students’ educational needs.

In addition, because of their virtualized data center, IPS can quickly and easily deploy new applications, textbooks, or even standardized testing as necessary. The school district can also reallocate resources to handle shifting workloads.

With a blade platform built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), IPS is now one of the largest K-12 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments. They also have a vision around VDI from a home-user perspective and increasing interaction with parents.

It’s an exciting time to be an IPS student. If they have access to an Internet-connected device, they have access to IPS applications and services.

While teachers still face the challenge of distracted students, delivering materials and education to them in a way that enables mobility and flexibility is a plus—for the school district itself, the teachers, and the students.

Thank you Bell Techlogix, MCPc, and Netech for helping IPS build their network of the future. You each earn an “A” from Cisco.

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