Today’s students are growing up in the digital age – they need to prepare for college and pursue careers in the 21st century. School districts across the country continually operate in an environment of constrained budgets and increasing complexity – students and school staff carry smart phones, laptops and other portable devices. This complexity puts more pressure on IT professionals as they attempt to provide the infrastructure for a 21st century learning environment.
School boards and administrators want to transform schools to a more efficient staffing model that reduces the total number of faculty while improving the quality of education. In a grass roots kind of way, virtualization can help serve all these needs by helping deliver the right learning and operation resources to students and faculty alike, anytime, anwhere.
Virtualization enables K-12 schools to:
- Reduce IT costs through consolidation and leverage cloud software to build a flexible virtual infrastructure
- Support access to data and applications through a wide variety of devices
- Leverage the virtual infrastructure to create an affordable disaster recovery solution
The most substantial costs of providing traditional desktops for staff and students is not in the actual hardware purchase, but in keeping that hardware running smoothly until it reaches end of life. Research shows that for every dollar spent on hardware, an organization will spend three dollars on troubleshooting and patching. Desktop virtualization enables school districts to deploy lower-cost thin clients that can be purchased for half the cost of a traditional PC. These bare bones machines not only consume less energy and require less maintenance, they also have a longer refresh cycle – a thin client can last between five to seven years or more.
Virtualization using solutions such as Citrix XenServer, Hyper-V, Virtual Box or VMware can be a hard sell to decision makers and the public because often people don’t understand it. Despite the proven ability to do more with less – and do it better – preconceived notions can be hard to overcome. According to one industry survey of over 100 IT managers last year, the top three barriers to desktop virtualization are all human factors: lack of skills and knowledge, internal political issues and a lack of resources. These can be overcome by initially deploying on a small scale, and allowing school administrators to see the benefits of virtualization first-hand. Small-scale success will lead to district buy-in for larger implementations.
Kaseya Network Monitor tracks a series of key metrics of the virtualization servers using the native APIs. School IT administrators can track and compare these statistics over time to document the utilization of servers… and prove the cost savings and benefits of virtualization.