June 27, 2017
In a climate where school budgets are shrinking or stretched thin, schools must use technology not only as an educational tool but as a way to increase efficiency and reduce costs. With that in mind, the goal must be to find technologies that both meet the needs of the users but also manage to reduce expenses along the way. It’s not an easy task by any means, but with the right technology, you can stretch a thin school budget to greater lengths.
Stretching the School Budget to Include IT
- Server Virtualization: First and foremost, server virtualization is an easy win for the school. If the school’s data center is still running bare metal servers, virtualizing these applications will reduce the data center footprint, reduce maintenance costs overall, and maintain or improve the performance of the applications. Server virtualization has been around for a while, but it is a low hanging fruit for your data center.
- The Cloud and SaaS: The cloud offers opportunities for savings, but recognize at the outset that the cloud will not be cheaper by default. You must construct your IT deployment strategically to maximize its value. Alternatively, Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are often good deals. Without deploying or maintaining any infrastructure on premise, the IT department can offer advanced applications for only a monthly fee. Microsoft Office 365 is a perfect example of this sort of application.
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): A VDI deployment perfectly aligns with the needs of a school. Rather than purchasing dozens of computers to populate a computer lab or two in the building, the school can deploy terminals instead. These terminals can be acquired for a fraction of the cost of a full computer and when using the virtual desktop applications, the students can still have a full desktop experience.
- Cisco WebEx: WebEx is an interesting example of how a school can increase efficiency with technology. On the one hand it can function as a standalone PBX system for the school, but it also has direct applications in the classroom as well. Cisco WebEx Teams is a collaboration platform that will enable the students and faculty to organize their workflows, streamline group projects, and work together in a digital space.
- All Flash or Hybrid Storage: Flash storage is faster, costs less to maintain, and takes up less room in the data center. For select priority applications, a flash storage deployment can increase performance and reduce costs over the lifespan of the equipment. Alternatively, hybrid storage combines the speed of flash with the low cost of disk storage to create a happy medium between the two solutions.
Shop Smart and Do Your Research
The entire IT industry is moving towards the cloud and services instead of hardware. With that in mind, be prepared to encounter a dozen SaaS applications that all seem to serve similar functions. Do your research to try to understand the differences between them or work with an IT consultant to help navigate these challenges. Mindsight can perform an Infrastructure Optimization Roadmap to help you isolate a technology in your data center and greatly improve its efficiency and performance.
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