Virtualization, cloud computing help CA schools cut IT costs

School districts struggling to contain costs while keeping classrooms technologically current are looking to virtualization and cloud computing as means to achieve both of those ends. Two California schools, one private and one public, found thin and zero client solutions to work for them.

St. Anne School is a private Catholic School in Laguna Niguel, CA that serves over 800 children spanning preschool through the 8th grade. In order to mitigate ongoing PC maintenance and turnover issues, St. Anne recently began phasing out their PCs through a virtualization solution that leverages Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenDesktop, and a combination of Wyse Windows Embedded-based thin clients and Wyse Xenith next-generation zero clients.

"Teachers and students immediately noticed that they were able to log on to the centralized applications faster with the 'new computers' than they’d been able to do with the PCs," according to Joe Kemp, IT Manager at St. Anne School. "Login speed is particularly important in study periods or during classes, because faster logins enable teachers and students to get down to the material at hand more quickly. When teachers thank me for the new computers I just say, 'you're welcome.'"

Alvarado Elementary is a K-5 Spanish/English dual-immersion school based in San Francisco, CA. Through its PTA Technology Committee, Alvarado is rolling out Wyse E01 zero clients. Each classroom will be equipped with one PC and four student workstations in order to augment teacher curriculum.

"We have been working toward the goal of one-to-one computing, but purchasing a PC for each student was not only cost prohibitive but impossible for the school to maintain," according to Alvarado Elementary School PTA member Tom Rainey. "After trying other solutions, we selected Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 in conjunction with the E01 zero clients from Wyse. The combination gives us the economics and energy savings of shared computing, while also providing us with the assurance of working with two very sophisticated organizations."