In addition to growing concerns over schools’ carbon footprint, our higher education and K12 institutions are facing rising electricity and gas costs – upwards of 150% increases in some institutions. In our current economic climate, the need to optimize expenses is paramount. However, by leveraging some of the new technology options available (hosted software, virtualization), schools can save money, add increased service and be environmentally responsible.
From an environmental perspective, power consumption is a good starting point to address – particularly since the rise of technology in our schools has added to power demands and cost. Since 2002, the number of computers in a typical school has doubled, and with that more power-hungry servers have also arrived (a typical rack-mount server might have a 700 watt power supply).
One popular and effective option is to consider a virtualization strategy for reducing the number of physical servers you need in your server room, and giving you more flexibility in your ICT infrastructure. With virtualization solutions, you can consolidate your academic institution’s under-employed servers onto a smaller number of fully utilized machines. Owning fewer physical devices and reducing your datacenter footprint gives you a direct way to help:
- Reduce your hardware, energy, and management overhead
- Scale to growing demand and adapt to change
- Enhance security and reduce risk
Virtualization is an integral component of the Microsoft platform. This means that you will not pay extra for it and it doesn’t require custom development to use it. When you look at your list of requirements, don’t assume that you need to buy (and integrate and deploy) a new solution for each. Consider these alternatives to buying additional software:
- Use built-in enterprise search features in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and core Client Access Licenses (CAL).
- Establish records and document management systems using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server
- Use SQL Server and the 2007 Microsoft Office system to build out a Business Intelligence for K-12 or Business Intelligence for Higher ED solution.
Here’s a great case study that provides some insight on the state of Kentucky’s virtualization plan.
The Kentucky Department for Education runs 900 servers on behalf of their schools – 200 in a data center, and 700 spread across their school system. They found they were each running at typical 10% of capacity, because they had dedicated servers for each task. By deploying virtualization they estimate that they’re going to reduce their physical servers by 60%, reduce data center space by 50%, and reduce power use by 25%. Their goal is to reduce any downtime by building in redundancy – ensuring there are fewer interruptions to learning across their school system. This also enhances their disaster preparedness as a result. It’s a compelling success story.