Citrix® and Scale Help Indiana Charter School Organization Cut Storage Costs by Nearly 50 Percent, Reinvest Savings on Students
Desktop and Server Virtualization Solutions from Citrix Give Each Student Access to Computers and Education Technology; Storage Solutions from Scale Computing Play Key Role in Data Infrastructure Upgrade
FETC 2010 Conference, Orlando, FL Booth No. 654 - Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) and Scale Computing announced today that their solutions for desktop and server virtualization and data storage helped the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation (GEO Foundation) upgrade their data infrastructure, realize $60,000 in savings in the first month and enable 1:1 computer-to-student ratios in some classrooms, giving each student access to computer-based learning tools.
Based in Indianapolis, Ind., the GEO Foundation has worked statewide to improve public education since 1998. Specifically, the GEO Foundation helped foster support for Indiana’s current charter school law, and now sponsors three charter schools in the state, as well as in Colorado, with a total of more than 1,300 students. In addition, the GEO Foundation operates a statewide tutoring program, and its Charter School Service Center assists other leaders in establishing and operating their charter schools.
As the GEO Foundation’s student body expanded, its computing infrastructure struggled to keep up with the demands of supporting multiple schools. Increasing storage needs, expensive cooling requirements and desktop backups in the datacenter were becoming more difficult and costly to address each year. In addition, the extreme costs of desktop upgrades - more than $75,000 per school every four to five years - added to the organization’s IT strain. Finally, the GEO Foundation needed a storage solution to handle their growing needs, without migrating data or disrupting services.
Desktop and Datacenter Solution: Virtualization from Citrix Systems
The GEO Foundation selected Citrix XenServer™ and Citrix XenDesktop™ as the most logical and cost-effective choices to address their key concerns of expensive cooling requirements in the datacenter and costly desktop upgrades.
Citrix XenServer™ integrated easily into the GEO Foundation’s existing infrastructure, with the ability to run multiple virtual servers on each physical server. The result: the transformation of the datacenter into a dynamic, easy-to-manage IT service delivery center. This reduced the number of servers that the GEO Foundation has to power, cool and maintain, creating a more energy efficient datacenter that provides top speed, performance and security for academic computing.
Citrix XenDesktop™ helped the GEO Foundation to centralize their computing functions and drive down associated costs. In addition, Citrix allowed GEO Foundation to deploy thin client workstations - desktops and laptops that access all software and data directly from the datacenter. Thin client computers cost less, last longer and draw less power than traditional desktops. Due to the initial cost savings of the infrastructure upgrade project, the organization can now provide their students with the academic computing ideal: a one-to-one, computer-to-student ratio. Before the upgrade project, the GEO Foundation could afford only one computer for every four students.
“When we began this project, we had no idea that we were going to enable some classrooms to provide every student their own computer - something that is nearly unheard of,” said Kevin Teasley, president and CEO, GEO Foundation. “In this scenario, a back-end server room technology directly translated into more technology in the hands of students. It’s quite an amazing story.”
“The GEO Foundation has created a smart, cost-effective data infrastructure solution for server virtualization, desktop virtualization and data storage,” said Dave Podwojski, director of government, education and health, Citrix. “Other school systems could replicate this infrastructure upgrade to save significant funds and to provide one-to-one computing for all students.”
Storage Solution for Desktop Virtualization: Scale Computing
For the storage they needed to support this infrastructure upgrade project, the GEO Foundation turned to Scale’s Intelligent Clustered Storage™ (ICS) technology for the best all-around storage and cost-saving solution for their needs. Scale’s ICS technology provides storage clusters that can grow seamlessly from as little as three terabytes (TB) to more than 2.2 petabytes (PB), in increments as small as one TB at a time. This gives the GEO Foundation the ability to scale their storage solution as needed by simply plugging in another node without compromising network speed.
“Desktop virtualization has been debated for quite some time - does it save companies and schools money, is it cheaper to just stick with desktops and how long will it take to see the return on investment?” said Peter Fuller, vice president of marketing, Scale Computing. “Nearly all other storage offerings make it cheaper to just keep buying replacement desktops, but with Scale’s cost-effective storage, combined with Citrix’s unmatched family of virtualization products, not only do IT staffs benefit from lower costs and greater ease of manageability, but the end-users benefit as well. In the case of the GEO Foundation, the students were the real winners.”
Big Results for Indiana Charter Schools
By combining virtualization products from Citrix and the unified storage area network/network-attached storage (SAN/NAS) solution from Scale, the GEO Foundation transitioned all of their storage, virtualized six existing servers and even retired five additional existing file servers - all in one month, in just one school. Overall, the GEO Foundation has retired or repurposed 14 servers and has condensed all data storage to a single backup repository.
“The upgrade has been smoother and saved us more money than we had planned,” said Brian Beck, CIO, GEO Foundation. “We were able to save a lot of time with setup, free up a great amount of server space and reduce cooling and electric costs, all without our users ever missing a moment of productivity.” In the first month of implementation, GEO realized $60,000 in resulting savings. “We’ve already seen our investment pay for itself,” Beck added.
In terms of future plans, the GEO Foundation will continue working with Citrix and Scale Computing solutions to centralize applications, ultimately further reducing costs and delivering applications instantly to users anywhere. Also, by expanding their deployment of thin clients, the GEO Foundation expects to boost performance and save thousands of dollars by dispensing with costly desktop replacements.
About Scale Computing
Scale Computing is a data storage developer offering enterprise-class scalable and clustered storage solutions. Scale Computing’s enterprise storage solution, ICSTM, allows users to add storage hardware, known as storage nodes, as necessary without suspending services or migrating data. By combining commodity hardware with a clustered file system commonly found only in the world’s largest supercomputers, a Scale storage cluster grows seamlessly while reducing costs by up to seventy-five percent compared to traditional enterprise storage solutions. For more information, visit http://www.scalecomputing.com.
About Citrix Systems
Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leading provider of virtualization, networking and software-as-a-service (SaaS) technologies for more than 230,000 organizations worldwide. Its Citrix Delivery Center™, Citrix Cloud Center™ (C3) and Citrix Online Services product families radically simplify computing for millions of users, delivering applications as an on-demand service to any user, in any location, on any device. Citrix customers include the world’s largest Internet companies, 99 percent of Fortune Global 500 enterprises, and hundreds of thousands of small businesses and prosumers worldwide. Citrix partners with over 10,000 companies worldwide in more than 100 countries. Founded in 1989, annual revenue in 2008 was $1.6 billion.
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