Coppell ISD: Advancing IT capabilities, despite aging hardware

How one organization is using BYOD and VDI to modernize its infrastructure; saving more than $1 million as a result.

“Our hardware,” says Chad Branum, executive director of technology at Coppell Independent School District (ISD), “typically has a five-year lifecycle.”

Coppell’s 3,000 desktops and 4,000 laptops are dispersed among 15 public schools in Texas. With these hardware systems nearing the end of their projected lifecycle, Branum recently found himself in a predicament.

“Using technology to empower our students and advance our educational model is a part of our overall strategy,” he explains. “Our administrators and parent community have always been very pro-technology and have consistently pushed for new, engaging services.”

And yet, like most public school systems, Coppell is challenged with funding. In a classic case of needing to do more with less, Branum had to find a way to modernize his school district’s technology capabilities, despite a restrictive budget and aging hardware.

“It’s tough to replace hardware when you are cash-strapped,” Branum says. “It’s even tougher to deliver new services and stay at the forefront of technology-based education.”

But that’s exactly what Branum and his team accomplished.

Tapping BYOD and VDI
The first step was implementing a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) program that takes advantage of students’ mobile computing resources.

“By leveraging our community’s personal devices, we can extend our computing services and learning experiences,” says Branum. “It’s also less for us to buy, manage, and maintain.”

The second step was making sure all students have a consistent experience, regardless of the device through which they connect to the school district’s computing environment. To do so, Coppell implemented a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) using a Vblock™ Powered Solution.

“VDI gives us the consistency we needed across all devices,” says Branum. “The experience is the same whether a student is in a library using one of our desktops, on a field trip using their mobile device, or at home using their family’s personal computer.”

  • The virtual infrastructure is extending the life of Coppell’s desktops and laptops by three to five years.
  • Compared to the cost of hardware replacement, Coppell will save more than $1 million over the next five years.

Presidio, a leading technology services provider, helped Coppell with the VDI deployment, from proof of concept to ROI modeling to the Vblock Powered Solution implementation. According to Branum, Presidio kept the big picture in mind while managing the day-to-day details.

“Working with Presidio has been a lot of fun,” says Branum. “They are extremely knowledgeable and took a strategic, holistic approach to our situation. Together, we created a five-year plan that solved immediate challenges and generated cost savings that can be applied elsewhere.”

With its new virtual infrastructure and cost savings, Coppell is evaluating the potential use of:

  • Virtual courses
  • Online research programs
  • Flip classroom initiatives
  • Technology-based standards testing

“We want a seamless integration between technology and learning. The first critical steps are giving students access to computing devices, and then delivering a consistent, engaging experience,” Branum explains. “Doing so has allowed us to explore new instructional strategies that were not previously possible.”

*Source: UnLeashingIT  View the entire article here - http://www.unleashingit.com/articles/S13A5.aspx