Windows Vista
                                            Customer Solution Case Study

                                        Thomas College is a small liberal arts college    The college has approx...
incoming students—and returning students         features like the video editing software, and
designed on a fundamentally different level        available in Windows Vista. Windows Vista
For More Information                                            Windows Vista
For more information about Microsoft        ...
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local copy (Word 2003)


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  1. 1. Windows Vista Customer Solution Case Study College Boosts Productivity, Security by Upgrading to the Latest Operating System Overview “Knowing that Windows Vista is designed … to Country or Region: United States Industry: Education be more secure [than previous versions] is very important to us because of the amount of Internet Customer Profile Thomas College, located in Waterville, traffic that we have going through the campus.” Maine, is a private school with approx- Christopher Rhoda, Vice President for Information Services, Thomas College imately 1,100 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. Thomas College is a small liberal arts school in Maine that prides Business Situation itself on providing the latest technology for its students and staff. The IT department wanted to determine the value of upgrading the school’s PC client The school’s Information Technology department wanted to operating system from Windows® XP to standardize on one PC operating system in order to improve user Windows Vista® to enhance productivity and increase security. productivity, enhance security, and ease management tasks. The school decided on the Windows Vista® operating system and Solution After evaluation and pilot testing, the recommends that all incoming students purchase portable school decided to upgrade to Windows computers from Dell with the operating system preinstalled. Vista and recommends that all incoming students purchase Dell portable computers Widespread use of Windows Vista on the campus is helping with the latest operating system. improve user productivity, enhance security, and create a solid Benefits foundation for future improvements in the IT environment, including  Greater productivity for students and 64-bit computing. faculty  Enhanced security for the IT network  Improved IT foundation for 64-bit computing and desktop virtualization
  2. 2. Situation Thomas College is a small liberal arts college The college has approximately 250 work- located in Waterville, Maine, about 75 miles stations and portable computers on campus north of Portland. The private school, which that are used by faculty and staff, and by sits on 110 acres near the Kennebec River, students in computer labs and the library. has about 1,100 undergraduate, graduate, About half of these are Windows®-based and continuing education students. The col- workstations that connect directly to the lege offers a number of academic specialties, school’s Windows Server–based network, including criminal justice, education, busi- and the rest are a mix of desktop and port- ness, and technology. able PCs that were running the Windows XP operating system. Thomas College puts a high value on provid- ing classes and resources that will help stu- In early 2007, the school’s IT department dents excel in careers after they graduate. As began evaluating the Windows Vista® oper- part of that effort, the school’s IT department ating system to see if it would improve user has created a campuswide infrastructure that productivity while boosting overall network offers the latest computing technology. security, including offering protection against “We tested Windows Internet-based threats introduced by high vol- “We focus on getting the best cutting-edge umes of Web browsing activity. “For a number Vista on the newest and technology whenever we can—the admin- of administrative and security reasons, we oldest equipment that istration is very supportive of that,” says had to consider the effects of moving to a Christopher Rhoda, Vice President for new client operating system,” Rhoda says. we owned, and it worked Information Services at Thomas College. “It was a balancing act, because we needed well on every machine.” “But because there are just two of us to to figure out what incoming students would manage the college’s IT needs, we have to be be bringing with them in fall 2007, and what Christopher Rhoda, Vice President for sure that the technology we acquire allows us the best client operating system would be for Information Systems, Thomas College to streamline management tasks as much as us in terms of administrative support and possible. At the same time, it has to support security.” a secure computing environment. Plus the technology must provide the maximum Solution benefit to users.” The school decided to become an early adopter of Windows Vista to take advantage The college uses a range of Microsoft® of a number of new and enhanced operating software, including server products such as system features. It ran a pilot test on four the Windows Server® 2008 Enterprise oper- workstations and four portable PCs in January ating system, Exchange Server 2007 for 2007. “We tested Windows Vista on the new- communication and collaboration, and Office est and oldest equipment that we owned, and Communications Server 2007 for instant it worked well on every machine,” says messaging and Web-based conferencing. It Rhoda. also uses Microsoft Forefront™ security products, including Forefront Security for All the college’s desktop and portable PCs Exchange Server to help protect the e-mail were upgraded to Windows Vista Enterprise infrastructure, and Microsoft Exchange by July 2007. In addition, the school’s IT Hosted Services for spam filtering. department decided to recommend that
  3. 3. incoming students—and returning students features like the video editing software, and looking for a new computer—purchase a assists the IT department by enhancing the preconfigured portable computer from Dell. security of our computing environment.” The school teamed up with Dell to offer Latitude D630 portable computers with In addition, the school now has a foundation Windows Vista Enterprise, which Thomas for future enhancements, such as moving to College students can purchase at about 30 64-bit hardware and applications for greater percent less than the usual retail price. Stu- performance. dents also have the option to purchase the computers with Windows Vista Ultimate so Greater Productivity they have access to Windows Movie Maker Students and faculty at Thomas College now video creation and editing software. are more productive. “Windows Vista intro- duced quite a few features that sound fairly To further improve PC performance, the simple in their description, yet boost the school began deploying Windows Vista productivity of users,” Rhoda says. “For "Windows Vista is well Service Pack 1 in February 2008 and example, clicking the Start button and typing received here because it completed updating all of the school’s ‘Excel’ in the Instant Search field to start PC assets by May 2008. Microsoft Office Excel® 2007 [spreadsheet helps improve user software] can save people a lot of time. The productivity, provides Meanwhile, the school is working with Dell to same is true for the power of Instant Search, upgrade the college workstations to Windows which can be used to quickly find a particular great features like the Vista Enterprise–based OptiPlex 755 man- file or e-mail message.” video editing software, aged desktop computers, which are opti- mized to work in network environments. The Rhoda adds that the incorporation of and assists the IT school uses Windows Deployment Services Windows Movie Maker in Windows Vista department by and works with Dell to upload PC configura- Ultimate is also a boon. It has provided a tion images to the new workstations. surge of interest in students using video for enhancing the security classroom work, creating projects such as of our computing Benefits musical performances, and adding content to By upgrading to the latest desktop operating social Web sites. “The movie editing software environment.” system, the Thomas College IT department is greatly improved over previous editions,” Christopher Rhoda, Vice President for has enhanced the school’s computing Rhoda says, noting that students can pro- Information Systems, Thomas College environment. Students and faculty are duce videos faster than before for both aca- experiencing productivity gains, and the demic and personal projects. “This has added school has increased its security against a to the popularity of using video in our com- variety of Internet-based threats. puter degree programs with courses like Web and Multimedia Design. Students love pub- “We predicted that about one-third of the lishing videos on social sites like Windows incoming students in late 2007 would bring Live™ Spaces.” Windows Vista–based laptops,” Rhoda says. “The actual number was about 40 percent, Enhanced Security and the number is increasing. Windows Vista The operating system upgrade helps increase is well received here because it helps the security of the IT environment, according improve user productivity, provides great to Rhoda. “Knowing that Windows Vista is
  4. 4. designed on a fundamentally different level available in Windows Vista. Windows Vista to be more secure [than previous versions] is Enterprise Centralized Desktop provides very important to us because of the amount unique licensing to run Windows in virtual of Internet traffic that we have on campus,” machines on server computers. The school’s he says, noting that the school is taking users will be able to access these virtual advantage of a number of security features machines on either PCs or thin clients using provided in Windows Vista, including existing network workstations located around Windows Defender and Group Policy. “We campus. “It’s great to know that I can virtual- are using Windows Vista in combination with ize our desktop environment,” Rhoda says. “It the other Microsoft software, including will save us time when we are deploying new Forefront client security, to increase our level PCs.” of protection against malware and spam. We also have Windows Vista configured to get automatic updates. “That, in my mind, also makes users more “We are very interested productive,” Rhoda adds. “With Windows Vista on their PCs, users don’t have to spend in moving the school to time thinking about and protecting their PCs 64-bit computing for the from Internet-based threats. It is simply done for them.” performance gains, and Windows Vista is helping Improved IT Foundation for the Future Thomas College now has a solid foundation us prepare for that.” in place for taking advantage of rich applica- tions and faster-performing hardware as they Christopher Rhoda, Vice President for become available. “We are very interested in Information Systems, Thomas College moving the school to 64-bit computing for the performance gains, and Windows Vista is helping us prepare for that,” Rhoda says, referencing the built-in support for 64-bit hardware and software. “Right now, we are waiting for more applications to be available for 64-bit, and hard disks that truly take advantage of that architecture. I have been running my desktop PC on 64-bit Windows Vista Enterprise since last year, and I know it delivers a lot of performance benefits for all applications, especially ones that require graphics.” The school also plans to take advantage of the desktop virtualization capabilities
  5. 5. For More Information Windows Vista For more information about Microsoft Windows Vista can help your organization use products and services, call the Microsoft information technology to gain a competitive Sales Information Center at (800) advantage in today’s new world of work. Your 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft people will be able to find and use Canada Information Centre at (877) information more effectively. You will be able 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or to support your mobile work force with better hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text access to shared data and collaboration telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) tools. And your IT staff will have better tools 892-5234 in the United States or (905) and technologies to enhance corporate IT 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 security, data protection, and more efficient United States and Canada, please contact deployment and management. your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go For more information about Windows Vista, to: go to: For more information about Thomas College, call (207) 859-1111 or visit the Web site at: Software and Services  Services  Windows Vista Enterprise − Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services  Microsoft Server Product Portfolio − Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Hardware − Microsoft Exchange Server 2007  Dell Latitude D630 portable computers − Microsoft Forefront Security for  Dell OptiPlex 755 managed desktop Exchange Server 2007 computers  Microsoft Office − Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published May 2008