Oak Hills Does the Math: VDI on Cisco UCS, VMware, and NetApp + Champion Solutions Group = $1.27M Savings
Success StoryOak Hills Does the Math: VDI on Cisco UCS,VMware, and NetApp + Champion SolutionsGroup = $1.27M Savings CUSTOMER PROFILE “Our schools operate on a 5-year technology- The Oak Hills Local School District in western refresh cycle, and we needed to retire some Hamilton County, Ohio, is the county’s 850 aging and increasingly high-maintenance third-largest district, serving about 8,100 desktops and laptops at the high school. students in preschool through grade 12. Unfortunately, this refresh cycle coincided For 9 years, Oak Hills has earned an Excellent with district-wide budget reductions of 10%. rating on the state report card while main- Although we retained a capital budget for taining the county’s lowest per-student the refresh, we needed a solution that would KEY HIGHLIGHTS spend. Caring, highly qualiﬁed teachers signiﬁcantly reduce ongoing costs. At theIndustry and staff deliver a wide range of youth and same time, we had to build on a foundationEducation adult services, including programs for gifted that could accommodate long-term growth students, special education services, and support objectives for e-learningThe challenge and vocational and community education. leadership.”Deliver anytime, anywhere teaching and “Among the best, we continue to strive forlearning despite district-wide budget The district’s goal was to deliver “anytime, better.” (Source: www.oakhills.k12.oh.us)reductions. anywhere” learning-systems accessibility to every Oak Hills high school student. ButThe solution THE CHALLENGE Kearns recognized that with ﬂat or shrinkingBuild a virtual desktop solution on Cisco® Reduce IT costs while delivering anytime, operating budgets on the horizon, buyingUCS, VMware®, and NetApp®. anywhere teaching and learning 3,000 or more new laptops was not an For the Oak Hills Local School District option. IT approached the problem from twoBeneﬁts directions: maximize the number of devices IT team, summer vacation is never a day at the beach— it’s a brief, 2-month window in the district could afford by deploying a access to learning systems solution that would reduce ongoing costs which to make needed technology changes and prepare for the new school year that e-learning leadership starts in August. In 2010, Oak Hills IT launched an aggressive This solution provided by: devices project to implement a new virtual desktop infrastructure to expand accessibility to online teaching and learning systems. Dave savings of $1.27M Kearns, instructional support administrator for the district, describes the challenges:
“We had an aggressive schedule that required live production testing. Critical to our success was deploying the right infrastructure and choosing the right partner [Champion Solutions Group]. We’ve built a highly extensible infrastructure that will help us deliver the highest-quality education and achieve e-learning leadership—all while maximizing the value of taxpayer dollars.” Dave Kearns Instructional Support Administrator, Oak Hills Local School District as well as enable the use of more affordable extended memory, and scalability, which “In the past,” says Kearns, “students had thin clients; and augment the desktop pool make it well suited for virtual desktop host- to work from the school’s media center or in by letting students use personal laptops and ing workloads. On the storage side, NetApp classroom mobile labs with restricted access mobile devices. was chosen for its deep integration with hours. Today, information is at their ﬁnger- VMware, performance, efﬁciencies, manage- tips, any time, day or night. They can use Oak Hills IT worked with Cisco Services and ability, and scalability. their laptops or iPads to work on projects Champion Solutions Group, a technology during study hall or in the evenings to infrastructure solutions and professional Deployed at the Oak Hills primary data download homework assignments or to use services provider and participant in Cisco, center, the Cisco UCS solution is conﬁgured Adobe Dreamweaver e-learning applications. NetApp, and VMware partner programs. with eight full-width UCS B250 M2 Extended This infrastructure has changed the rules The team designed a desktop virtualization Memory Blades, each running two six-core about when and where students can learn— solution to help the district do more with Intel ® Xeon® it dramatically expands their opportunities less. Speciﬁcations included: of memory. A high-availability NetApp to research, develop teamwork and problem-solving skills, and progress via Fibre Channel. To date, Oak Hills has through a curriculum.” deployed about 1,200 virtual desktops. cell phones, and other mobile devices Conﬁgured with NetApp Flash Cache A+ performance, plenty of room intelligent read cache, the NetApp solution in the locker effectively handles the heavy I/O loads that Mike Cooper, technology coordinator for the management tasks from a lean IT staff occur during peak access times—for exam- Oak Hills Local School District, says that the ple, during daily desktop startups and at the infrastructure keeps up with demands, even and future e-learning initiatives beginning of classes, when large numbers at peak usage: “Boot storms have not been of students log in simultaneously. an issue. That’s important, because you THE SOLUTION can’t ask classrooms to stagger logins. Kearns notes, “Cisco Services design Build a virtual desktop solution on validation and knowledge transfer and “We know that we can bring at least 1,500 Cisco UCS, VMware, and NetApp Champion’s strategies for smooth adoption virtual desktops online with the current The evaluation process included visits to helped us meet an aggressive schedule conﬁguration. UCS extended memory Ohio schools and universities that were and ensure that our staff could effectively technology will be especially beneﬁcial as already using virtual desktop infrastructures, manage the solution.” we move to new platforms like Windows® 7 as well as reviews of networking, server, that may require a larger memory footprint. and storage solutions from leading vendors, BUSINESS BENEFITS We now have scalability to reach our goal including Cisco, NetApp, and incumbent of providing one virtual desktop to every server and storage provider HP. The Champion All learning, all the time high-school student or to expand services team assessed Oak Hills’ IT environment to Kearns reports that the solution was up and to other district schools. Affordable growth help analyze project cost and impact. running for the start of the school year on was a key beneﬁt of combining Cisco UCS August 25. Students and teachers can now The team determined the best ﬁt to be a with NetApp storage. access learning applications from any of the VMware View™ desktop delivery system high school’s more than 1,000 desktops and “When we spec’ed this solution, we estimated on the VMware vSphere™ that we’d need 12TB of NetApp storage for our platform running on a Cisco Uniﬁed Com- access to data and services from a broad initial deployment. Supporting the same 1,200 puting System™ (UCS) data center platform array of end-point devices, including per- virtual desktops on a competing SAN would with NetApp uniﬁed storage. Selection of the sonal laptops and mobile devices such as have required 100TB, or more than 8 times the Cisco UCS was based on its efﬁcient form Apple® iPad ® and iPod ® touch tablets. storage we needed from NetApp. The efﬁcien- factor and high-performance processors, cies of NetApp storage make it a much more viable solution for virtual environments.”
NetApp also provides storage resources Lunch money and innovation clients—instead of buying $1,200 laptops(via iSCSI) to the Oak Hills VMware-based Kearns suggests that although the initialvirtualized-server environment. “NetApp’s capital investment required was comparablenative multiprotocol gives us ﬂexibility,” to a traditional desktop deployment, long-says Cooper. “Today we’re leveraging FC term cost savings make the virtual desktop Kearns emphasizes administrative beneﬁts:and iSCSI connectivity, but we may move solution much more economical. Bill Ginn, “Teachers seem by nature to be alwaysto FC over Ethernet. When you’re making client manager at Champion, offers the researching, exploring, and striving tothis kind of investment, you have to know ﬁnancial details: “We worked with Oak Hills expand horizons. It can be challenging forthat as your needs and technologies evolve, to do comprehensive cost analyses that an IT team to keep up with their appeals forthe solution can evolve with you, and that better, faster, more innovative. But this newyou won’t be faced with a costly rip-and- IT capital and operating savings of more infrastructure helps us be more responsive.”replace. With the Cisco UCS, VMware, and than $1.27M over 3 years. The savings from “In the past, a desktop update would haveNetApp infrastructure, we don’t have to this infrastructure come in many forms,worry about that—we’ve deployed a solution including hardware, space, energy, and observes. “Using Cisco UCS preconﬁguredfrom industry-leading vendors collaborating administrative efﬁciencies. Oak Hills, for service proﬁles in conjunction with VMwareto deliver technologies that work and scale example, can now leverage low-cost thin and NetApp rapid cloning capabilitiestogether.”Primary Data Center NetApp Snapshot NetApp SnapRestore NetApp Deduplication NFS NetApp SnapManager for Virtual Environments Virtual Infrastructure NetApp FlexClone NetApp Flash Cache NetApp PAM Cards VMware Host Servers NetApp FAS3140HAFigure 1) Oak Hills School District storage infrastructure.