STREAMING EDUCATION

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STREAMING EDUCATION

  1. 1. SOLUTIONS • DESKTOP/LAPTOP REFRESH • FLEXIBLE COMPUTING • POWER & COOLING • VIRTUALIZATION STREAMING CUSTOMER PROFILE EDUCATION COUNTRY: United States INDUSTRY: Education NUMBER OF STUDENTS: 6,300 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 770 WEB ADDRESS: www.misd.org CHALLENGE Montgomery ISD saves $200,000 and eliminates a projected Faced with a mix of legacy client and 20% of help-desk calls with desktop virtualization solutions server hardware and an aging audio- visual (A/V) system, Montgomery ISD from Dell wanted to introduce uniformity into its hardware environment, upgrade the A/V infrastructure and find a more efficient way to deliver desktops and applications to end users. SOLUTION Montgomery ISD decided to standardize on Dell for desktops, laptops, servers and centralized storage. To upgrade its audio- visual capabilities, the district built an IPTV infrastructure using Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers and Dell EqualLogic™ storage. The district also deployed Dell On-Demand Desktop Streaming and Dell Virtual Remote Desktops using Citrix provisioning and desktop virtualization software and Dell OptiPlex™ flex computing desktops, along with Citrix application virtualization. BENEFITS • $200,000 hardware cost avoidance by using IPTV • Projected 20% reduction in PC power consumption by using flex computing solution vs. tower PCs • Projected twofold longer refresh cycle for client hardware (8 years vs. 4) • 27% reduction in total cost of ownership for desktops using Dell flex computing solution • 75-85% of video-related help- desk calls eliminated through IPTV solution • Projected additional 20% reduction in help-desk calls through virtual desktops • Able to push Flash and multimedia content using minimal bandwidth • Enhanced resilience against viruses and malware • Seamless changing of desktop images from central data center • Users’ work protected in case of power outages
  2. 2. Drive 40 miles north of Houston to Montgomery County, Texas. Explore scenic Lake Conroe and the Sam Houston National Forest. How perfect, you might think: Less than an hour from the fourth- largest city in America, yet such an idyllic setting. “IT WOULD HAVE COST OVER A QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS TO UPGRADE THE CONVENTIONAL TV INFRASTRUCTURE AT SEVEN CAMPUSES. THE CORE EQUIPMENT FOR IPTV COST US ABOUT $70,000.” George Thornton, network operations manager, Montgomery ISD You wouldn’t be alone. Montgomery use other Dell servers for specialized HOW IT WORKS County’s population nearly doubled projects,” says Thornton. “The Dell between 2000 and 2007 census Warranty Parts Direct program allows HARDWARE counts. And over the next 10 years, us to keep parts on hand and certify • Dell™ PowerEdge™ M605 blade Montgomery Independent School our own technicians to perform service, servers with AMD® Opteron™ District (ISD) is expected to double in resulting in faster break-fix.” processors enrollment. With the ever-increasing • Dell PowerEdge M1000e modular I WANT MY IPTV blade enclosures importance of technology in students’ Another area Thornton targeted, • Dell PowerEdge R200 servers with lives, the district is challenged with with the encouragement of Steve Intel® Xeon® processors delivering educational technology tools Bodman, director of technology, • Dell PowerEdge 2950 and 1950 to more students and classrooms as was the district’s cable television servers with Intel Xeon processors efficiently as possible. system for distributing audio-visual • Dell OptiPlex™ FX160 desktop STANDARDIZING ON DELL programming to the seven school computers with Intel Atom™ When Network Operations Manager campuses in Montgomery County. Many processors George Thornton joined the district, of the district’s IT help desk calls were • Dell OptiPlex 740 desktop there was little standardization in data related to the system, and teachers computers • Dell Latitude™ E6400 and center or client hardware. Knowing that were frustrated to the point that they E5400 laptops with Intel Core™ 2 the first step toward a more effective IT weren’t using video in the classroom. processors infrastructure is consistency, Thornton “The technology was old, and the signal • Dell EqualLogic™ PS5500E and recommended that the district switch strength was not modulated correctly PS5000X iSCSI SAN arrays to a single point of contact for servers, for each classroom,” Thornton explains. • Osprey High-Performance Video storage, desktops and laptops. The “We were either burning up TVs Capture and Streaming Cards superintendent and the Montgomery because the signal was too strong, or County School Board were very SOFTWARE the picture would be terrible because supportive of this effort. • Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 the signal was too weak. The district with Microsoft Windows Media® “I have a good history with Dell at other can’t afford to have a full-time A/V Services 9 organizations, and the value of the Dell engineer on staff to maintain a coaxial • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 solution is great,” he says. “We’re using network. So we decided to switch • Dell On-Demand Desktop Dell OptiPlex 740 desktops, and our the system to IPTV and leverage our Streaming using Citrix® Provisioning new laptop standard is the Dell Latitude expertise in IP networking.” Server for Desktops E Series. We’re using both the E6400 • Dell Virtual Remote Desktop using Here’s how it works: A master TV and E5400, and we really like them. Citrix XenDesktop™ signal comes into the NOC, and that It’s great how much RAM we can put in • Citrix Essentials™ for XenServer™ coaxial signal is split into 20 channels them, and the E6400 is fully dockable, Dell Edition using a set-top box. Each channel which appeals to a lot of our faculty.” • Citrix XenApp™ is then routed to a dedicated Dell The district now uses exclusively Dell PowerEdge R200 server with Intel SERVICES PowerEdge servers and Dell EqualLogic Xeon processors, where it is captured • Dell ProSupport for IT storage arrays in its centralized and digitized on the way in via Osprey • Dell Warranty Parts Direct network operations center (NOC). “We High-Performance Video Capture use a lot of PowerEdge 1950 and 2950 and Streaming Cards. The servers run rack-mount servers running Microsoft the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Windows Server 2003/2008, and we operating system, which includes
  3. 3. “THE DELL FLEX COMPUTING DESKTOPS CONSUME MUCH LESS POWER THAN TOWER PCS. WE ESTIMATE THE DELL FLEX COMPUTING SOLUTION WILL SAVE US AROUND 20 PERCENT ON OUR PC POWER BILL.” Steve Bodman, director of technology, Montgomery ISD Microsoft Windows Media Services 9 could not be created or broadcast on “We have a metro gigabit Ethernet and Windows Media Encoder to encode it,” says Bodman. “Previously, we could network with a dedicated gigabit per the video stream as a series of IP not share content across the district. second to each campus,” Thornton packets. The channel is then pushed to With IPTV, every campus can create explains. “What we decided to do is one of ten Dell PowerEdge 1950 servers unique content for use on the home use four Dell PowerEdge M605 blade that act as “publishing servers” and campus and other campuses across servers as central provisioning servers, make the video stream available to the the district can tune in, even with live and store all our desktop images on a entire district via a streaming Web link. broadcasts. The IPTV solution has been Dell EqualLogic PS5500E iSCSI SAN. used by the Superintendent to make Each provisioning server can stream In addition to the 20 channel-encoding live announcements across the district— about 250 desktops.” servers, the district uses two additional something that would not have been Dell PowerEdge R200 servers, one for The interesting twist is that possible using the older technology.” a district wide broadcast channel and Montgomery ISD isn’t streaming the the other for a district wide dedicated Compared to the cost of upgrading images directly to end-user desktops at media channel to play VHS tapes or the legacy A/V system, IPTV saved the the campuses. “We’re streaming them DVDs. Each school campus also has district around $200,000. “It would down to XenServer virtual machines two local PowerEdge R200s that act as have cost us over a quarter of a million running on Dell M605 blades located in media encoders for local VHS and DVD dollars to upgrade the conventional TV the NOC,” Thornton explains. “Twenty- playback. A Dell EqualLogic PS5000X infrastructure at all seven campuses,” three blades host around 30 virtual iSCSI SAN hosts video of school events Thornton estimates. “All of the core machines each. So the virtual machines for on-demand playback. “Currently server equipment required for IPTV cost are doing all the processing work, you have to be in school to see the us about $70,000, and we’ve been able and we’re using Citrix XenDesktop to playback, but we are working on to to reclaim a significant amount of rack capture keyboard and mouse data and make them viewable via the Internet,” space. Help-desk calls for video related push screen updates to the desktops Thornton notes. issues have decreased by 75 to 85 themselves. This way, we’re not percent. And we’ve been running this traversing the WAN to stream the OS or SAVING $200,000 IN for about a year with no major issues.” applications to the end user.” UPGRADE COSTS The impact of IPTV has been VIRTUALIZING 1,000 DESKTOPS GETTING FLASHY monumental—both on student To provide students with a richer The district has other plans for engagement and on the district’s desktop experience and reduce the its network: multimedia video. A bottom line. Several of the schools amount of staff time spent maintaining traditional problem with using flex are now doing live broadcasts every hardware and patching systems, clients and desktop virtualization in morning via “BearTV,” named in honor Montgomery ISD is embracing desktop educational environments is that much of the district’s mascot. virtualization. The district is currently in of the software is based on Adobe Flash, the process of replacing 1,000 desktop which is inherently bandwidth-intensive. “For morning announcements, instead PCs in computer labs and classrooms of the principal getting on the intercom, “Citrix has a new protocol called with Dell OptiPlex FX160 desktop the kids are watching their friends HDX over ICA—that stands for ‘high- computers with Intel Atom processors. live on video,” says Thornton. “We definition experience over ICA.’ This The Dell OptiPlex FX160 is optimized have video cameras set up close to allows us to push Flash and multimedia for flexible computing and can be the encoders, and we stream that content to the desktops using minimal purchased in a variety of configurations, live broadcast over our IPTV network. bandwidth,” says Thornton. with or without an internal hard drive. We’ve found that the kids take comfort REDUCING HELP-DESK CALLS in having that kind of interaction every Montgomery ISD is using an intriguing BY 20% morning—it settles them down. And combination of Dell On-Demand Montgomery ISD is also using Citrix they pay more attention, because it’s Desktop Streaming using Citrix XenApp to deliver applications their peers talking.” Provisioning Server for Desktops and independently from desktop images, Dell Virtual Remote Desktop, which “The pre-existing TV network was one where it makes sense to do so. “So for uses Citrix XenDesktop. direction only, and original content instance, instead of having Microsoft
  4. 4. Office loaded on a PC somewhere or on an image, “A total cost of ownership study projects eight- a user will simply call up Microsoft Office and year’s savings of 27 percent, or $266,000,” says it will launch from the server and push down to Bodman. “Although it is still very early in the the ICA flex client,” Thornton explains. “That is school year, early results tend to support the going to save a lot of time, because we only have notion that this was a very good move for our to load Microsoft Office once. And if a user needs district. We have already encountered a need it, we’ll just give them a shortcut to the XenApp.” to apply a patch for 150 flex clients spread out over four campuses very rapidly. In the past, Overall, Thornton expects the desktop this would have taken us the better part of a virtualization solution to further reduce the week of concentrated effort by a minimum of district’s IT help-desk calls by 20 percent. Staff three desktop support technicians. Our systems will no longer have to visit classrooms and labs administrator was able to install the patch on the to install software and re-image desktops, and virtual servers supporting the flex clients and virus infections can be remediated with a simple direct users to reboot their machines in about reboot. “If a virus infects a virtual desktop, we one hour.” can just shut off that desktop and move the user over to a clean desktop,” says Thornton. “We KEEPING UP WITH 7% ANNUAL GROWTH just reload the infected desktop from a clean Thornton appreciates the fact that the district image, and we’re done. But all that happens was able to source the entire virtual desktop behind the scenes, so the users never see it.” solution—both the hardware and the Citrix software—through Dell. He also likes the If the power goes out at a school campus, flexibility the district gets with Dell support. users’ desktops—and their work—will be safely protected by UPS systems in the NOC, waiting “We have different support contracts with Dell for them when they log back in. depending on how critical the hardware is,” he says. “For the EqualLogic SAN arrays, we have CUTTING POWER CONSUMPTION BY 20% Dell ProSupport for IT with a guaranteed four- Another benefit of the new flexible computing hour response time. We’ve had a very good solution is power savings. “The State of Texas experience with Dell, and the solutions we’ve put has released a mandate for ISDs to decrease in place will help ensure that we can continue their power consumption by 30 percent over to provide students with the best possible the next 5 years,” says Bodman. “The Dell flex technology—even with the district growing at computing desktops consume much less power more than seven percent each year.” than tower PCs. With the assistance of our district energy manager, we estimate the Dell To read additional case studies, go to: flex computing solution will save us around 20 DELL.COM/casestudies percent on our current PC power bill.” The district will also be able to extend the life of its client hardware, since the performance of the virtual desktops is not dependent on client-side processers and RAM configurations that can become outdated. “We’ll be able to extend our refresh cycle from four years to eight,” says Thornton. SIMPLIFY YOUR TOTAL SOLUTION AT DELL.COM/Simplify January 2010 AMD, Opteron and the AMD logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of AMD, Inc. Intel, Intel Atom, Intel Core and Intel Xeon are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States or other countries. Microsoft, Windows Media and Windows Server are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. This case study is for informational purposes only. DELL MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS CASE STUDY.

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