This is part one of a two part discussion of technology in use at a local school board here in the Ottawa region. Being a father with one of three children in the school system and two more about to join in, I am always curious as to how technology is used to help delivery quality education.
While I was at a virtualization conference put on by IDC a while back, I met James Proulx, Director of IT at the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (OCDSBEO). He suggested that I stop by to see what the CDSBEO is doing to simplify their environment and speed up the deployment of applications to their HighSchools and administrative staff. At our first meeting, I met with his team and we talked about what their plans were for the coming year and what they were doing to simplify application deployment and start exploring server consolidation. That was back in September 2007.
I was in touch on an off throughout the year and finally made it back to see how their year had gone. I stopped by for a coffee to talk a couple of weeks ago and met with Ken Konick, James Vandine and Brian Whalen - three systems analysts with the board. We talked about how they are using SoftGrid as one of their virtualization solutions.
Some of their challenges include 45 different locations, constrained resources at the client (Windows XP clients with P3 / P4 processors, 512 MB of RAM) all running in their initial pilot of 125 PCs. Add on top of that - keeping configurations of the systems locked down as much as possible to keep prying eyes out of areas they shouldn't be.
My ah-ha moment? They can now complete sequencing an application for a principal and deploy it in less than a day where before it would take months due to locked down and frozen images as well as workstation complexity.
In part two we'll explore their use of consolidation vitrualization technologies, how they manage them today and their plans for managing them tomorrow.
Have a listen - you can download the short 15 minute podcast here.