Pine Cove Pulse

5 REASONS IN 5 MINUTES ON WHY YOU NEED VDI IN YOUR DISTRICT

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

Dan Russell

First off, What is VDI?

Because of our strong VMWare partnership and the core of our solution being based on VMWare View, I thought I’d let them answer this:

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a desktop virtualization solution that simplifies IT manageability and control while delivering the highest fidelity end-user experience across devices and networks . VDI helps IT organization automate desktop and application management, reduce costs, and increase data security through centralization of the desktop environment. This centralization results in greater end-user freedom and increased control for IT organizations. By encapsulating the operating systems, applications, and user data into isolated layers, IT organizations can deliver a modern desktop. It can then deliver dynamic, elastic desktop cloud services such as applications, unified communications and 3D graphics for real-world productivity and greater business agility.  Source: VmWare

In summary, VDI brings all computing, application management/deployment, troubleshooting & management of endpoints into one consolidated console.

Below, I’ve listed the top 5 advantages of using VDI in your environment:

1. VDI Centralizes Technology Management

Technology management for IT staff becomes centralized through VDI.  Software programs, web applications and system updates are loaded and installed to one device (VDI Server) and each desktop or device within the network is instantly updated with those additions or changes.  This allows for troubleshooting to take place from one device from a network administrator and eliminates a technician need to troubleshoot each individual device.  The master image created through the hosted virtual desktop is replicated throughout your system, making for a centralized network or remotely hosted users.

2. VDI Increases Speed and Storage

Through a hosted virtual desktop infrastructure, clients experience a rapid response time in logging into the system, opening software applications, and accessing the Internet.  The shared data system allows end users to share software and applications as well as storage capacity, increasing the performance of each end user’s device.  Through VDI, a computer lab teacher can spend more time teaching with access to the virtual server’s programs and files rather than relying on each desktop’s varying processors and storage capacity. 

3. VDI Provides Reliability for Its Users

VDI provides reliability for end user’s because each end user can expect his or her desktop to perform consistently time after time.  Updates to the system occur centrally and each end user receives a replicated image through the system.  Therefore, hardware performs better through VDI, while end users maintain high expectations of software application performance through VDI.

4. B.Y.O.D. Through VDI

Multiple users desire to use a variety of devices through a concept called Bring Your Own Device (B.Y.O.D.).  VDI allows users to bring different types of devices to access the system’s infrastructure regardless of the type of operating system on the device.  Users can bring an iPhone or an Android tablet and still access the system.  We can provide a “portal” to a full Windows desktop from any device.

5. VDI Increases Portability

VDI increases the portable access of users within the system to remotely access the system from various environments and locations.  With a hosted virtual desktop configuration, students, teachers and administrators can access the system at school or home, even on the go, with little variation in the system’s responsiveness and reliability.

VDI allows for you to fully experience the breadth of today’s technology.  Your school administrators and IT staff will definitely see the benefits in using VDI.

Topics: 5 in 5, VMware

VMware is one of the emerging technologies in education!

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

Why is VMware eligible for E-rate?

Have you ever thought about utilizing E-rate as a means to help your school or district purchase technology? If so, you've likely heard about the upside of E-rate and the challenges faced in securing discounts. In this space we will answer, at a very high level, the question, "What is E-rate and how I can use it?" Many educational technology decision makers have found success in understanding the process by focusing on one solution and how E-rate works in the pursuit of that solution. In this post we will use VMware View as an example to show how one manufacturer's solution can successfully intertwine with E-rate funding. Let's start with the big picture.

What is E-rate?
The Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, commonly known as “E-rate,” is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It helps schools and libraries in the United States by providing discounts to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access.

Does E-rate work to help fund all technology?
No. As mentioned above, the purpose of E-Rate is to assist with telecommunications and internet access. However, as technology has become more agile and virtual, E-rate has evolved with the technology. For example, virtualization software is now eligible for an E-rate discount as a server-based, shared product when used for an E-rate eligible function, such as email and networking.

Armed with this very basic understanding of E-rate and what we can use it for, let's dive deeper. Let's say your school district is already considering a move to one-to-one computing. End-user workstation functionality (physical or virtual) is ineligible for E-rate discounts. However, virtual desktop infrastructure does contain some eligible functionality in the form of virtual switching, routing and network interfaces. For example, some components of Virtualization can be E-rate eligible on the basis of its eligible network infrastructure functionality. So, in this case E-rate can help with one-to-one computing. VMware View is an example of a one-to-one computing solution that can be used in this manner. To download a PDF with more information about VMware View (and other E-rate eligible solutions from VMware) click HERE. In this scenario, E-rate can indeed be used to help the district pursue one-to-one computing.

Technology manufacturers will also work closely with your IT team and provide information to help you find solutions that meet your needs AND your desire to secure funds for learning via E-rate. As they are obviously on the forefront of the technology, they also are the most current on how their own technology intertwines with E-rate. All you have to do is ask!

We've only scratched the surface of the possibilities of how E-rate can help your learning institution. If you see the potential and would like to learn more about how E-rate could fit into YOUR technology picture, go HERE and download the whitepaper about VMware E-rate.

Topics: VMware

Are you ready for one-to-one computing in your School?

Posted by Tyler Wantulok

 

1. Is your network One to One ready?

  • a. Do you have the Wireless capability to handle every teacher/staff/administrator/student on wireless? 
  • b. Can your existing cabling handle the increased load on your Wireless devices? 
  • c. Can your area and core switches handle the massive traffic increase from Wireless devices? 
  • d. Can your bandwidth handle all traffic simultaneously hitting the Internet (as every teacher/staff/administrator/student goes online at the same time with a device)? 
  • e. Do you have methods prepared to limit unnecessary Internet access? (Filtering is one answer, but even limiting time on educational sites will need to be addressed, especially highly graphical websites) 
  • f. Increased access means data created will grow astronomically, are your servers ready to house this massive increase in data over the next 3-5 years? 

2. Moving to the Cloud? 
  • a. Do you have the bandwidth to move all or some of your data to the cloud (Google Apps)? 
  • b. Have you thought about what can be addressed with a private cloud? 

3. Are your Instructors ready?
  • a. Is your staff ready to teach in an environment where all students have a computing devise? 
  • b. Is your staff ready to transition from the role of disseminator of information to the role of a facilitator? 
  • c. Have you accounted for the training time it will take to have instructors proficient in these methodologies of instruction? Two in-service days? Weeks? Years? 

4. What are you going to phase out?
  • a. Have you considered phasing out while adding more is crucial for sustainability? 
  • b. Do you know that a lack of planning in the area of sustainability can be a recipe for disaster? 
  • c. What is your depreciation schedule for this new equipment? 
  • d. Is it possible to reduce printing costs and still deliver more materials to students through electronic formats? 

5. What are the devices you want to use for One to One? 
  • a. Does the device service both “Apps” and “Productivity” platforms? For example, Apps are programs that run on a tablet platform, Productivity could be a Microsoft environment used for testing. 
  • b. If the device cannot access both platforms, are you willing to forgo using one of the platforms? For example, making the choice not to use 100% Microsoft Products throughout the district if the choice is tablets for both staff and students – as it is imperative staff use the same tools as the students to insure seamless curriculum integration. 
  • c. Is the device you choose state testing compatible? 

6. Have you addressed how the new technologies will integrate into the curriculum? How will you insure curriculum drives technology and not the opposite?
  • a. What teaching strategies will you adopt/create? 
  • b. How will you address delivery of the curriculum through tablets? 

7. Are you planning to replace textbooks with tablets?
  • a. What strategies will you use to implement tablets? 
  • b. What are the ongoing costs of using tablets? 
  • c. Have you considered downloading textbooks to you local servers to lessen the load on bandwidth during the day? 

8. 180 days students use computers – if you provide computers for ½ the year, how will students continue learning the other 185 days?
  • a. Are you creating lifelong learners? How do they continue to learn outside of school? 
  • b. Have you considered opening your labs open all year long and evenings to accommodate student learning? 

9. Who will be charged with the overall integration of these changes in the district?
  • a. Will an additional load, if any, be put on the current technology staff? 
  • b. Who will be responsible for initial and on-going staff development? 
  • c. Who and how will you measure effectiveness and develop strategies to improve targeted issues as they arise in this transition? 

10. What is your time line for phasing in One to One computing? 
  • For effective One to One implementation, all key phases above must be addressed beforehand (and maybe some that can’t be foreseen). The key is to make sure you have taken care of everything you can predict, and adjusting to the things we cannot foresee.
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Topics: networking, cloud, VMware, 1:1 computing