Today, the IT landscape in Big Horn County School District #2, in Lovell, WY has a different look to it since Pine Cove took over management over 15 years ago. This 800 user network has transformed into a leader in Educational Technology application and continues to lead the charge in the state. This couldn’t have been possible without a strong partnership with Pine Cove and the use of their Managed IT Services.
The relationship grew stronger in 2004 when Pine Cove placed an Onsite Technician in the district to manage the entire network. From this point on, Pine Cove had a chance to participate in real-time, on-the-ground, IT decision making as a partner with the district rather than from the outside as solely a vendor. The relationship has always (and will in the future) evolved to suit the district's needs. When the district hired a Instructional Facilitator in 2007 to take on the role of the Technology Director, Pine Cove's On-Site Tech remained in place. In 2010 - when the IT picture dramatically changed again, as you'll read below, Pine Cove was able to reduce the technical support needed and focus the technical staff on integration and off of day to day technical support. The remote technical team was able to take over remote help desk and troubleshooting responsibilities. This all became much easier when the district moved towards an Enterprise Level solution and design.
The IT infrastructure also began its evolution in 2003 when the district started to grow from one server to many. By 2007, district was suffering from severe computer and server sprawl. Servers had grown from 2 to 30 in 4 years. The technology picture in any school district is a complicated, moving target - with schools doing the best that they can to maintain legacy systems and hardware while thinking about the future - and the case in Lovell was no different.
In 2011, the choice to move to a nearly 100% virtual based system and transformed Lovell into a technology leading district today. First, they virtualized 30 physical servers in 2010, into 3 physical servers in 2011. This server reduction not only saved in Rackspace, it saved thousands in power costs, and greatly reduced troubleshooting and downtime of each server. Along with server virtualization, they began a transition from workstations to Virtual Desktops. Starting with 50 virtual machines, they have now expanded to over 250 virtual machines. This transition has 100% eliminated troubleshooting of individual machines. If the machine is not working, it is broken and can be replaced with another $200 device. This has wiped out individual workstation support and has allowed the onsite technician to focus on integration with the teachers and out of workstation “tinkering”. With the exception of two labs, the district has entirely moved to a VDI environment, which is much more efficient as all of the processing is now done in the server room increasing reliability and manageability.
The choice to move to Virtualized environment has paid dividends in many ways. Data backup has become safer and more streamlined by reducing the number of servers from 32 to 3. Before VDI, the time and cost of travel to Lovell from Pine Cove's Billings (MT) corporate offices was a factor. With VDI, management of technical issues happens from afar - which is more efficient and cost effective. Every Server and every desktop and can managed remotely and with one click of a button. Applications and Policies and be administered with a click of a button to any machine, instantly. This movement to a more Core Centric solution has lead to higher reliability for both servers and desktop machines - in addition to the management aspect of VDI, Pine Cove is able to reliably keep all lab desktops smoothly up and running from the DataCenter.
While the technology picture in Lovell will surely continue to evolve and grow in the future, there is little doubt it will be on the strong foundation of Managed IT Services from Pine Cove Consulting.