SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Glenn Rossman, Cynthia Dunlop

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Texas School Districts Expand Student Access to Technology with Dell Desktop Virtualization

Dell today announced that San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated School District and Socorro Independent School District chose Dell desktop virtualization solutions to provide a reliable and cost-effective IT infrastructure that supports quality instruction and personalized learning. Secure, efficient and easy to manage, Dell’s desktop virtualization solutions save these Texas school districts moneys and hours of annual IT time. This enables Socorro ISD and San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated ISD to provide students greater access to technology so that all students can be better prepared for success in college and career.

“Technology will have a very limited impact on students if there is not regular and reliable access to quality hardware and software that meets the instructional needs of the learner,” said Abe Casillas, Chief Technology Officer at San Felipe Del Rio. “Virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) has enabled our district to extend access to technology for more students, at a price point that allows us to reinvest in extending learning beyond the classroom with a 1:1 computing initiative in our high school.”

Dell offers desktop virtualization solutions to schools and districts worldwide providing solutions that accommodate a variety of use cases and environments. Whether districts are updating existing infrastructure, extending the life of legacy hardware or building new state-of-the-art facilities from the ground up, schools choose Dell’s desktop virtualization solutions to deliver reliable performance with an exceptional user experience, at a cost that maximizes budgets. With centralized management, IT administrators gain greater efficiency and reliability allowing them to focus on what is most important – helping students and teachers.

Socorro Independent School District (SISD) operated a mix of 24,000 various desktop computers, including some that were as much as 10 years old. Performance of these legacy systems began to limit their usefulness and many of the district’s computer labs saw no usage. The district selected Dell Wyse Datacenter for Citrix environments, featuring Dell PowerEdge blade servers supported by Dell EqualLogic storage and Dell Networking switches to revitalize its aging hardware and transform legacy systems into reliable infrastructure. Booting computers once took as long as 10 to 20 minutes, but VDI reduced that to around two minutes. Applications were also able to load and run much faster, which meant that students spent more time learning and less time waiting for software to load.

“If hardware is slow to boot or performance is poor, kids and teachers tend to become frustrated,” says David Akers, team leader for Technical Support Services. “A middle school teacher told me she hadn’t used a particular computer lab in two years because the hardware ‘didn’t work.’ Since the VDI rollout, our older computers are being used. In fact, sometimes teachers can’t tell which labs have new hardware and which are running VDI on older systems.”

San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) was facing a $3.3 million budget cut in 2012 and needed an alternative solution to a refresh of its PC base. After a consultation with a Dell channel partner, Weaver Technologies, Abe Casillas realized that he could dramatically increase the number of workstations across the district, and thereby increase students’ access to quality technology, by implementing a virtualized desktop infrastructure. San Felipe Del Rio worked with Weaver Technologies to design and implement a solution that included 1,900 Dell Wyse CL10LE Thin Clients running on Dell PowerEdge M610 and M620 blade servers and backed by Dell EqualLogic PS6510E storage arrays.

“Every time there was an update,” Casillas says, “we had to go physically touch each PC. It was very time-consuming and took time away from the students, who were always distracted by whatever our tech was doing. We were losing a lot of instructional time, not to mention the time we spent of our own. Now, our district is avoiding about $1.25 million in annual expense by deploying our desktop virtualization model using Dell Wyse thin clients.”

With the financial savings and additional IT capacity gained, both school districts are able to expand their IT initiatives to empower even more students with technology. SISD is exploring a BYOD initiative that would use the district’s VDI to enable mobile access to educational content available in classrooms and computer labs. CISD is using the $1.25 million in cost savings to deploy a pilot 1:1 initiative using Dell Latitude 3330 at its freshman campus. The district hopes to use additional savings to deploy a comprehensive 1:1 program for all high school students in the coming year.

Additional Information:

About Socorro Independent School District

The Socorro Independent School District is proud to be recognized throughout the state of Texas as an innovative educational leader. The success of students and staff of the Socorro ISD continue to raise expectations and levels of achievement for the region and state. As the district of choice, Socorro ISD will rely on continued partnerships and community support to help manage the imminent growth it will face while continuing to improve upon student success. With the help of parents, educators, business leaders, and other community members, the Socorro ISD will continue to graduate 21st century citizens and meet its goal of becoming the best school district in the nation.

About San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District

Located in semi-desert on the north side of the Rio Grande River in Texas, the City of Del Rio is host to Laughlin Air Force Base and the sector headquarters of the U.S. Border Patrol, which are its first- and second-largest employers respectively. Third is the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District, with approximately 1,400 teachers and staff serving about 10,500 students in eight elementary schools, two middle schools, a freshman-only high school and a high school for grades 10–12.

About Dell

Dell Inc. is committed to helping students develop the knowledge and skills they need to learn and succeed in an increasingly digital world and a globally competitive workforce. As a top provider of technology and services to schools, Dell listens to and works with students, educators, administrators, parents and community members around the world to deliver innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more in and out of the classroom. Learn more about Dell in Education at www.dell.com. Follow us on Twitter @DellEDU.

Dell, Wyse, EqualLogic, PowerEdge, and ProSupport, are trademarks of Dell Inc. Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.

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