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BEST PRACTICES: Classroom in the Cloud

Geo I keep hearing that the future of classroom computing lies in virtualizing PCs so that apps and data live at a datacenter and are downloaded the thin clients as needed. Not only can this cut costs but it makes maintaining and upgrading systems much easier. That said, there really aren’t that many choices as far as equipment and software go for creating a school in the cloud.

Citrix and Scale Computing hope to change that with a joint project that can make one-to-one classroom computing much cheaper. The key is to shift much of the processing, graphics and data storage away from desktop PCs and on to centralized servers that exist in the cloud. This is exactly what the Greater Educational Opportunities (GEO) Foundation of Indiana did. The non-profit education group, which sponsors charter schools, replaced standard computers and networks with Citrix’s XenServer and matching lightweight XenDesktop clients.

But, that’s only half the problem because the applications and data needs to live somewhere. That’s where Scale Computing's Intelligent Clustered Storage (ICS) comes in. Capable of housing between 3 terabytes and 2.2 pentabytes, ICS can be expanded a terabyte at a time. All told, Geo cut its costs by $60,000 a month. Not bad.

If you’re at FETC, go see the gear in action at booth 564.

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