Established in 1964, Lodge Park Technology College in Northamptonshire was one of the first schools in the United Kingdom (U.K.) to be designated as a technology college in the 1990s. In keeping with this forward-thinking approach to education, it provides the latest innovations in teaching and learning. In keeping with that philosophy, Lodge Park and Trust Partner Dell deployed Windows Server 2008 R2 with Microsoft operating system Windows 7, to modernise the school’s infrastructure and reduce energy consumption, while reaping the benefits of a more flexible environment. Lodge Park will save £6,000 to £10,000 a year with virtualised systems that reduce the need to replace older hardware. Students like the interactive interface of Windows 7, while everyone on campus can access the school’s online learning environment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—without interruption.
Lodge Park Technology College, in the U.K., offers high-quality education to students aged from 11 to 19 years, and wide-ranging adult learning courses for school leavers and the general public. Working in partnership with students, parents, industry, and the community, the school adopts a well-rounded approach to learning that addresses the needs of the 21st century.
||After initial testing, it was clear that Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 were the ideal choice.
Lodge Park Technology College
As a designated technology college, the school places a strong emphasis on using cutting-edge tools for teaching and learning. Students are highly IT literate, so it’s important to provide them with a challenging, progressive environment that reflects the unique status of the school and equips them with the skills they’ll need in further education or in the workplace.
Students and staff were logging on to the school’s virtual learning environment at all times of the day and night, so Stephen Peverett, Network Manager at Lodge Park Technology College, wanted to modernise the school’s infrastructure to increase availability of IT and improve the learning experience. He also wanted to ensure that any new infrastructure would accommodate the additional services the school was planning to introduce. Peverett says: “We used to be able to make whatever changes were needed to the infrastructure—repairs or maintenance—after school hours. Now, the services are in demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so we need to provide service at all times, without disruption.”Solution
Peverett consulted with the school’s Trust Partner Dell. Terry Storey, Senior Global Architect with the Dell Global Infrastructure Consulting Team, recommended the Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Early Adopter Programme. Storey and his team worked with Peverett to put together a business case to present to the head teacher. After seeing the potential savings, further improved with the free consulting and support from Microsoft and Dell, the school decided to test the applications. Storey says: “After initial testing, it was clear that Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 were the ideal choice. Deploying under the Early Adopter Programme was even better because Microsoft supported consultancy from Dell with no additional cost to the customer.”
After helping to plan the best way to implement Windows Server 2008 R2, it took just two days for Dell to roll it out at Lodge Park. Dell created a virtual server and then began the physical-to-virtual migrations, demonstrating the process to Peverett and making sure the live migrations worked. “Dell consultants spent time talking to us, getting to know our environment and hardware, and what we wanted to achieve. When it came to the actual deployment, everything went smoothly,” says Peverett.
The next step was to deploy Windows 7. The school has a number of information and communications technology (ICT) suites with everything from thin clients to high-performance desktops. The first step was to deploy Windows 7 in two of these suites, which were ready two weeks before the end-of-term break. “It created considerable excitement,” says Peverett. “Students were eager to look at the technology and use it before the following term.” Peverett looks forward to taking advantage of key features in Windows 7, such as BitLocker and AppLocker, to bring more functionality to students.
||Deploying under the Early Adopter Programme was even better because Microsoft supported consultancy from Dell with no additional cost to the customer.
Senior Global Architect
Dell Global Infrastructure Consulting Team
As a Microsoft UK Services Ready accredited partner, Dell was able to follow Microsoft Services best practice materials. Following this framework, Dell has access to technology implementation processes that are fully optimised and easily repeated on any scale beyond Lodge Park and with much lower risk.Benefits
Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 with Windows 7 is key to modernising the school’s infrastructure to provide a more flexible environment that addresses the changing needs of students and teachers. The additional benefit of cutting costs helps Lodge Park meet the challenge of providing more services with ever-decreasing budgets.
School Saves Between £6,000 and £10,000 a Year
With Windows Server 2008 R2, Peverett was able to migrate physical servers to virtual systems, reducing the need to continually replace older hardware. Not having to replace servers this year immediately saved the school between £6,000 and £10,000. Peverett says: “I used to work on a four-year lifecycle for servers alone. With 20 servers, we were replacing six servers a year at approximately £2,000 per server. If I can reduce those 20 servers with six machines running virtual servers I’m cutting my costs by more than half.”
In addition to cutting costs on hardware, implementing Windows Server 2008 R2 has reduced the burden on the school’s cooling system and reduced energy consumption.
The ability to run Windows 7 on older computers will further increase savings. “We don’t have to upgrade our hardware to run Windows 7,” says Peverett. “And it works well with both existing and new hardware.”
User-Friendly Interface Embraced by Students and Staff
Students like the interactive interface of Windows 7. With a taskbar that displays more information in less space, the system is intuitive and easy to use. The graphics are much more appealing to students and staff, encouraging creativity and engagement. “The ICT suites equipped with Windows 7 are extremely popular with students. Windows 7 will be a catalyst for collaboration and help our students work faster,” says Peverett.
Virtualisation Meets Increased Demand for Availability
As students and staff discover the convenience of anytime learning, they log on to the school’s virtual learning environment at all hours, day and night. Peverett was keen to be one of the first schools to use Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. The combined solution promised a more flexible environment that would easily scale to meet the changing needs of the school and would ensure that systems were consistently available when staff and students needed them. Peverett says: “Increasing the availability of IT to fit the hours students are logging on can only improve the learning experience and encourage student engagement. The flexible working options it provides will increase staff satisfaction.”
A key component of the implementation was the updated version of virtualisation software Hyper-V, which is part of Windows Server 2008 R2. With the Live Migration feature, Peverett can update and repair servers with no impact on users. “Now that we can maintain and repair servers without interrupting service, we will be operating continuously. This is a big improvement over losing a week’s worth of school days per year, when the system used to crash,” says Peverett.
Enhanced Security Protects Students and Important Data
Safety and security is important in an educational setting. In addition to protecting students online, administrative data and student records need to be stored and accessed securely. Windows Server 2008 R2 integrates well with the security systems already set up on campus, increasing safety and security even more—a high priority for Peverett and his staff.
Ease of Deployment Removes Barriers to Adoption
The scalability and flexibility of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7—combined with Dell’s hands-on approach—contributed to a smooth deployment. In addition, the system integrates well with existing custom-built applications developed for educational purposes.
Future deployment of Windows 7 will be even more streamlined across the campus. “Windows 7 works the same on all hardware,” says Peverett. “Now we only need one image for any machine, plus with Windows Deployment Services built in to Windows Server 2008 R2, we can deploy applications from our desktops, instead of running around the school visiting different classrooms.”Microsoft Services
As the consulting, technical support, and customer service arm of the world’s leading software company, Microsoft Services enables the successful adoption, deployment, and use of Microsoft solutions and technologies for all customers.
For more information about Microsoft Services, go to: This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of the Microsoft group of companies. Document published January 2010