Oak Hills Local School District Builds on NetApp, VMware, and Cisco Infrastructure to Help Save More Than $1M in Costs

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Helps Oak Hills Deliver “Anytime, Anywhere” Learning to Students and Manage Explosive Data Growth

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and PALO ALTO, Calif. —Nov. 15, 2011—Public schools today must deal with increased student enrollment, ongoing state budget cuts, and limited resources, which require them to do more with less. Additionally, they need to figure out how to manage the explosive growth in mobile device and personal laptop usage by students and faculty. Oak Hills Local School District in western Ohio was faced with these challenges and realized that smart decisions made about its IT infrastructure would enable it to deliver anytime, anywhere learning to each of its high school students in light of ongoing budget and resource constraints. As a result, Oak Hills made the transition to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to centrally manage and deliver desktops to students and educators from its data center, which is built on a NetApp® (NASDAQ: NTAP), VMware (NYSE: VMW), and Cisco® foundation.

Oak Hills was in the midst of a technology refresh and needed to retire more than 850 aging laptop and desktop computers. Unfortunately, buying a new laptop for each of its more than 3,000 high school students was not a viable option. Instead, Oak Hills wanted a solution to maximize the number of devices the district could afford while augmenting the desktop pool by letting students use personal laptops and mobile devices to access learning applications.

After an extensive evaluation of technology vendors, Oak Hills determined that NetApp, VMware, and Cisco delivered a VDI solution that would enhance the school’s learning environment, reduce costs, and provide flexibility to cope with future growth. To help with the implementation, Oak Hills worked closely with NetApp, VMware, and Cisco reseller Champion Solutions Group.

News Highlights

  • NetApp, VMware, and Cisco delivered a FlexPod™ data center solution that is designed to provide Oak Hills with IT and capital savings of more than $1.27 million in three years, covering hardware, space, energy, and administration. This level of savings will enable resources and money to be directed toward other projects within the district. VMware View™ built on FlexPod is a pretested data center solution that utilizes a flexible, scalable, shared infrastructure based on Cisco Unified Computing System™ servers, Cisco Nexus® switches, VMware vSphere® and VMware View cloud infrastructure and virtual desktop technologies, and NetApp unified storage systems running Data ONTAP®. 
  • NetApp's unique storage efficiency technologies are optimized for virtual environments and require Oak Hills to use only 12TB of total storage to support its entire deployment. These efficiencies help Oak Hills reduce its power and cooling footprint and lower overall costs.
  • Oak Hills’ VDI provides students and teachers with 24/7 secure access to learning systems from a variety of school- and student-owned devices and personal laptops, transforming when, where, and how students learn.
  • By moving to desktop virtualization and enabling students to take advantage of the follow-me virtual desktop, Oak Hills has been able to move closer to its goal of providing students with a one-to-one student-to-PC ratio and has made it possible for students to catch up with coursework off campus and improve their grades.
  • NetApp's unified architecture provides Oak Hills with the flexibility required to address the growing and changing needs of its infrastructure without having to rip and replace with a new storage foundation, saving both valuable money and resources along the way.    
  • Because desktop virtualization enables desktop assets to be decoupled from one another and the end point and be pushed into the data center, where they can be securely and more effectively managed, Oak Hills is able to conduct desktop and application updates with less time and resources than it could prior to the virtual desktop implementation. Previous desktop updates required four days’ worth of work and up to six dedicated IT staff members. The process can now be done in 4-8 hours by just one staff member, providing the district IT staff with the flexibility to better support the district’s 9 schools, 150 teachers, and 8,100 students.
  • NetApp Flash Cache technology enables the high school to seamlessly handle the heavy input/output loads that occur during peak access times, like during daily desktop startups and at the beginning of class, when many students log in simultaneously. This prevents the infrastructure from freezing up and enables uninterrupted student access to critical learning tools.

Supporting Quotes

  • Tracy Pirkle, director of Technology & eLearning, Oak Hills Local School District "Providing our schools with the best possible learning environment is Oak Hills’ number-one priority, and we realize that our IT infrastructure is a critical part of the equation. The deep integration between NetApp, Cisco, and VMware technologies provided us with an ideal solution that not only allowed us to take our e-learning initiative to the next level but enabled us to greatly reduce our overall costs and build on a foundation that will be able to grow with us and meet the ever-changing needs of our students and faculty."
  • Regina Kunkle, vice president of State and Local Government and Higher Education (SLED), NetApp"Schools at all levels are looking for new and innovative ways to deliver advanced learning opportunities to students while staying within tight budget parameters. Oak Hills’ decision to move to a virtual desktop infrastructure built on a NetApp storage foundation is a great example of how smart IT decisions can be the driving force to help schools achieve their goals. NetApp is 100% committed to working with our education customers to enable them to achieve the IT efficiency and flexibility they need to thrive in today’s challenging environment."
  • Vittorio Viarengo, vice president, End-User Computing, VMware"Oak Hills is a fantastic example of how schools can leverage IT in education to do more with less. With VMware View™ virtual desktops, Oak Hills can foster anytime, anywhere learning by getting campus tools and applications in the hands of more students. Students can enjoy the flexibility of using their own devices. Teachers can expect a more dependable, consistent technology and can focus their time and effort on helping students. And IT can streamline desktop maintenance and reduce the cost of services. The net result can be a more productive learning environment for students and teachers, all provided with fewer required resources, time and money."

Additional Resources

About NetApp

NetApp creates innovative storage and data management solutions that accelerate business breakthroughs and deliver outstanding cost efficiency. Discover NetApp’s passion for helping companies around the world go further, faster at www.netapp.com.

About VMware

VMware is the leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that enable businesses to thrive in the Cloud Era.  Customers rely on VMware to help them transform the way they build, deliver and consume Information Technology resources in a manner that is evolutionary and based on their specific needs. With 2010 revenues of $2.9 billion, VMware has more than 300,000 customers and 25,000 partners. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the world and can be found online at www.vmware.com.

NetApp, the NetApp logo, Go further, faster, Data ONTAP, and FlexPod are trademarks or registered trademarks of NetApp, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. VMware, VMware View and VMware vSphere are registered trademarks and/or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. The use of the word “partner” or “partnership” does not imply a legal partnership relationship between VMware and any other company. Cisco and Cisco Nexus are registered trademarks and Cisco Unified Computing System is a trademark of Cisco Systems. All other brands or products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and should be treated as such.