Illinois school cuts IT costs with virtualization

Virtualization Online School

Implementation of virtualization is not just limited to large organizations, which use it to provide remote data access, alleviate security concerns and exercise policy control. Adopting virtualization can also help small organizations cut costs, such as it did for the Hinsdale Township High School District 86 in Hinsdale, Ill. Its success shows that the benefits of virtualization aren’t reserved for the most complex businesses.

Avoiding massive costs with virtual machines

The Hinsdale council was facing immense maintenance costs, even on a three-year cycle. Software changes and updates were essential for the district’s director of technology because they could not bear application failure. Virtualization helped to extend the district’s refresh cycle while improving workload flexibility, load balancing and availability.

Director Tim Hohman adopted Hyper-V, and he chose Microsoft’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager as his current virtual machine (VM) management platform — though he is considering System Center Operations Manager as a potential upgrade. The district started with two servers, and another two were added later.

The district thus avoided the purchase of new servers. Existing VMs were re-purposed, and were added to the Hyper-V farm. The email environment was built with the assistance of virtualization consultants at the end of the school year, and it coexisted with the previous set-up.

The final virtual deployment involved two mailbox servers and two Client Access server instances, spread across different physical host servers. A third mailbox server was also initiated off-site as a backup. The whole process took two months.

Moving forward with more virtualization projects

Despite a minor glitch that limited flexibility, Hohman is confident that this environment will help reduce the worry of hardware failures and their associated costs. The planned addition of a fifth server also means that the environment tests well on scalability when the organization is ready to incorporate them, leaving them time to plan further expansions.

Hohman said he’s planning other virtualization projects. One project he sees in the near future is the virtualization of the root, the staff and the student domain controllers. A previous attempt had to be aborted due to performance issues.

Virtualization solutions can work for any organization, regardless of size. Whether the projects involve storing terabytes of student information or company data, IT directors of all stripes are beginning to see the benefits of virtualizing their systems.

Read how another firm was able to cut IT costs with virtualization and cloud computing here at Tech Page One. Do you see virtualization as a possible solution for your enterprise business?

Lance Boley

Lance Boley

Dell Contributor at Tech Page One
Lance is a product and solutions evangelist for He has also authored papers on Dell’s virtualization products and solutions. Click on the tabs above to be connected to him.
Lance Boley
Lance Boley
Lance Boley
Tags: Technology,Virtualization