SCHOOL CIO: Computer system overhaul yields $60,000 savings in one month

Based in Indianapolis, Ind., the GEO Foundation has worked statewide to improve public education since 1998. The foundation helped foster support for Indiana’s current charter school law and now sponsors three charter schools in Indiana and Colorado, with a total of more than 1,300 students. In addition, it operates a statewide tutoring program, and its Charter School Service Center assists other leaders in establishing and operating their charter schools.

As the foundation’s student body expanded, its computing infrastructure struggled to keep up with the demands of supporting multiple schools. Increasing storage needs, expensive cooling requirements and desktop backups in the datacenter were becoming more difficult and costly to address each year. In addition, the extreme costs of desktop upgrades – more than $75,000 per school every four to five years – added to the organization’s IT strain. Finally, GEO needed a storage solution to handle their growing needs, without migrating data or disrupting services.

Desktop and Datacenter Solution

The GEO Foundation selected Citrix System’s XenServer™ and XenDesktop™ to address their key concerns of expensive cooling requirements in the datacenter and costly desktop upgrades.

Citrix XenServer™ offered the ability to run multiple virtual servers on each physical server, reducing the number of servers that the Foundation has to power, cool and maintain and creating a more energy efficient datacenter. XenDesktop™ helped the GEO Foundation to centralize their computing functions and reduce associated costs. In addition, Citrix allowed GEO Foundation to deploy thin client workstations – desktops and laptops that access all software and data directly from the datacenter. Thin client computers cost less, last longer and draw less power than traditional desktops.

Because of the money saved in the infrastructure upgrade project, the organization can now provide their students with the academic computing ideal: a one-to-one, computer-to-student ratio. Before the upgrade project, it could afford only one computer for every four students.

“When we began this project, we had no idea that we were going to enable some classrooms to provide every student their own computer – something that is nearly unheard of,” said Kevin Teasley, president and CEO, GEO Foundation. “In this scenario, a back-end server room technology directly translated into more technology in the hands of students. It’s quite an amazing story.”

Storage Solution for Desktop Virtualization

For the storage they needed to support this infrastructure upgrade, the GEO Foundation turned to Scale Computing’s Intelligent Clustered StorageT (ICS) technology, which provides storage clusters that can grow from three terabytes (TB) to more than 2.2 petabytes (PB), in increments as small as one TB. This gives the foundation the ability to increase their storage as needed by plugging in another node without compromising network speed.

“Desktop virtualization has been debated for quite some time – does it save companies and schools money, is it cheaper to just stick with desktops and how long will it take to see the return on investment?” said Peter Fuller, vice president of marketing, Scale Computing. “Nearly all other storage offerings make it cheaper to just keep buying replacement desktops, but with Scale’s cost-effective storage, combined with Citrix’s unmatched family of virtualization products, not only do IT staffs benefit from lower costs and greater ease of manageability, but the end-users benefit as well.”

Results

By combining virtualization products from Citrix and the storage solution from Scale, GEO transitioned all of their storage, virtualized six existing servers and retired five additional existing file servers – all in one month, in one school. Overall, the foundation has retired or repurposed 14 servers and has condensed all data storage to a single backup repository.

“The upgrade has been smoother and saved us more money than we had planned,” said Brian Beck, CIO, GEO Foundation. “We were able to save a lot of time with setup, free up a great amount of server space and reduce cooling and electric costs, all without our users ever missing a moment of productivity.”

In the first month of implementation, GEO realized $60,000 in savings. “We’ve already seen our investment pay for itself,” Beck added.

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GEO Prep Academy utilizará el sistema en línea EnrollBR para el proceso de inscripción 2021-2022. EnrollBR es un proceso de solicitud común que brinda ayuda a las familias con la correcta elección de la escuela que satisfará las necesidades que sus hijos tengan. Los padres deben seguir las instrucciones a continuación para registrarse para el año escolar 2020-2021.

  1. Haga clic aquí para ir directamente a EnrollBR y comenzar su aplicación.
  2. Necesitará una dirección de correo electrónico. Si no tiene uno, aquí le brendaremos instrucciones para ayudarlo a configurar una cuenta de gmail de Google. Haga clic aquí
  3. Para obtener instrucciones sobre cómo completar la solicitud de inscripción ante de, Haga clic aquí

Para el año escolar 2020-2021, GEO Prep Academy inscribirá los grados K – 8o. Las escuelas están ubicadas en:

  • Grados K-2do – 4006 Platt, Baton Rouge, LA 70814
  • 3ro – 8vo Grados – 2311 N. Sherwood Forest Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70815

Para obtener información sobre cómo inscribirse en el actual año escolar, comuníquese con la escuela. Se puede contactar a ambas escuelas al número (225) 927-1500.

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Grade Level

GEO Prep Academy will be utilizing the EnrollBR online system for the 2021-2022 enrollment process. EnrollBR is a common application process that assists families with school choice to meet the needs of their child(ren). Parents should follow the below directions to register for the 2020-2021 school year.

  1. Click Here to go directly to EnrollBR and begin your application.
  2. You will need an email address. If you do not have one, there are instructions to help you set up a Google Gmail Account. Click here
  3. For instructions on completing the enrollment application beforehand, Click Here

For the 2020-2021 school year, GEO Prep Academy will be enrolling grades K – 8. The schools are located at:

  • K-2nd Grades – 4006 Platt, Baton Rouge, LA 70814
  • 3rd – 8th Grades – 2311 N. Sherwood Forest Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70815

For information on enrolling this current school year, please contact the school. Both schools can be contacted at (225) 927-1500.