As some institutions around the world prepare to embark on a new school year, there is chatter in both K-12 and higher education about the reality of the challenges of managing computer labs.  Schools are looking to optimize costs or optimize budget and save costs…tools to manage labs more effectively are becoming increasingly needed as well.

Despite many of the 1:1 laptop/netbook trends that are happening around the world, I think computer laps still have a viable place in schools.  In fact, many universities find that their lab usage increases as students get access to devices, because they grow dependent on having instant access in a flexible way. One of the things I think will happen more in schools is that students will bring their own managed device, their personal device to schools, and leverage the school labs for communication and classroom use. With this added complexity, schools need ways to manage all these different devices more effectively and save money.

Microsoft MultiPoint Server is a great example of where you can not only reduce the complexity of management…because as opposed to managing multiple PCs, you can have one PC connected to 10-15 units, but also save money on power consumption, as well as the CPUs used to run the technology. Other solutions like virtualization and Hyper-V become hugely valuable, and then obviously leveraging the cloud for storage (i.e. Live@edu and SkyDrive).

How are you getting creative to keep your computer labs open and loaded with the most current software?