In the Top Money Saving Tips post series, I wrote about various education IT cost savings – things that could be done to reduce your school IT budget, or to use IT to save money in other areas of the school budget. In all I described 14 tips, and calculated a potential cost saving over three years – giving a potential saving for a secondary school of over £300,000 by 2012.

Given the new government, and the continued pressure on budgets, I thought it would be a good time to look again at the cost savings work, and see what other examples there are of education IT cost savings.

Virtualisation saves money on your IT budget and your electricity consumption

As I described in my original first money saving tip, most schools have rapidly increased the number of servers they need over the last decade, as more and more of the school is supported by ICT. I referred to the case study from Wootton Basset School, and the savings that they were making by reducing their 13 physical servers down to just 3. This didn’t just save them IT budget, but also helped to reduce their electricity bill substantially – contributing to a reduction in the school’s carbon footprint.

Neville-LovettAnother school that completed a similar project is Neville Lovett Community School in Hampshire.

Richard Market, the IT Manager at the school, completed a server virtualisation project last year:

Like most schools, we found the cost of replacing, managing, powering, and cooling our servers put a significant strain on our budget. We wanted to expand our ICT services and capabilities, but at the same time we needed to reduce running costs.

Although the project had originally started in 2007, and had been based on migrating to VMware, Richard had reviewed that during the project, because of the concerns about the licensing costs. In 208, they switched to using the Microsoft Hyper-V system for virtualisation, because it was significantly cheaper for them to license and implement – they covered it under their School Agreement subscription.

And the benefits Richard now describes don’t just include cost savings – they’ve also improved the way that they can manage the whole school network. One example Richard quotes is the way they can improve IT services for students:

With Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007―part of the System Center suite―my team can manage all servers from a single monitor, which means we can prevent many of the problems that cause user downtime. For example, we can back up and restore a student’s work in around 15 minutes.

Richard’s calculations are that they will be saving around £1,000 a year on power and cooling, plus a further £23,000 over three years in reduced server costs.

You can read the full Neville Lovett case study on the worldwide case studies website – it’s worth dropping down to the bottom of it for the summary of the overall benefits of the project.

If you have a need to reduce your IT and energy costs, you may want to consider a similar project, in which case it’s worth mentioning that the school worked with one of our Gold certified partners, Medhurst IT, to implement their project.

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