Making ICT management easy

The Manor Community College in Cambridge chose the Citrix Provisioning Server to manage the IT provision across the school.

The college is a mixed community school in Cambridge with 140 students. The school has a blended network of 350 workstations, made up of 110 thin clients and the rest being traditional clients. The school achieved specialist status for creative and performing arts and decided to buy 150 additional Dell PCs to manage the rich media activities including connectivity with digital camcorders and cameras.

Network manager David Knappet wanted to find a way of managing the PCs that would not take up too much of his time. His criteria included the installation of applications and subsequent updates/upgrades without any disruption to the classroom users; there needed to be the ability to ‘roll-back’ an installation if an error was to arise. Much of David’s time was spent identifying the cause of a particular issue with the unit being made unavailable while this task was completed. Ironically, just by rebuilding the workstation, 99% of problems disappeared, but it meant the unit was unavailable for part of the day.

By choosing the Citrix Provisioning Server, David could achieve the following:
deploy the operating system from a centralised server
refresh the workstation to assist in diagnosis
teachers can now reset a workstation, solving 99% of PC issues without technical support
roll back the operating system in the event that a patch, application, update or upgrade has not worked just by restarting the workstation
apply a set of applications to the Adult Learning Programme that differs from normal classroom use, just by restarting the machines
run different versions and types of operating systems

David looked to the college’s existing ICT partner, Precedence Technologies, for help in the matter. “Precedence has been excellent with support and a good knowledge of the products and services available,” David said. “With their work on Citrix XenApp, I knew that I was able to trust them with this project too.”

The system was installed in September 2008, and since then David only spends 30 minutes a week looking after the 150 new units, compared to three days previously.

“It is a good investment,” said the bursar, John Moloney. “We would have to employ another technician at £18,000 per annum just to look after these units. Our initial investment was £10,400, with our annual costs being £120 support from Precedence, and around £12 per licence for the Citrix Subscription Advantage, covering all new releases. This means we save over £40k over a three-year period.”