Thursday, July 31, 2008

Earth-Friendly Computing: Case Study

Rockhurst University Implements Earth-Friendly Computing

Kansas City, Missouri. Rockhurst University is taking a giant leap to reduce its environmental impact through earth-friendly computer labs. When classes resume this fall, Rockhurst students will sit down in front of workstations that use 90 percent less energy than traditional PCs. Traditional CPUs are replaced with devices called thin clients, which are slightly larger than VHS tapes.

The technology, called thin-client computing, not only requires less energy to run, but the smaller equipment requires significantly less material to produce. Traditional CPUs are replaced with devices called thin clients, which are slightly larger than VHS tapes. That equates to less energy spent on transportation and less material to eventually recycle. Each unit is expected to work effectively for five to six years, nearly double the life span of traditional PCs, and its low heat output means less power needed for air conditioning.

In addition to environmental benefits, the new system is a valuable IT management solution and will provide significant cost savings for the university. The system calls for moving the software and storage from each individual computer to five powerful servers located in the data center in Conway Hall. This Virtual Desktop Infrastructure will speed processing times, provide instant desktop recovery and lessen the time spent on upgrades and repair.

Users may not even notice the changes, as they will encounter the same familiar Windows experience. If anything, students will detect much faster logon and processing times. And should one of the new workstations go down, users can logon to another lab machine to instantly recover exactly where they were without losing any data – even without saving.

Centralizing the management of more than 230 desktop computers – in all 18 labs across campus – will reduce the downtime for individual upgrades and repair. Computer Services will be able to download the latest software updates one time in the data center instead of individually on each machine, and most repairs will be made remotely.

“This is a good solution for Rockhurst," said Matt Heinrich, associate vice president of facilities and technology. "It's the responsible thing to do and a perfect fit with our mission. I feel good that this is one way in which we can help make God's good world better.”

Once the system is fully implemented, Rockhurst plans to donate more than 200 CPUs to local nonprofit organizations, including Cristo Rey Kansas City.

Thin-client technology is catching on in businesses across the nation. While not the only university in the area to use this green technology, Rockhurst’s large-scale implementation currently puts it ahead of the curve among schools in the region.

To learn more, visit Rockhurst Computer Services. Please feel free to contact vdi@rockhurst.edu for more information. Your questions and feedback are encouraged.
(816) 501-4357 - Conway Hall, 4th Floor - 1100 Rockhurst Road - Kansas City, Missouri

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