By Florence Barnes,2014-04-22 10:11
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     School District Speeds Deployment, Boosts

    Application Access with virtualization

     [Microsoft Application Virtualization] enables us to Overview

    Country or Region: United States streamline application delivery, and provide much Industry: Education

    greater application mobility and reliability for teachers

    Customer Profile and students." Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), in

    Virginia, is the nation‟s twelfth largest Chris Lewis, Manager, Desktop Management Team, Fairfax County Public Schools school district. Its 22,000 faculty and staff, Manager, Desktop Management Team, Fairfax County Public Schools and 164,000 students, are located at 240 sites across 400 square miles. IT staff at Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), a large district with

    Business Situation 90,000 computers, had to manage and update many separate disk The large school district needed to images. This complexity led to the deferral of most application streamline application delivery and

    management, cut deployment time, deployment until hardware upgrades were done, which reduced support teachers transitioning to new application availability to teachers. At times, applications were applications, and provide flexible access to applications. deployed singly, adding to the maintenance complexity. Deployment could take four weeks, and then, teachers needed transition time. Solution

    FCPS IT has deployed Microsoft? With Microsoft? Application Virtualization version 4.5, IT staff can Application Virtualization to one high school easily deploy images and applications, while maintaining 50 and plans to extend the service to

    additional schools. percent fewer images. IT staff can perform just-in-time application deployment dynamically, whenever they need to. Upgrades are less Benefits

    ; Application deployment time reduced stressful for teachers because older application versions remain ; Stress of transition reduced for users available to them. Teachers and students can access the ; Application mobility for users

    ; IT maintenance greatly simplified applications they need from many more computers than before. ; Broader user access to applications

Situation time ahead of the transition date for teachers “There aren‟t many Technology support specialists in Fairfax to learn and feel comfortable with new solutions that equally County Public Schools (FCPS) support 90,000 applications.

    computers across approximately 240 sites. benefit both the end Their goal, according to Chris Lewis, Manager In addition, FCPS has a largely decentralized user and the IT sides of of the Desktop Management Team at FCPS, environment, where school principals are is to provide the best support possible to aid empowered to make decisions about which the enterprise. Microsoft the instructional process. This support applications they license. Although all Application Virtualization includes ensuring that teachers and students applications go through an IT assessment have access to the applications they need, process, installing applications occasionally is truly unique.” whenever and wherever they need them. results in compatibility issues. “We can‟t Chris Lewis, Manager, Desktop Management Accomplishing this in such a large, dispersed regression test against all the conceivable Team, Fairfax County Public Schools environment can be extremely challenging. desktop permutations and combinations. It‟s

     just not feasible,” Lewis says. "Even with FCPS IT Desktop Management Team staff standard application deployments, maintains separate disk images for each of application conflicts sometimes cause its instructional programs. “We can‟t always reliability problems for teachers and students, ensure that teachers and students have the requiring more visits by IT to resolve them." applications they need because of the

    difficulty involved in managing and updating FCPS is also challenged by tight classroom so many static images,” Lewis says. “With space. In the past, teachers could use each school‟s IT staff also customizing classroom computers during their planning images, and with images tied to the hardware periods to do work related to their classes. platforms they run on, we are experiencing Now, because the schools are densely image explosion.” Because of this difficulty, populated, classrooms are often occupied FCPS IT staff and the instructional technology with students all day, which means teachers specialists typically wait until their standard need to find other places to work. If they can‟t desktop and portable computer providers, find a computer with the applications they Dell and HP, upgrade hardware. Application need, they can‟t get their work done as

    deployment could take as long as four efficiently.

    weekswith two weeks needed to package

    and test software for delivery, and two weeks This lack of application mobility also affects to deploy it. If teachers needed a new students who need to access applications application sooner for instruction, they had to after school. They have to rely on their wait until a technology support specialist was classrooms being open and staffed in order available to do desk-side visits and install the to use their applicationsor wait until the

    application. Such one-off deployments next school day to do their work. resulted in more complexity, requiring IT to

    support many diverse applications and image “We need a more dynamic IT environment, configurations. where teachers and students can access

     their applications from any machine in the IT staff also grappled with identifying just the school, and IT can easily deploy and maintain right timing to phase out older applications in images and applications,” Lewis notes.

    favor of deploying and installing new or

    upgraded ones. Because phasing in a new

    application entails also phasing out existing

    applications, it was difficult to provide enough Solution

    Several years ago, Lewis and members of Microsoft Application Virtualization is "With fewer images to FCPS IT staff attended a Microsoft available as part of Microsoft Desktop maintain, we can keep Management Summit where they saw a demo Optimization Pack (MDOP), a desktop

    ?, now Microsoft? Application solution that helps Software Assurance of SoftGrid[patches and security Virtualization (App-V) version 4.5. “We customers reduce application deployment updates] more current realized [App-V] could have a significant costs, enable delivery of applications as impact on the way FCPS supports our services, and better manage and control with the same IT staff instructional process,” Lewis says. “Not only enterprise-wide desktop environments. resources. could it dramatically help our teachers and

    students, it could also provide great benefits Chris Lewis, Manager, Desktop Management for IT staff. It‟s truly a paradigm shift.” Benefits Team, Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS has realized impressive results since FCPS implemented Microsoft Application implementing Microsoft Application Virtualization and has since virtualized over Virtualization. “It enables us to streamline 100 applications. It deployed the product to application delivery, and provide much approximately 2,200 computers in Virginia‟s greater application mobility and reliability for largest high school and plans to expand the teachers and students,” says Lewis. “There deployment in the spring and fall of 2009. aren‟t many solutions that equally benefit

     both the end user and the IT sides of the Using App-V, FCPS transforms applications enterprise. Microsoft Application into centrally managed virtualized services, Virtualization is truly unique.”

    resulting in dynamic delivery of software that

    is never installed, rarely causes conflicts, and Application Deployment Reduced from minimizes tedious application compatibility Four Weeks to One Day

    testing. Users and their application Deployment is much faster. “It‟s very easy for environments are no longer machine-specific, IT staff to dynamically deliver applications and the machines themselves are no longer now,” Lewis says. “The beauty of application user-specific. virtualization is that we have tremendous

     flexibility in terms of when we deploy Applications are virtualized with the App-V applications. We‟re not tied to image Sequencer, an easy-to-use wizard-based tool changes.”

    that packages applications for real-time

    Lewis adds, “Every application I‟ve streaming. The App-V Sequencer monitors

    sequenced with Microsoft Application and records all installation and setup

    Virtualization is 200 percent easier than it processes for an application, and creates

    was with the old-school packaging method. files that contain all the necessary

    With App-V Sequencer, I can get an information for an application to run in a

    application ready for testing much easier, and virtual environment on target computers.

    I only have to test it against the Windows?- After an application is sequenced, it can be

    base image. I don‟t have to test it against streamed to target computers. Target

    other applications because I know they won‟t computers can also run the virtual

    conflict. Delivering applications is just a application by downloading the contents of

    matter of dragging and dropping users into the virtual application package and running

    Active Directory? groups, and asking them to the application locally.

     log on to their computers. Everything is much

     faster and much more reliable for the users.”

    Instead of taking four weeks to deploy Application mobility also makes it easier for applications, FCPS IT staff can do just-in-time teachers who transfer to new schools. “By application deployment where the entire centralizing application management, and processfrom sequencing to deliverytakes tying applications to users, we can ensure as little as one day. In fact, it took FCPS IT that teachers will be able to access the staff less than 30 days to virtualize 100 applications they need from day one,” Lewis applications. says.

    Stress of Application Transition Reduced Images Reduced by 50 Percent; IT for Teachers Maintenance Simplified

    IT staff can virtualize a new application Using Microsoft Application Virtualization, version and have it run side-by-side with an FCPS can dramatically reduce the number of older version on the same machine, without images it maintains. Since applications are any conflicts. “It gives us a lot of flexibility in no longer included in most images, IT staff at terms of training and transitioning to new the high school that is using virtualized applications. We don‟t need a hard date for applications was able to cut the number of transitions,” Lewis explains. “It‟s a much images from 70 to 35.

    lower-stress decision because there is no

    anxiety about what happens if a teacher Lewis‟s team maintains approximately 50 doesn‟t fully understand how to use the images for each of the seven hardware upgraded or new application[there is] still platforms used throughout the district. “If I the option of backward compatibility. We can can roll that back to a base image, I can ease users into the upgrade, and when significantly reduce the overhead of what I they‟re ready, we just uncheck the „enabled keep on the servers and what I have to box and the older application is no longer update,” he says. In the past, his team there.” updated images on a quarterly basis. Now, it

     will be able to update images with patches Application Mobility Provides Increased and security updates on a monthly basis. Flexibility and Convenience for Users “With fewer images to maintain, we can keep Because applications are now tied to people, them more current with the same IT staff rather than to specific machines, FCPS has a resources,” Lewis notes. This will also help lot of flexibility in terms of where applications shorten the time to transition to new are accessed. Students who need to use hardware platforms because, with only a few applications after school can easily access images, much less testing needs to be done. them from the media center, which is always

    open after school; they don‟t need to worry “I also anticipate that when we get ready to

    ?, we‟ll be able to do so about whether their classrooms will be deploy Windows Vista

    more quickly because we‟ll only have to available. In addition, teachers can work from

    deliver base images, and can add the any computer in any open room during their

    virtualized applications on top of them,” planning periods. “Our principals, who are

    Lewis adds. ultimately responsible for scheduling

     classroom use, can schedule classrooms

     freely and without the technology constraints

     previously put in place because applications

    were tied to specific computers rather than to

    the users,” Lewis says.

    For More Information Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack Broader User Access to Applications For more information about Microsoft To learn how Microsoft Application FCPS uses a standard list of applications for products and services, call the Microsoft Virtualization and the Microsoft Desktop core instruction; however, it also has a wide Sales Information Center at (800) 426-Optimization Pack for Software Assurance variety of supplemental software that 9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft can help you, please visit teachers use for remediation. Often teachers Canada Information Centre at (877) don‟t know what other teachers in the district 2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-are using for remediation. Because of

    hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone decentralization and one-off deployments, (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in Lewis‟s team was having trouble coming up a

    the United States or (905) 568-9641 in list of applications that teachers could view. Canada. Outside the 50 United States and “By bringing applications into a central fold, Canada, please contact your local we can publish all that information and make Microsoft subsidiary. To access information it available to teachers. This enables us to using the World Wide Web, go to: provide a level of communication that can be very difficult in an enterprise of our size,”

     Lewis says.

    For more information about Fairfax County

    Public Schools products and services, call

    or visit the Web site at:

     Software and Services

    ; Microsoft Application Virtualization version 4.5

    ; Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software


    This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published March 2009

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