I’m sure eveyone knows that I’m a big booster of LTSP – The Linux Terminal Server Project. One of the areas where they’ve had a lot of success is in schools where budget issues severely limit their capacity to bring decent computing facilities to their students
I found a great case study of a deployment at Orwell Highschool in England where they needed approximately 120 workstations to service 4 labs for their 1000 student. They needed distributed print services, shared server resources, and high end office software within a very restrictive budget.
The natural first place to look was Microsoft, but high requirements for client machines, prohibitive software licenses, and very complex system management procedures made them look elsewhere
LTSP was the solution they settled on. They are currently driving all 120 workstation from 5 central servers, distributing application load across 4 IBM Blade servers, sharing a central RAID drive array. There was an inevitable need to access Microsoft-only packages for legacy school applications, so a Windows Terminal server was installed, and the students and faculty can access it via a Linux RDP client from any of the workstations
John Osborne said:
“I can’t believe how easy it has been to move to Linux. The systems were installed and working within a week and it has been a revelation how simple and painless the process has been. I have saved thousands of pounds per year and got a brand-new ICT infrastructure at the same time”.
“Without switching to Linux, I would have been forced to cut back on our ICT hardware and software provision. There simply wasn’t the budget to upgrade to the latest versions of the software nor to keep replacing suites of PCs on a three or four year cycle. Now I have no licensing costs to worry about for the Open Source parts of the solution. We shall be moving to a complete Open Source basis as quickly as is practical and hope to start working with other schools interested in this type of development to share ideas and best practise”.
The entire case study is available. Highly recommended reading and sharing for any business or school considering deploying workstations in their environment