Virtual private servers and virtualization options are often called the "wave of the future" when it comes to server technology, along with intimations about the usefulness of the public cloud. But it is only recently that virtualized services have begun to see use in mainstream and public industries, signaling a change in the way the technology is viewed. Early adopters are typically tech firms and those businesses with a high degree of autonomy. Schools, hospitals and other types of publicly-funded institutions typically lag behind in order to both save money and evaluate the usefulness of new technology.
Now, the Yankton School District has chosen a move from their 30 physical servers to approximately 10 virtual ones at an estimated cost savings of over $5,000 per machine. Why? Because instead of running one application per physical, outdated server, the YSD will now be able to run multiple environments on the same virtual platform, both increasing their efficiency and lowering their total cost of maintenance. The YSD next plans to examine virtual desktop options to further refine their ability to virtually compute, but for the moment are satisfied with a bold move to virtualization.
Bold? In many respects, yes. Public institutions are by nature conservative and while a virtualized server environment will typically see a return on investment in less than six months, municipal and state governments tend to be very cautious with purse strings. The use of this technology at a school level and for a network of over 2,500 computing devices indicates the strides VPS technology has made in both making servers more efficient and in creating an environment in which they run with greater stability and the need for less maintenance, and the YSD intends to put these abilities to the test.