Richmond, British Columbia School District 38

ATEN KVM Solutions Make the Grade with an A+ From Canadian School District


Richmond, BC School District 38


With the need to adhere to stringent public sector budget guidelines, this progressive school district needed remote KVM access to its data center housed in locations.

ATEN Solutions:
• ALTUSEN KM0216 -
16-port Matrix KVM Switch
• ATEN CN-6000 - KVM on the NET remote access device
• ALTUSEN KL0116 - Hideaway LCD KVM Switch
(New version of this model: Please see KL1116)




• ATEN CN-6000


(New version of this model: Please see KL1116)

Many people would not view Richmond, British Columbia as a technology haven. However, with a software behemoth located only two hours away in Redmond, Washington, some of that technology pixie dust has been sprinkled on a progressive school district that is optimizing KVM solutions to power its data center.

Richmond School District No. 38 is a Public School District in the province of British Columbia, Canada that prides itself on providing a safe and caring environment for its 24,000 students of all backgrounds and ability levels. The School District offers a diversity of programs for a well-rounded education - academic, fine arts, technical, social development, and athletics. The district uses the latest technology to support student learning. Demonstrating its commitment to technology, the Technology and Information Services Department even does in-house development creating custom applications to generate revenue for the district. This department recently completed centralization of its technology and can now administer 80% of the devices from its cutting-edge Technology Services Center.


I. The Challenge

The Richmond School District is comprised of 55 different sites all connected via a WAN powered by the British Columbia Provincial Learning Network (PL/Net). According to Chad Dupuis, Computer Systems Technologist, the data center is housed in two locations. His department provides IT support and services for the K-12 schools, continuing education program, as well as administration systems including accounting, student records, etc. The Technology Services Center manages a majority of the district's servers and the Board office houses the required IT infrastructure that supports several administration systems. The Technology Services Center currently houses 18 Intel-based servers running Windows 2000 Server, one XServe G5 running MAC OSX and an XRAID for hosting data storage. These servers are split between two racks that are protected by UPS systems. The second site hosts administration systems that consist of one rack with five servers running Windows 2000 Server, one XServe G5 running MAC OSX and a UPS battery backup system.

Dupuis has been primarily focused on implementing this technology in a centrally managed environment and, as more rack mounted servers were added to the center, he determined the need for a KVM management solution. "Without a KVM solution, we were restricted to remote access only through Terminal Services," said Dupuis. "That option did not help us diagnose a server that was not loading the operating system. If there was a configuration problem preventing the server from loading Windows, we would have been forced to manually pull it out of the rack to fix the problem. We knew that a KVM solution would allow us to diagnose the server from a central console at the rack."



II. The Solution

The driving force behind Dupuis' decision on the selected KVM vendor rested upon remote access to manage servers from any location, even during off hours. Given this need, the district opted for a KVM over IP solution. Dupuis' first foray into KVM was not too fruitful. "We quickly found that the product did not perform as advertised. After attempting numerous troubleshooting techniques suggested to us by the vendor, we gave up on the solution and promptly returned it," he added. Dupuis then consulted with SoftChoice, a leading North American supplier of technology products, and was led to ATEN Technology, Inc.'s ALTUSEN line of enterprise KVM solutions. "ATEN had the exact products we needed at a highly affordable price point," said Dupuis. "We put the solution through extensive testing and had the product installed in under an hour. Even the cable supplied was high quality and easy to run due to its thinness." In one rack, Dupuis installed ATEN CN-6000 - KVM on the NET, ALTUSEN KM0216 - 16-port Matrix KVM Switch and ALTUSEN KL0116 - Hideaway LCD KVM Switch with 15" LCD. The deciding factor was the cost. "We could outfit one rack with these three devices and cabling for 2/3 the cost of our previous solution -- which did not even include a console," said Dupuis. "We used the remaining 1/3 to buy an additional Matrix KVM for the other rack and the cables."


III. Benefits

ATEN KVM solutions have given Richmond School District 38 ease-of-use, outstanding support and highest quality -- all at an affordable cost.


IV. The Results

Richmond School District 38 has been using ATEN's KVM products since July 2004 with problem-free administration. "We set high standards for this product and ATEN met and exceeded our expectations," said Dupuis. "The biggest benefit to the district has been the ability to save enough money to deploy KVM solutions in both locations -- and all within the parameters of the stringent budget of a public sector office. Prior to ATEN, it was a real problem to manage these machines." According to Dupuis, these solutions have provided him with ease-of-use, outstanding support and highest quality -- all at an affordable cost.


V. The Future

Dupuis hopes that he will never need to access his data center from outside the District in the event of an emergency. However, he can be rest assured that the ATEN products will be instrumental when confronted with the technical challenge.

In the future, Dupuis may have to expand his data centers to scale with the growth in School District 38. "If we add more racks into these locations, ATEN will be the first company we turn to for a solution," concluded Dupuis.