Reduce Cost, Improve Customer Service, Position BCPS for the Future
Table of Contents
Table of Contents................................................................................................................. 1
ETS Initiatives ..................................................................................................................... 2
Executive Overview ............................................................................................................. 2
Status in Broward County Schools ...................................................................................... 3
Today’s Campus IT Resources ..................................................................................................................... 3
Today’s District-Wide IT Resources ............................................................................................................ 4
Today’s Access to World Wide Education Resources ................................................................................. 5
Tying it All Together: Supporting Anytime, Anywhere Learning Now and in the Future........................ 6
Broward ETS Initiatives Position BCPS for the Future ...................................................... 7
1. Directory Services/User Identity Management ......................................................... 9
2. IP Telephony (Voice over IP) .................................................................................... 11
3. CMDB and Change Management ............................................................................ 14
4. Software Management ..............................................................................................17
5. Virtualization ........................................................................................................... 19
6. Network Operations Center ..................................................................................... 21
7. Desktop Management .............................................................................................. 24
8. Enterprise Wireless Networking ............................................................................. 26
9. Network Convergence .............................................................................................. 28
Reduce Cost, Improve Customer Service, Position BCPS for the Future
Curriculum support and critical business operations demand availability, reliability and security of
technology resources. Because teaching and operations
evolve, so must the technologies that support them. This
report describes strategic initiatives underway in The
Broward County Public Schools’ Education Technology
Services (ETS) Department to assure that technology
resources meet current needs and evolve to meet ever-
increasing demand, adjust to the emergence of new
technologies, resist malicious intrusion or recover quickly
from disaster, provide safety for end-users, and save
money. The initiatives laid out in this document are
driven by the District’s 2007 - 2010 Strategic Plan for
Technology and support the goals for that plan. The ETS
initiatives are defined on page 7.
The ETS initiatives summarized in this document are examples of the proactive approach to meeting
current demands by the District for IT services. The design and deployment efforts by ETS over the past
five years, combined with the completion of current and planned initiatives, will result in both
infrastructure and processes capable of comfortably supporting technologies that will evolve over the next
five years. ETS has applied industry standards to ensure that the District’s infrastructure designs and
procurements, and its technology plans for the future, responsibly address bandwidth and reliability
requirements of business and education applications now and going forward.
To help ensure success, ETS is leveraging lessons learned to apply best practices and processes proven
under fire and in a manner that yields the most value to students, teachers and staff. ETS is also
leveraging its relationships with JDL, AT&T, Avaya and other vendors in taking a holistic view of the
emerging technologies. This view goes beyond procurement to
understanding total cost of ownership and impact on
infrastructure. This approach will assure that the desired benefits of
new technologies are actually realized. ETS is applying these best
practices to create processes for evaluating, selecting and
implementing technologies that reduce the chance of mistakes and
provide decision makers with the facts about return on investment
and total cost of ownership for promising new technologies.
As an example, ETS is currently in discussions with JDL about
piloting elements of mobile convergence, identity management,
application virtualization and cloud computing in order to
anticipate how these emerging technologies can support concepts
such as Anytime, Anywhere Learning.
Status in Broward County Schools
Today’s Campus IT Resources
ETS is building a platform on each campus from which IT based communication can enable improved
educational and business processes. This infrastructure platform consists of a fiber backbone with Gigabit
to the desktop capable of supporting voice, video and data needs including not only computer applications
but also telephones, surveillance cameras, EMS, and, in the future, paging, intercom, clocks and broadcast
television. In addition to creating this robust platform, ETS selected these technologies with a focus on
achieving significant cost savings for installation, management and maintenance of IT resources. For
example, the IP based campus infrastructure design will
eliminate costly duplicate cabling for television, and other
campus-wide services such as phone systems and video
The current wireless infrastructure, an extension of the
wired network, provides managed and secure access over
high speed bandwidth. This makes possible anytime,
anywhere access to educational resources and business
systems while supporting proliferation of portable or
laptop computers and other mobile devices using the
The infrastructure was built in part by leveraging E-Rate
discounts. The District continues to receive significant E-
Rate subsidies for voice services, wide area network
connectivity and Internet access. To date, the District has
received over $55 million in E-Rate subsidies. In addition, the decision to purchase high-end switching
products with lifetime warranties from a leading manufacturer saved four million dollars in a recent
Looking to the future, ETS is initiating implementation of, the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard capable of
providing high speed wireless for next generation instructional devices. This technology is capable of
meeting the bandwidth requirements of media rich teaching and learning activities including:
the Broward digital classroom initiative
on-demand and streamed high definition video
multiple session high definition video conferencing
distance learning worldwide over the Internet
telephone (voice) communications over the Intranet and Internet
unified messaging and other voice integration services
ETS is confident that its infrastructure designs and procurements, and its technology plans for the future,
responsibly address bandwidth and reliability requirements of business and education applications.
Today’s District-Wide IT Resources
ETS’ technology planning has, and continues to focus on, providing infrastructure that supports learning
opportunities beyond the classroom and campus. The infrastructure connecting schools is based on a
scalable fiber backbone and is purchased as a managed
service from AT&T. The cost of this managed service is
heavily subsidized through E-Rate funding. Wide Area
Network usage is monitored so that the District will
not be paying for unused bandwidth and yet
bandwidth can be incrementally scaled to meet all
needs as requirements for access grow.
The system is capable of transporting voice, video and
data between campuses. More importantly, the
campuses are connected to centralized services such as
grade book applications, student information systems,
a centralized student and teacher portal as well as
centralized HR and other business support services.
Centralizing these services is industry best practice as
it significantly reduces hardware, software and
maintenance costs. The District Wide Area Network
supports Quality of Service (QoS) and Class of Service
(CoS) which prioritizes and ensures delivery of mission
critical information such as student information and
The District infrastructure supports the following additional examples of services:
Security (e.g., STAR, EMS), safety and disaster communications through video surveillance,
intrusion prevention and centralized, real time visibility of the entire infrastructure.
Centralized management of voice resources reducing cost associated with local based phone
Current and future demands for distance learning, cooperative events, and project based
interactions both across District boundaries and across the world.
Technology resources to make available specific, one-time events such as countywide video
conferences with assured security, sufficient bandwidth and performance with no compromise in
data integrity. An advanced placement calculus class at one high school could be made available
to students of all high schools.
Having achieved all of this, the District is poised to move to a world of unified communications
supporting improved education and business processes.
Today’s Access to World Wide Education Resources
Moving forward, it is expected that there will be more exchanges with schools and students all over the
world to support Anytime, Anywhere Learning. Today in Broward County Public Schools, high bandwidth
and redundant Internet connectivity deliver worldwide learning resources. ETS is continually upgrading
the District Internet infrastructure to provide fast, secure and reliable access to these resources.
High availability at the best cost is assured through closely monitoring and scaling bandwidth as needed.
The District does not purchase more bandwidth than is needed. Redundant Internet access and other
network systems assure reliability and availability of resources. High level redundant firewalls and
intrusion prevention systems block malicious attacks on the infrastructure protecting the investment and
providing high levels of system security and student safety. Safety and resource effectiveness are
facilitated by highly powerful content filtering.
The scalable redundant systems implemented by ETS provide reliable and safe delivery of mission critical
services such as:
Distance learning, interacting with others in real time
Data transmission such as FTE and student information
Time sensitive curriculum and worldwide video conferencing
ETS uses certain techniques in the background to drive out cost and insure compliance. These techniques
Internet content filtering to meet Children’s Internet Protective Act (CIPA) compliance
Prioritization of resources through packet shaping which tunes the network
Caching engines throughout the District to greatly reduce bandwidth requirements and related
Tying it All Together: Support for Anytime, Anywhere Learning Now and in the Future
The campus based local area network, District wide area network and Internet infrastructure summarized
above will support current and future Broward County School
District teaching and learning needs.
From the campus to connections between campuses to the
redundant Internet access, all IT services are centrally
monitored through the advanced Network Operations Center
(NOC). Currently outsourced to JDL Technologies, the NOC
monitors thousands of network devices and detects slow or
interrupted services. Problems can normally be resolved from
the NOC, saving the cost of dispatching technicians and often
before end-users know there is a problem. When onsite
repairs are needed, technicians are armed with the
knowledge of what to do and the parts or spares to fix them.
In addition to monitoring the network devices, the NOC also
monitors critical business services. The right hand side of the
Internet network usage monitoring diagram on page 5 lists a
number of services monitored in the NOC today. Based on IT best practices, these mission critical
business services are monitored by identifying, and viewing as a unit, the IT assets that deliver those
According to IT best practice as stated in the IT
Information Infrastructure Library (ITIL),
information about the IT assets that deliver
services forms the basis for understanding the
components, requirements and costs of the
delivery of a service. This information is useful
for assuring that services to end-users are
delivered at the lowest cost while meeting end-
user requirements. This enables calculation of
the total cost of ownership and operation of a
service including the cost of an alternative
approach so effective decisions can be made
Broward ETS Initiatives Position BCPS for the Future
ETS is building on the current infrastructure by implementing key initiatives to position the District to
take full advantage of anticipated and, as yet, unseen future technologies. The top key initiatives and the
Strategic Plan for Technology goals to which they are aligned are:
ETS Initiatives Selected Goals of Strategic Plan
for Technology 2007-2010
1. Directory Services/User OP-4
Identity Management Increase organizational effectiveness
Single sign-on, highest level through alignment of resources and
security, lowest administration & transition to a customer-focused
maintenance of users. organization.
2. Voice over IP (VoIP) P1-3
Leverage District network Ensure that technical infrastructure and
resources for supporting and human resources continuously support
integrating voice communications the District’s current and future
into unified messaging. technology initiatives.
3. Change Management and OP-4
CMDB Increase organizational effectiveness
Reduce IT application through alignment of resources and
interruptions, reduce cost of transition to a customer-focused
maintenance and IT services organization.
4. Software Management P1-1
Eliminate unnecessary software All software, both administrative and
costs caused by duplicate software instructional, will be evaluated and
purchases, provide efficiency and procured through a software evaluation
cost savings for software process in order to ensure that customer
acquisition and improve software needs, technology standards, and cost
support. effectiveness are addressed.
5. Virtualization P1-3
Save energy, significantly reduce Ensure that technical infrastructure and
hardware costs and optimize human resources continuously support
resource use. the District’s current and future
6. Network Operations Center P1-3
Ensure that technical infrastructure and
Save money and time by providing
human resources continuously support
proactive monitoring, maintenance
the District’s current and future
and management of IT resources.
7. Centralized Desktop OP-4
Management Increase organizational effectiveness
Reduce computer support cost, through alignment of resources and
manage viruses and other malware transition to a customer-focused
that can impact District resources, organization.
manage security through the use of
8. Enterprise Wireless P1-3
Ensure that technical infrastructure and
Secure, managed, high speed
human resources continuously support
mobile access to District
the District’s current and future
resources within the campus.
9. Convergence P1-3
Enhance and save money by Ensure that technical infrastructure and
merging the distribution of voice, human resources continuously support
video and data over a common the District’s current and future
network infrastructure using a technology initiatives.
common IP protocol.
1. Directory Services/User Identity Management
What is Directory Services?
Directory Services is a network server technology that centralizes the
management of an organization's users, departments and IT resources.
Directory Services provides the foundation for end-user management
and secure access to current or future instructional and business
What is the impact of Directory Services on achieving
District goals including impact on customer service?
The implementation of district-wide Directory Services will:
1. Save time and money by providing the capability for centralized, automated computer imaging
and software provisioning.
2. Provide capability for creating and managing user accounts.
3. Provide capability for single sign-on.
4. Enable use of a single storage repository of user information that can be shared across
5. Accommodate open directory services in support of the District’s current and future diverse
6. Provide information on access (who is on the network), accounting (what have they been doing)
and authorization (which resources are individuals allowed to access).
7. Provide a scalable identity management platform for future utilization of a host of worldwide
resources such as software as a service.
8. Save time and money.
How does Directory Services save the District money and other resources?
Implementation of Directory Services significantly reduces operational costs by enabling centralized
management of users and user access to IT systems. Directory Services removes barriers to automated
patching for security, imaging and software provisioning thus producing significant savings in personnel
costs for managing IT assets and users. Because a secure environment is created through proactive
patching and prevention, there is a reduction in the costs associated with protecting resources from virus
and other malware attacks.
How does Directory Services align with industry best practices?
Implementation of Directory Services is the result of a commitment to best practice and implementation
of industry standards for IT. Industry experts suggest that Directory Services provides the foundation for
enterprise growth including availability to service and security resources necessary to support that
“(Computers) that are not connected to Active Directory and its group policy enforcement infrastructure
can potentially create serious security liabilities for the enterprise.” (Laura DiDio, Yankee Group, 2009.)
Administered correctly, Directory Services provides for secure availability to District resources by end-
users. The 2008 Gartner Hype Cycle for Identity Management shows Enterprise Single Sign On, Password
Management and Web Access Management as mature technologies with methods and processes that ETS
is positioning for future implementation.
Gartner Hype Cycle for Identity and Access Management, 2008
How does Directory Services support the business in the future?
As the District moves toward concepts such as Anytime, Anywhere Learning, managing user identity
within and beyond the enterprise is essential. Without implementing Directory Services, the task of
managing end-user access to District services will become overwhelming. Growing curriculum and
business services will require cost effective and secure processes and tools for managing access to District
resources. Implementation of Directory Services/User Identity Management will provide the District with
the processes and tools necessary to ensure secure access to business and curriculum systems.
Current Status and Critical Challenges
Directory Services has been implemented and piloted in approximately ten schools. This pilot
implementation provided data on the time required to deploy Directory Services and the savings in time
and support over the domain architecture currently used through BCPS.
The District is currently building resources to enable automation of the implementation of Directory
Services throughout the schools and other buildings. Despite the complexities and the significant resource
allocation required to migrate the District to a complete directory services solution, this initiative holds
significant potential and can be viewed as an imperative strategic undertaking.
2. IP Telephony (Voice over IP)
What is Voice over IP (VoIP)?
IP Telephony is a term used to describe the suite of voice services
(and underlying technologies) that are delivered via an Internet
Protocol (IP) data network rather than the traditional Time Division
Multiplexing (TDM) voice infrastructure.
Approximately 75% of all new voice systems currently shipping fall
into the IP Telephony category.
What is the benefit of VoIP on achieving District goals
including impact on customer service?
Broward Schools’ migration to IP Telephony will deliver two types of operational benefits - cost savings
and enhanced communications.
Cost savings stem from the routing of phone calls over existing data networks. This allows for the
consolidation of trunks from the District’s telephones to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
and eventually the elimination of dedicated telephone circuits.
Improved communications come about once the voice systems in Broward School convert to IP systems
because they have increased flexibility. Voice in many ways becomes an application that, like several
others, “rides” the IP network infrastructure installed across Broward Schools. Unified messaging will
exist throughout the educational and administration sectors of the District. This will allow for the
integration of video conferencing, message and data file exchange, audio conferencing and the managing
of address books and email via IP.
How does IP Telephony save the District money and other resources?
Over time, the greatest financial impact felt by Broward Schools from its migration to the IP Telephony
will be derived from:
Hard costs in the convergence of its network infrastructure (the gradual elimination of separate
networks for voice, video and data)
Efficiency improvements in centralized systems administration (human resource impact)
Efficiencies in moves, adds, and changes to telephone equipment deployments (human resource
Worthy of note is the fact that, because of strategic planning and adherence to program guidelines, the
first 54 schools that will move to IP Telephony will be done under the E-Rate Program – reducing the cost
of all eligible components to 10% of their contract price levels. ETS has also filed a request for funding
approval to move another 59 schools to IP Telephony next year under E-Rate at a 20% price level for
eligible items. These steep discounts dramatically improve the cost-benefit analysis for the systems at the
first group of schools to migrate.
How does IP Telephony align with industry best practice?
As noted in the Gartner consulting Hype Cycle for Telecommunications Applications included below, IP
telephony is a fully mature technology that has been broadly embraced in enterprise telecommunications.
Broward Schools has had the advantage of allowing IP Telephony technology to mature while it reaped
(and continues to reap) an extraordinary ROI on its investment in Tadiran TDM voice switching systems.
Gartner currently categorizes IP Telephony as “Mature – Mainstream.”
Gartner Hype Cycle for Telecommunications Applications, July 2008
The business drivers that forced other companies to move more quickly toward the IP platform (toll-
avoidance, for example) did not similarly provide immediate benefit to BCPS’ total cost of operations.
Broward Schools recently began migrating its standards and installations to IP Telephony. This was done
at a stage when the new IP systems address the aging of its TDM install base (end of service equipment),
and the value propositions that are now applicable to the District’s telecommunications needs and
How does IP Telephony support the business in the future?
IP telephony will support a move toward new and enhanced voice applications such as “remote office” and
“virtual contact center” as a part of its business processes. It is the first step toward the implementation
of unified communications (UC) whereby students and staff will have a single integrated communications
tool capable of blending text (email and text messaging), video, and voice communications in such a way
that “presence” information (availability and preferred communication paths) between participants is
The move to VoIP supports new ways of maintaining the critical communications sessions of a mobile
workforce – seamless transitioning pathways from landline connections, to Wi-Fi network connections, to
Current Status and Critical Challenges
Currently, five campuses support full Voice over IP communication. Fifty-four schools have received E-
Rate funding approval for systems to be installed later in 2009. An additional 59 schools have been
applied for in the 2009 E-Rate funding year.
While there are cost savings associated with converging wired and wireless networks, realizing these cost
savings will require changes to the data network. Customer expectations for high availability and
reliability for voice services require that the District’s data network be scaled to support voice as well as
other converged technologies.
3. CMDB and Change Management
What are CMDB and Change Management?
Change Management is a formalized process of tracking,
approving and managing changes in the IT environment.
Change Management will enable IT control the number of IT
incidents caused by change and reinforce a continuous
improvement cycle. A Configuration Management Data Base
(CMDB) is a data store for all IT assets and these assets are
aligned and managed according to the business service they
What is the impact of Change Management and a
CMDB on achieving District goals including impact on customer service?
Change Management impacts the IT environment in two ways. First, it prevents interruptions to IT
service due to unauthorized changes to the environment for things such as the introduction of untested
software and changes made to devices such as servers, routers or switches. Second, a published, visible
Change Management process inhibits the introduction of new technology without testing and
authorization. The overall benefits of Change Management are:
Decreased cost of change Increased employee performance
Reduced time to implement change Increased return on the investment in
Decreased risk of unsuccessful change the change
Minimized operational disruptions Increased customer service and customer
satisfaction with IT resources
Increased employee acceptance
A CMDB collects and stores information on incidents and changes to the specific assets that support the
business service. A CMDB provides the capability to support true service level agreements which ensure
that the District IT services are meeting the needs of both business and functions.
How do Change Management and a CMDB save the District money and other resources?
Cost savings are achieved by reducing the amount of support and maintenance required due to incidents
caused by changes. There is a cost associated with lost teaching opportunities when technology fails to
deliver required resources. A teaching moment is time sensitive and the cost of losing that moment can’t
be measured in dollars. Providing highly available, stable support systems is key to IT’s role in supporting
the learning environment and the business support systems.
A CMDB contains information about IT assets that support a specific business service including the
location, incidents and changes. These systems, properly implemented, have potential to increase
customer service and reduce total cost of ownership.
"Determining an ROI around CMDBs and ITIL is hard, because we're talking about productivity gains,"
said Jay Long, manager of IT service management at Forsythe Solutions Group Inc., an IT consulting
company based in Chicago. "One of the big benefits of [CMDBs] is return on avoided outages, but that's
tough to calculate because there's no empirical evidence available."
“IT managers who have deployed CMDBs cite several additional areas of savings:
Reducing or eliminating unnecessary servers and other hardware
Better license and maintenance contract management
Tighter management of outsourcing agreements”
How do Change Management and the CMDB align with industry best practices?
Change Management and CMDB are terms used in ITIL best practice literature. Change Management is
designed to assure that standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling
of all changes. The goal is to minimize the impact of any incidents related to changes on service to the
end-users. ETS applies industry best practices in its Change Management process with the goal to
optimize customer service and minimize cost.
How do Change Management and the CMDB support the business in the future?
The ETS Change Management process helps ensure minimal impact on end users resulting from changes.
The chart below summarizes the process for reviewing changes. There are also processes for
implementing and validating that the changes were successfully deployed.
Revision No. _______
3.1.2 ETS Change Review Process Flowchart Approval________
Update Step 2 -
Change Initiator Perform Change Request
Begin Necessary Testing Status Form to
& Communication Show if
Notify Change Approve Step 2:
Initiator Initiator of Change Request
Management Requests Requiring Status Form When
Additional Research Completed
No Notify Change Prepare Change
Review All Initiator Manager of Committee
Change Manager Ready to Go to 3.1.3
Pending Requests Requests Requiring Agenda;
Additional Research Notify Parties
ETS Work Units
Step 2: Change
Request Status Testing
Step 1: Change Plan
Change Change Change Archive Folder
Request Folder Pending Folder Closeout Folder
Change management provides a framework for the orderly implementation of new resources that are a
natural part of technology evolution. It supports the business and its technology users by managing and
controlling changes that contain a high risk of service interruption. The result is the prevention of a high
percentage of the incidents that plague IT departments.
The CMDB provides a foundation for building and monitoring Service Level Agreements with customers.
A CMDB provides this foundation by aligning the specific technologies with the services that they provide
and support. In addition, a CMDB can help determine total cost of ownership. Going forward, this
supports the business by helping optimize cost efficiency and service quality.
Current Status and On-Going Challenges
As a part of the BMC Remedy Incident Management System, the District has also implemented the
Atrium CMDB along with an application that supports the District change management processes.
There is a challenge in building a consensus around process. “A February 2007 study by Framingham,
Mass.-based research firm IDC identified a potential pitfall of CMDB projects: organizations' difficulty
in articulating the ROI that justifies the time, money and effort. In particular, the study noted that
making the case for a CMDB's ROI tends to focus primarily on short-term cost savings. The problem, of
course, is that many organizations will realize savings only in the long term -- that is, once a CMDB has
been up and running for a while.”
“Further such longer-range savings won't become apparent unless you invest the time and effort to
develop process standards for change management. Then a CMDB can support improvements in service
delivery, which can generate cost-saving benefits.” (Search Data Center, Megan Santosus, 2007.)
4. Software Management
What is Software Management?
Software Management is the process of tracking and
inventorying applications that are in use including their
warranties and licenses. Tracking also means knowing the
upgrade paths owned by the District so applications are kept
current. Software Management continuously evaluates
instructional and administrative software to provide
resources that will meet student achievement needs.
Software control is the ability to approve the use of an
application based on performance, compatibility with the
network, fit into the BCPS operational and student goals,
What is the impact of Software Management on achieving District goals including
impact on customer service?
A software review process is defined in the strategic plan for ETS wherein a software approval and
standardization process is proposed. Software tracking and inventory has been implemented in BCPS.
This collection of information regarding the licenses purchased throughout the District makes it possible
for the District to negotiate special pricing. The customer experience with IT can be negatively impacted
by unplanned, random introductions of software applications that have not been tested. The more
information that the end-user has regarding a software title, prior to making a purchase, the better that
experience can be. As a part of this initiative, this technology will allow ETS to monitor software
procurements to ensure that software will work in the District’s network environment and that the
customer experience is positive.
This approval process will help ensure that requested software applications will meet District standards
Alignment to network requirements
How does Software Management save the District money and other resources?
Avoiding interruptions to service saves the cost of reporting, recording and resolving incidents due to
unauthorized and unplanned implementations of software. Knowing the warranty and support cycles
enables involvement of the warranty owners in supporting their applications. Central approval of
applications allows for District-wide licensing negotiations for volume licensing and assures compliance
with licensing requirements. The District has been using this software process for less than six months.
Many departments (Curriculum, ETS, ESOL, ESE, Supply Management & Logistics), have been working
together to implement this new process. Together they have made a difference. During this short period
of time, the District has saved over $134,000 on initial license purchases. But this is not only about
saving money on licenses. It is also about the District saving money on software training and software
support. Supply Management & Logistics is developing an RFP for software purchases. The goal is to
consolidate all purchases of pre-programmed software to help eliminate overbuying and to gain leverage
through aggregative buying purchases.
How does Software Management align with industry best practices
Software tracking, inventory and control use aspects of Release Management from the ITIL industry
standard practices. Release Management ensures that selecting, testing and implementing changes to the
IT environment are controlled in order to minimize interruptions to service and optimize the
implementation of the changes. Release management is concerned with planning the implementation of
new software applications in the IT environment. It assures that the applications do not create a security
How does Software Management support the business in the future?
As the District moves to develop software resources that support Anytime, Anywhere Learning, it is
essential that these software resources be analyzed, purchased and implemented according to standard
The organization's responsibility for managing software should not be based on cost justifications
alone. It is also a responsibility for risk mitigation, avoiding future costs and maximizing return on
assets. (Gartner, The business case for Software Asset Management, 2007)
Current Status and On-Going Challenges
Currently, a software tracking application module has been developed utilizing the BMC Action Request
System engine that also supports Incident, Change and CMDB modules in the District. A Web-based front
end is currently under development which would provide district-wide access to currently approved
District software application titles.
The next steps involve development of the Requester Module which would provide staff with the ability to
submit new software titles for approval and acquisition. These requests would be routed through the
existing Change Management application for timely approval according to District policies and guidelines
for software purchase.
A key challenge is educating teachers and administrators to understand that there are implications in an
enterprise for how a software application may perform. This understanding is achieved by educating
District staff about the benefits of implementing the District guidelines for software approval and
What is virtualization?
Gartner defines virtualization as "the pooling of resources in a
way that masks the physical nature and boundaries of those
resources from the resource users." Traditionally, one
application is allocated to one server resulting in, according to
Gartner again, roughly 80% to 90% of the server capacity
sitting unused at any one time. Virtualization decouples the OS
or applications from the hardware making the configuration of
the OS or application independent and enabling the allocation
of unused capacity.
What is the impact of Virtualization on achieving District goals including impact on
The impact of virtualization will be efficiency and cost savings. This is achieved by reducing the number of
physical servers thereby eliminating the cost associated with supporting them. Use of these servers can
provide increased stability of District resources thereby improving the customer experience with IT
How does Virtualization save the District money and other resources?
Virtualization can be one of the leading sources of cost savings for ETS and Broward Schools. Cost savings
are realized in several ways:
1. Reduction in the number of physical servers
2. Maintenance and software costs of servers over time
3. Reduction in physical space and power requirements
4. A more secure and consistent approach to maintaining and managing the server environment
Gartner’s Thomas Bittman in a presentation on data center virtualization suggests a . . . focus on a rapid
return on investment but look outside of just cost reduction as a return on that investment. The return
on that investment could be in disaster recovery, better agility, etc. (Data Center Virtualization: Why
You Need It and Best Practices for Success.)
How does Virtualization align with industry best practices?
Virtualization has quickly become accepted by IT and is considered today as a leading industry best
Virtualization is the highest-impact issue changing infrastructure and operations
through 2012. It will change how you manage, how and what you buy, how you deploy,
how you plan and how you charge. It will also shake up licensing, pricing and
component management. Infrastructure is on an inevitable shift from components that
are physically integrated by vendors (for example, monolithic servers) or manually
integrated by users to logically composed “fabrics” of computing, I/O and storage
components. (Gartner, Virtualization Changes Virtually Everything, March, 2008)
The Road to Real Time Infrastructure
How does Virtualization support the business in the future?
Virtualization brings a real change in higher availability, greater agility and mobility and reduced
downtime. The speed with which new applications can be moved online is significantly increased. School
departments, customers, students and teachers can get access to the computer resources they need almost
instantly. As an example, online registration requires access to systems by tens of thousands of people. In
a virtualized environment, this could be provisioned much more quickly.
There are also benefits of desktop virtualization. Virtual desktops allow end-users to connect to their
resources from any desktop, surprisingly enough even over an Internet connection. IT would maintain
resources in a central place providing the ability for users to work anywhere and have what they need.
Application streaming is another instant gratification benefit from virtualization. End-
users can request a new application and have it up and running on their system almost
immediately – no install required, no setup and no waiting for a 600MB download. You
have to see application streaming in action to really grasp how game-changing it is for
end-users. (Virtualization on the Business Side of Things, Andi Mann, Business Trends
Quarterly, December 2007.)
Current Status and Critical Challenges
ETS has made significant progress towards the implementation of virtualization technologies. 43 physical
servers have been consolidated into just 7 physical Virtual Host Servers. These Virtual Servers currently
host 79 production VM Guest OS servers, and 45 development and lab servers. Storage has also been
consolidated and virtualized, providing flexible allocation of storage space from a common pool of
resources. ETS has intelligently leveraged the new capabilities of these technologies to provide a new level
of reliability for curriculum and business applications delivered to the customer.
Virtualization results will depend on the ability to properly blend people, processes and technology into
the required solution based on the needs of the District and tied to supporting and protecting functional
objectives and organizational goals. While virtualization is a technology, optimizing its value is a
6. Network Operations Center
What is a Network Operations Center?
A network operations center (NOC) is a place from which IT
infrastructure and operations management is performed. The
Broward NOC is located on the second floor of the TSSC
building where detailed status of the network can be monitored
and managed. The network operations center is the focal point
for such activities as network monitoring, network incident
resolution, software distribution and updating, router and
switch configuration, wireless controller management,
applications monitoring, performance monitoring and
coordination with affiliated networks.
What is the impact of the Network Operations Center on achieving District goals
including the impact on customer service?
The Network Operations Center provides the District the capability to ensure that the infrastructure is
delivering IT resources at required service levels. In-depth trend analysis provides information that
enables the District to scale resources capable of proactively meeting on-going requirements for
supporting curriculum and business. Using this trend data, the District can project and anticipate what
loads will be imposed on future systems. Using synthetic transactions running against applications, the
NOC can determine the state of those applications and predict availability for end-users.
The Network Operations Center provides the capability for the District to perform both proactive and fast
reactive customer support. Service to the end-user is optimized by eliminating and reducing the time to
diagnose and repair interruptions to network resource delivery.
Example of fast reactive support – the Network Operations Center scans all network devices in all
schools and notifies any site if they have an outage or incident that could impact services.
Example of proactive support – the Network Operations Center monitors utilization for a specific
service and intervenes prior to overutilization impacting that service.
The Network Operations Center can work with end-users in real time and, as a result of the visibility
operators have over system resources, will in many instances provide a solution over the phone.
How does the Network Operations Center save the District money and other
The most direct impact is the reduction in human resources needed to directly support and service the
270 plus sites in the Broward School District. Prior to the creation of centralized management and
monitoring, technicians had to be dispatched for almost all incidents. The most obvious savings in cost is
the ability to monitor, manage and maintain network devices throughout BCPS from a single location
without rolling a truck. The NOC can now diagnose a problem and repair it remotely most of the time.
When a service call is required the problem is identified in advance through remote analysis and the
correct part, if needed, is carried by the technician. Traditionally, a network device repair would take two
or more physical trips to the site.
How does the Network Operations Center align with industry best practices?
The NOC leverages Incident and Problem Management along with other ITIL disciplines that focus on
delivery of IT services to end-users at the level of performance required for their success. The NOC has the
capability of monitoring services according to Service Level Management best practice guidelines. This
means that the Broward NOC follows principles of Service Level Management, the ITIL service delivery
standard, in monitoring and managing service delivery. ITIL’s Availability Management, which includes
trend analysis, provides the ability to be proactive in response to customer demands.
Two technologies used in the NOC to achieve the industry standards are advanced trend analysis and
application availability analysis. These proactive analyses provide information that enables scaling of
resources to meet the needs of teachers, students and administration.
Gartner defines the responsibilities of IT operations management, key goals of the Network Operations
Center in ETS, as follows:
The responsibilities of IT operations management are mission-critical to businesses in four main areas:
Keeping the IT systems used in business processes up and running, and performing to meet
Managing operational risk
Delivering IT services in a continuously optimized, cost-effective manner
Delivering agile and innovative IT services at a competitive cost that contribute to business
success (Core Topics and Key Issues for IT Operations Management, 2008)
How does the Network Operations Center support the business in the future?
As Anytime, Anywhere Learning evolves, the Network Operations Center will maintain the capability of
ensuring that services support learning innovations. The NOC will be able to provide information on the
status of how effectively current and future learning technologies are reaching the end-users.
As the convergence of systems such as security, video surveillance and telephone occurs, the NOC will be
able to ensure that the high availability required by these services over the IP infrastructure is met.
The vast array of tools that make monitoring and measuring student progress in real time a reality will be
fully supported and made functional through the services of the Network Operations Center. Systems will
change and evolve but the delivery of these systems must continue to be monitored and maintained.
Monitoring and managing the virtualized environment along with other evolving technologies and forms
of service delivery will provide the District with unique challenges. Maintaining visibility will be critical
and essential to ensuring high levels of customer service. The Network Operations Center going forward
will be able to maintain global visibility.
Current Status and Critical Challenges
The NOC is currently monitoring and remotely managing the District network architecture including
7,000 switches in 270 buildings. It is also monitoring and managing the wireless access points in each
building along with monitoring and managing each of the users that associate with those wireless access
points in real time.
Additionally, the Network Operations Center currently monitors and provides data to District
administrators on utilization and availability trends which includes information on the use of specific
The Network Operations Center also monitors business critical applications that support curriculum and
business services as well as services delivered from remote locations.
The challenge is to move to full service level management and away from focusing only on IT assets or
devices. The continued implementation and increased use of intelligent and self healing systems including
implementation of CMDBs will help provide full service level management.
Another challenge is to increase service delivery while decreasing service maintenance and delivery costs.
The NOC is also capable of keeping up with a fluid environment anticipating:
Voice over IP
Virtualization of servers, computers and applications
Tracking mobile computer users and the infrastructure that supports them (WiFi)
7. Desktop Management
What is Desktop Management?
Desktop management provides the ability to remotely manage
the District’s approximately 120,000 computers and to
centralize information about those devices. This includes the
capability to upgrade operating systems, download computer
images, download approved software, maintain the OS and
other applications and apply patches for security. Desktop
management also enables computer support and end-user
training from a remote location.
What is the impact of Desktop Management on
achieving District goals including impact on customer service?
Desktop Management saves thousands of man-hours for central support staff as well as site based
technical support staff. For instance, manually provisioning each computer individually for a single
application may require 40 man-hours in a single school. Through desktop management, this can be
consolidated to approximately one hour. Imaging, patching and OS upgrades that would normally also
require thousands of man-hours can be completed in a small fraction of the time with desktop
Desktop Management enables high levels of security through quickly patching computers against virus
and other malware attacks securing the network environment and data. This also ensures computer
performance in support of a positive customer experience.
The third advantage is that Desktop management increases the satisfaction and ability to perform the job
of teachers, students and staff by providing remote, just-in-time support for all kinds of issues ranging
from adding a printer to resetting a password.
An additional impact of desktop management is that it is used on the service desk as a means of
troubleshooting problems and educating end-users.
How does Centralized Desktop Management save the District Money and other
The thousands of man-hours saved by remotely maintaining computers results in millions of dollars in
cost savings for computer maintenance and support.
Additional cost savings are realized through the capability of determining where computers are located.
Desktop management tools make it possible to verify that a computer is in a specific building. For
example, desktop management can assist property and records in locating computers that may have been
delivered by vendors to the wrong buildings.
According to Gartner Research, the deployment of a desktop management system results in the following
Gartner estimates significant cost savings: However, if the company's PCs are locked
down and well managed, the cost per PC per year can be 42% lower . . . Gartner said
locking down laptops and managing them well could result in 45% annual cost
savings. (Computer Weekly, Desktop Computing, March, 2008.)
How does Desktop Management align with industry best practices?
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library publishes a continuous improvement cycle as a key
best practice. This continuous improvement is enabled by desktop management. For example, managing
virus patching, OS upgrades, imaging, and license tracking throughout the enterprise from a central
console facilitates the continuous improvement process enhancing the computer experience for the end-
How does Desktop Management support the business in the future?
The District will benefit by repurposing technical personnel to higher level tasks. This could result in
making time available to support teaching and learning by researching and testing innovative
Providing the District with the tools to cost effectively manage desktops and other end points remotely
makes it possible for District staff to spend their limited time on other tasks. As computing resources,
move around the campus and District, desktop management is able to track these mobile assets and
maintain the inventory. This helps avoid loss and optimize end-user support in a fluid technology
Current Status and Critical Challenges
Currently, approximately 90% of the computers in the District have the desktop management agents
installed and ready for use. Through LANDesk management software, ETS manages and maintains
approximately 100,000 computers, 40,000 of which are wireless laptops. This remotely managed desktop
and laptop environment is capable of full control and deployment of virus control patches, OS upgrades,
troubleshooting and end-user support and training.
By educating end-users that it is in their best interest to put the agent on their computer, their experience
with computers will improve, their computers will be protected against malware and they will receive
effective support when needed.
8. Enterprise Wireless Networking
What is Enterprise Wireless Networking?
A wireless network is a collection of wireless access points
supported through a centralized controller providing
connection to District and Internet resources on wireless
enabled computers without being plugged into power or
network infrastructure. Centralized controllers provide the
intelligence to the access points so that they can dynamically
adjust to meet changing demands. This wireless extension is
built on 802.11 standards often referred to as WiFi.
What is the impact of Enterprise Wireless
Networking on achieving District goals including impact on customer service?
Wireless networks provide high speed access to network resources such as learning applications, the
Internet and e-mail. Mobility enables users access to IT enabled networked resources from wherever
needed. Computers do not have to connect to a wall jack with a patch cable in order for staff or students to
communicate or learn. The campus wireless infrastructure enhances teaching and learning by providing
mobility within each campus. The enterprise wireless environment supports the use of laptop carts on the
The wireless network resources also enable District staff to roam within the campus and to other
campuses within the District and quickly connect to business resources such as email, student
information and other data.
How does Enterprise Wireless Networking save the District money and other
Wireless networking provides the ability to extend the network on each campus without additional costly
cabling and switching devices. Cost savings are both immediate and long term. Immediate cost savings
are found in the labor costs of deploying a wireless network. Moves, adds and changes to a wireless
network are a fraction of the cost of the same actions on a wired network. Wireless access is more cost
effective than the cost of trenching or stretching wire over poles to portables or other buildings remote to
the main campus.
How does Enterprise Wireless Networking align with industry best practices?
Providing mobility is a best practice as it increases efficiency. Wireless networks enable Anytime,
Anywhere Learning taking advantage of the “just in time” nature of the learning environment. In these
environments, wireless networking becomes an essential resource.
How does Enterprise Wireless Networking support the business in the future?
Wireless networks positively impact productivity because of the mobility and ubiquity of access to BCPS
network resources. When resources are readily and easily available they are more likely to be used for
instruction and communication.
While the infrastructure in place allows student and staff capability for teaching and learning within the
campus environment, this mobile convergence will be extended to accommodate Anytime, Anywhere
Learning from resources available anywhere in the world.
Forrester Research positions mobile computing over the wireless enterprise as follows:
Through mobile technologies, companies have the potential to catalyze changes ranging from
incremental productivity improvements to a radical redefinition of business processes. Some
specific coverage areas include mobile policy and strategy definition; mobile application
architectures; laptops, notebooks, and handheld computers; wireless email; mobile operating
systems; wireless LANs (WLANs); and third-generation (3G) wireless services. (Enterprise
Mobility, Forrester Research, March, 2006.)
Mobile convergence with 802.11 means support for all of these resources mentioned by Forrester. The
campus wireless infrastructure lays some essential ground work for Anytime, Anywhere Learning that will
one day be extended via the worldwide web beyond the campus. ETS is currently working toward
implementation of the technology for achieving convergence between the Internet and the 802.11 wireless
infrastructure. This will make the transition between campus and worldwide resources seamless.
As students step onto the campus they access the wireless infrastructure. As they step off the campus they
can connect to the worldwide web while maintaining their identity thus supporting Anytime, Anywhere
Current Status and Critical Challenges
Wireless networking is now operating in Broward County Schools providing a secure extension of the
campus wired networks. Currently, there is a complete wireless campus network on 105 campuses.
152 more campuses have partial wireless networks.
The District has initiated a pilot site with next generation campus wireless which is capable of a
300% increase in throughput. Under the current E-Rate financial support 60 campuses will be
outfitted with next generation enterprise wireless networks.
ETS, through an outsource contract with JDL, remotely monitors and manages the wireless network.
Remote monitoring currently detects the introduction of rogue access points, determines attempts to
breach wireless security from inside or outside the enterprise, manages throughput by increasing
and decreasing power and signal strength to access points as needed and maintains up/down and
performance status of all controllers and access points.
Wireless implementation provides many benefits to the end user; however, security concerns must
9. Network Convergence
What is Network Convergence?
ETS has been working over the past several years to
migrate the District’s network architecture and application
platforms to those that support the elimination of multiple
single-purpose networks in the Broward School IT
enterprise. This consolidation strategy is woven
throughout many of the other initiatives discussed
individually in this briefing packet. However, as an
overarching strategic initiative in its own right, it is
discussed in greater detail in this section.
Network Convergence is a broad term used to describe the merging of voice and data networks into a
single network. Specifically, Network Convergence describes the transition from separate circuit-switched
voice network and packet-switched data networks, to a single packet-switched network that can support
voice, video and data protocols. Network Convergence represents the efficient coexistence of telephone,
video and data communication within a single network.
What is the impact of Network Convergence on achieving District goals including
impact on customer service?
The use of multiple communication modes in a single network offers Broward Schools economy,
convenience and flexibility not possible with separate infrastructures. A Gartner Consulting Research
Study entitled “Key Issues for Enterprise Networking Infrastructure, 2008” states that:
The technology that will have the greatest impact on enterprise communications will
be delivered through the convergence of voice, video and data technologies. Although
the principal business impact will come from new and innovative applications, an
infrastructure that is unprepared for the demands of these new applications will
quickly negate any possible advantage. Understanding the emerging best practices
and standards in this rapidly moving area will enable an enterprise to build an
infrastructure that is ready to support emerging applications.
In addition to “future proofing” the District’s network for a world of converged applications, the most
immediate benefits are the cost savings associated with designing, building, managing, monitoring and
supporting a single network infrastructure that delivers voice, video and data services within and between
How does Network Convergence save the District money and other resources?
Each of the efficiencies listed above brings significant cost savings. Consolidation of physical networks in
new construction reduces costs. Centralized monitoring, maintenance and support of a single enterprise
network reduce both infrastructure and human resource support costs.
How does Network Convergence align with industry best practice?
ETS has been factoring convergence strategies into its design and procurement efforts for the past five
years. However, no attempt has been made to fork-lift systems that still deliver quality services and have
additional value that can be extracted from the District’s past network and systems investments. Gartner
Analyst Jay Lassman states:
Convergence will be the future of communications. Although current environments
should not be discarded, as you move forward, a converged alternative is the preferred
choice. Converged networks will be the common denominator for the support of voice,
data, and video communications and applications. Invest to provide a robust data
network infrastructure with the capacity to support current requirements, as well as
anticipated growth. In addition, R&D in traditional technologies — such as TDM private
branch exchanges (PBXs) — has effectively stopped, and only support of the technology
How does Network Convergence support the business in the future?
By embracing the concept of Network Convergence, ETS is investing in voice, data, and video systems that
can operate effectively in a unified network architecture. This approach will deliver both efficiencies of
economy (on the network design, build, and operations levels), and expanded opportunities (on the
application layer) for more fully integrated communication-enabled educational and business processes.
Current Status and Critical Challenges
Currently, voice systems, video surveillance and conferencing systems and HVAC maintenance systems
are being phased into the IP infrastructure. VoIP systems are being installed on 54 campuses and 59 more
are scheduled for 2009 E-Rate funding.
The innovations described in the preceding pages contain inherent challenges. The general challenges fall
into at least the four categories defined below. In addition to these, challenges specific to each initiative
are described in association with the initiatives themselves.
1. Human Resources: Organizational adjustments and training requirements must be studied and
accommodated for each ETS initiative. The design and deployment of a technological capability
will always be accompanied by a range of human resource decisions.
2. Executive Leadership: As with any change in IT service delivery, executive leaders must be able to
understand and articulate, at a high level, the basic technology and, more importantly, the benefit
it is designed to deliver. Their assistance is needed in addressing project articulation and framing
operational accommodations required of schools and departments as changes are made to
systems. Their leadership is key to the effectiveness of an implementation and the realization of
3. Technical: As the core, network infrastructure is called upon to transport and deliver more
services, and as the requirements for its reliability increase, technical resources need to be shifted
from traditional single-purpose networks to the multi-function core network and to delivery of
4. Monetary: While Broward Schools has much of the core infrastructure in place to support the
initial adoption of network convergence, ETS will be seeking funds related to the replacement of
aging equipment with new network equipment and systems that build on industry standards and
best practices to support all initiatives critical to enabling world class instruction.
ETS expresses its gratitude to Mr. Paul Del Prete and Mr. John Wilkinson of JDL Technologies for the
tremendous assistance they provided in preparing this document.