[K12OSN] Anyone quantified savings using LTSP?

Jim Kronebusch jim at winonacotter.org
Tue Jan 29 17:22:59 UTC 2008

On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 11:25:19 -0800, Bill Moseley wrote
> I've seen a few use-cases where some claims are made on cost savings
> using LTSP.  I'm curious if anyone here has looked at this recently at
> their own schools.

Well, for us, Windows isn't even an option to compare.  With all the problems with
Viruses and Spyware and such, we won't even consider that route.  We have always been a
mac school in the past.  Macs are nice, and there are ways to admin them with NetBoot
and stuff to simplify things, but hardware replacement/repair has always been costly. 
So I can just give simple numbers that helped me convince administration of the switch.
 Say we went with the Mac Mini, and MS Office, plus the warranty extension (Macs like to
fail at around 1 year with my experience, so the 90 day warranty doesn't cut it).  Then
you buy a 17" monitor from another vendor because no school can afford Apple monitors,
here our 17" monitors with built-in speakers were $180.  This will bring you to about
$1000 with the basic configuration.  So for the 108 clients we put in, we would spend
$108,000 without any extra software besides MS Office and the iLife.  So if students
wanted to work with Photoshop, Typing software, etc, that would be extra as well.

Our thin clients cost a total of $336. 

DevonIT 6020p
17" Planar monitor with speakers
Logitech Keyboard & Optical mouse

Our server which is a Dual Quad Core (8 cores) 2.66Ghz w/1333Mhz FSB, 16GB RAM
expandable to 32GB, six 300GB SAS 3Gbps drives, six 1GB NIC's, was about $12,000.

So our total for 108 thin clients, and the power to handle more, was $48,000.  So bottom
line we saved $60,000 up front.  Now add the additional software, the central
administration, the lower power consumption of the thin clients, the longer life cycle
of hardware with no moving parts (with the exception of a cooling fan), and the fact
that the thin clients will have a longer useful life before being outdated (estimated
6yrs compared to 3yrs for a standalone desktop), and your cost savings is much larger.

And for those who don't need to save money, we could have installed 216 clients with all
the above mentioned benefits for less than 108 macs.

This is the benefit of what can be obtained once you get past the Windows/Apple huggers.
 We still have a 22 computer multimedia lab for our graphical arts classes which uses
Apple eMac's and proprietary software.  We still have Windows machines in the
administration offices to work with proprietary software.  So everything has its place,
but we have gotten smart on cost where we can, and have increased the software offerings
to students with no additional costs.  And soon they will be able to use their school
desktop from home, for free, another savings compared to Windows or Mac.


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