Thursday, October 28, 2010

DDS For Education

As we move into the age of Information Technology, the education sector which includes elementary schools, high schools (middle school in Malaysia), colleges and universities knows that it is essential to teach students about the Information Technology so as to equip the students with sufficient IT knowledge. With this very reason, computer labs, libraries and classrooms using computers for teaching and learning are rapidly being setup by the education sectors for the students to utilise Information Technology for their studies. The benefit of using computers for teaching, like for example for an "E-Classroom" where the tutor and students are all using PCs instead of traditional text books and blackboards, students will be able study and understand better because it is more interactive compared to static information on the text books.
The Fact:
Setting up these computer labs and large amount of computers in a network environment can be a headache and troublesome job for the technicians, but when we think about it properly, the most complicated and difficult tasks only comes after that, which is the maintenance of all the PCs.
The Situation:
Picture a college which has 5 computer labs with 100 PCs each, another 100 PCs in the library, and 1 PC each in 50 Classrooms (the PC used for presentation by the lecturer), this totals up to an amount of 650 PCs.
The golden question lays here, how many technician or technical support staffs is required to maintain the condition (software wise) for those 650 PCs? Maybe a number of 10 to 20 of manpower might be enough, but again, will it be efficient to maintain the computers this way?
The Solution:
Are there any other solutions compared to the traditional way? The answer is YES and it is called DDS. How can DDS help? And how well can DDS work for the education sector? Firstly, instead of having 20 to 30 technicians troubleshooting the computers' software system each at a time, by using DDS, it is possible to have one technician doing the job of the 30 technicians. To make this statement clear, DDS utilizes a central management system. Whereby, all the data and programs are stored and run on a server while running on the 650 computers. This means, if a technician would like to install a new program for 650 PCs, he will only need to install the new program on the server, and the 650 units of PC will have that program installed. This is only one of the many benefits of DDS can offer.

Advantages of Running DDS in a School, College, Universities or Training Labs.
Diskless Solution.
All the computers will be running without hard disks as they are fetching data from the server instead of hard disks. The computers will still be able to run smooth because of our optimized network coding for DDS and in fact, the PCs will run faster because they are virtually benefiting RAID0 performance from DDS. Other than that, technicians would not have any headaches on hard disk warranty or hard disk replacements since the computers connected to DDS does not need any! Moreover, the computers will be able to have storage space of more than 1 Terabyte.
Recovery from virus and immunity.
By using DDS, computers in labs or libraries which are infected by viruses, mostly due to pendrives and malicious e-mails that students didn't realize, these viruses can be removed and have the PCs recover to its previous state with just a simple restart on that particular computer. This also applies to accidental software deletion by students or system errors made by students.
Application updates.
We all know that applications sometimes require to be updated; one of the most important updates for example would be the Windows operating system. Those Windows updates are very crucial as it fix security issues and bugs which allow viruses to attack your Windows operating system. And there are also other application updates which fix bugs and stability issues. With DDS, by updating just one computer, the other computers connected to DDS will receive the updates upon restart. In short, it is very efficient instead of doing repetitive jobs which the traditional way does it.
Software applications compatibility.
DDS is a very friendly system and it will go along well with any software you can think of. Here's a quick list of software that is usually needed for education purposes, Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, Photopshop, 3D applications and more. The best thing is, DDS can support Linux operating systems which are needed for some computer labs.
Drivers compatibility.
This will be no problem for DDS too as it can support different specifications computers attached to the network. The computer labs may use Dell PCs while the libraries are using HP PCs and still DDS system would still be able to run without any problems.
Zero Down Time.
Since DDS runs on more than one server (depending on how large the network environment is), there will be zero down time since the other servers will still be running and help boot up the other computers even if one of the server are down due to technical difficulties.

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