I recently helped a large school system make an epic move to newer server technology: Its Active Directory infrastructure was more 10 years old, and I had to switch it to newer hardware and completely migrate it onto the latest versions of Windows Server and Active Directory.
In the process, I would enter classroom after classroom to discover why migrations weren't occurring smoothly. Typically it was because in many of these classrooms we were dealing with junk -- systems that had been beat up badly over their lifetime, running (barely, in most cases) Windows XP and on their last legs. It was sad to think of young minds of tomorrow clicking away on these dinosaurs. Even worse, throughout the world are classrooms that would love to have an XP dinosaur to click away on.
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It may not always be possible to provide a new system, but with Windows MultiPoint Server, you can provide a modern desktop experience for all students. The production version of MultiPoint Server 2011 should be available by April, but there's a release candidate now available to try. In a nutshell, MultiPoint Server allows for a VDI session for as many as 20 connections through a single PC.
Microsoft is promoting it for classrooms, labs, and libraries. The savings comes in with the fact that you don't need to provide full computers for everyone who connects; each user requires only a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. The main system shares its resources with the other users through a Windows 7 interface.
MultiPoint Server 2011 is the newest version of this largely unknown product. Its worthwhile new features and enhancements include the following:
Support for RDP-compatible clients. Systems that are RDP-compatible (like those old Windows XP systems you can't get rid of) can connect to the MultiPoint Server. It supports thin clients, laptops, and netbooks as well. Thin clients that support RemoteFX should have a very rich remote multimedia experience.
Management of multiple servers from one location. If you have more than one MultiPoint server, you can manage them from one user interface.