updated 06:25 pm EST, Thu November 29, 2007
Iona College Mac switch
Iona College in New Rochelle, New York has long used Windows-based solutions for its various computer labs, and in March 2007, Chief Information Officer Joanne Steele filled an entire lab with 52 Intel-based iMacs in an effort to streamline maintenance and support issues. After 20 years of a PC-only environment, the decision was made to explore whether Apple's Mac OS and Boot Camp would be a valid option to provide the most cohesive multi-platform environment. In addition, the iMacs provided the peripheral benefit of having a small footprint and integrated security options such as a Kensington lock slot.
The institute assumed there would several months of down-time involved with the switch, but the IT team went from the planning stage to the final implementation in a few weeks. "We played with Boot Camp for about two or three weeks to make sure we knew how to manage our image -- which was really easy with Apple Remote Desktop -- then we just jumped in head-first," Dimitris Halaris says, vice provost for campus IT. "From concept to deployment was about a month. Everything has worked wonderfully to date, and we're really pleased with our decision."
Some of Apple's biggest naysayers ended up becoming its largest promoters within the campus. Many of the IT staff were reported as being hesitant and fearful, but that subsided when the idea was put into action, even provoking remarks of awe from staff members.
One of the largest concerns that Iona had to face was the possibility of increased support costs, but later realized that by using one machine to dual-boot all of the institute's student services, it would save money in the short- and long-term. Having the Mac side available for students in journalism and publishing disciplines also increased efficiency all around. The school was able to replace projector assemblies that normally cost upwards of $15,000 with two 24-inch iMacs.
Steele says that since the school began to use iMacs in its labs, the IT department has noticed a trend, with "professors from every department requesting that we buy more." Faculty at Iona College are anxious to continue the transition.
"Every year we evaluate what labs need to be replaced, and we do pricing among three vendors," notes Steele. "We look for the lowest-priced vendor who can provide the greatest solution. Clearly, Apple has won that contest fair and square this time around. And in the future, I suspect that Apple will continue to win."