• January 16, 2024

Powering Through: Why Cloud is an Ideal Solution for Legacy Hardware

  • by Tim Rager

What would you do if an upcoming Microsoft change threatened to render 80% of your campus’s legacy computers obsolete?

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares. But that’s the exact issue Tim Rager faced as then CIO of Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon.

When Microsoft announced that it was outmoding Windows 10 (effective October 2025), Tim had no time to waste in dealing with his campus’s legacy equipment.

Maintaining a robust replacement plan for hardware and software can be challenging. But replacing 80% of the entire campus’s computers in one fell swoop wasn’t the answer.

As Tim shared in a recent guest post, cloud computing offered a better option in terms of solving the problem while meeting budget constraints.

New solutions for legacy hardware

For many colleges, budget is a primary concern. Smaller institutions and community colleges often struggle with funding, and departments may not upgrade equipment as regularly as they would like.

For Tim, Microsoft’s update meant that all the campus’s computers needed to be equipped with the right chip to run Windows 11. But out of 3,000 computers, only 20% were ready for that change.

After considering the budget limitations, Tim and his team determined that investing in cloud computing provided a better solution than investing in new computers. And it mitigated the risks from the Microsoft mandate.

When they settled on Amazon Web Services (AWS), they knew it was an ideal solution. But they struggled a bit with the implementation.

They reached out to Amazon, and their contact recommended Propeller.

Choosing the right virtual desktop solution for your technology

Propeller helped build the infrastructure to get Linn-Benton up and running in a fraction of the time. And, the virtual desktops did more than just fit the technology constraints of the school, they also made the grade for the students and staff.

For example, engineering students often need software like AutoCAD and SolidWorks to complete their coursework. These types of programs typically require very high-end hardware to function, and they also need licenses.

While institutions can shoulder that burden, students typically can’t. That left learners in a position where they either could not take classes until they could afford the technology to do the homework, or they’d need to do all their work on campus using the school’s computers.

So, the challenge becomes, how do you offer ALL students access to the technology they need to complete their coursework?

With Propeller’s solution, students and faculty gained access to the programs and environments they need to excel, from any device. It eliminated the constraint of coming to a physical computer lab or upgrading personal equipment.

Institutions often invest heavily in updating hardware. Tim said, “We probably spend between $300,000 to a half million dollars just in hardware every year.”

But as technology continues to evolve, it’s difficult to keep up. Virtual desktops help alleviate those concerns.

Wondering if Propeller is a good fit for your school?

Join us for our upcoming Webinar on February 21st at 12 pm eastern.

This free event is part of the  EDUCAUSE Industry Insights series. Moderator, David Yaskin will lead a lively discussion with panelists Natalie Montañez (UC Berkeley) and Tim Rager (Oregon State University).

Register today to hear about their real-world experiences, including best practices to implement, how to encourage faculty buy-in, the benefits and challenges, and so much more.

It’s a live webinar event and we encourage questions and participation. And don’t worry about taking notes. We’ll send a replay to all registrants after the event.

  • Other articles you might like