Computer Lab Planning

Plan funding for a replacement cycle of 3-4 years

As equipment ages, parts become more expensive and difficult to find. Vendors cease to make or support their hardware. Maintenance contracts become too expensive to be cost effective. Down time can be excessive. Drivers for hardware are no longer updated yet software continues to change and new drivers are required or hardware becomes flakyy.

Plan funding to keep Operating System (OS) up to date

Hackers are continuously creating new threats to computers. Bugs in software can also create havoc if patches are not installed. All computers need to be patched and kept up to date with virus checkers. If the OS is not kept up to date, vendors abandon support. The OS must be kept at District standard level.

Plan funding to keep application software up to date

An inventory of software and its revision is useful for tracking renewal cycles. Applications must run on the latest OS. If software applications are not kept up to date with hardware and OS changes, eventually they do no perform properly (e.g. they stop printing, viewing properly, networking etc.)

Plan funding for lab upgrades; hardware, software, infrastructure, etc

New applications and hardware may require faster infrastructure or greater bandwidth.

Plan funding for special maintenance contracts

Software and hardware require support from vendors. Very often these developers are the only source for fixes. Most vendors will not research a problem with an end user without a contract in place.

Plan physical security

If you are creating a lab from used computers, plan funding for parts and replacement within 1 – 2 years depending on the age of the computer when you receive it. All above practices still apply.

Plan funding for other staff

Students will need assistance and the equipment will malfunction. Often a reboot or a simple procedure can get the computer back in operation without disturbing the entire class. Communication with IT staff can be facilitated if an IA is in the lab. Security is also improved greatly when someone is responsible.