Proven Performance

VMware- Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Case Study

Customer Profile

  • Industry: Education
  • Type: Mathematics and Science Academy
  • Level: Secondary Education (HS)
  • Location: Illinois
  • Technical Category: Data Center
  • IT status: Hyperconverged Solution- VDI

The Challenge

One of the top-ranked high schools in the U.S. — the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) in Aurora, Illinois — has prepared for the rapidly changing times and its own future growth by employing VMware for its digital infrastructure.


Not surprisingly, connectivity and data management are in huge demand at the school. The IT staff is always managing the increasing needs of students, which, in the past required time for the building of new servers. Previously, IMSA’s Data Center was also limited by the available power and network-ports. IMSA had to reduce the provision time of servers and increase the opportunity for more failover (use of standby equipment meant to protect system loss).


It was time for a new infrastructure solution. Terry Jones, the Academy’s Senior Systems Engineer/Engineering Manager, says that they “looked at Linux’s KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machines) and QEMU (a hosted virtual machine monitor), but neither seemed to scale like VMware.” IMSA also ruled out Hyper-V, preferring VMware with its underlying operating Linux based system.

The Solution

“We bought a license and demoed the VMware product, knowing then that we had right solution to start our virtualization journey. Without VMware, we likely would have been in a different and difficult place today — with bare-metal server sprawl or too many services on one server, all due to limitations in our data center.


Sterling Consulting analyzed IMSA’s technical requirements based on hardware in use. Jones says, “Sterling provided critical input on how to make the VMware configuration better and provided the expertise we needed to take us to the next level in VMware infrastructure.”


IMSA now benefits from functionality like vMotion, storage vMotion, failover capabilities, hot-add disk space, while reducing IMSA’s server-provisioning time, allowing room for expansion, and enabling servers to overcome limitations of network ports and power.


While working with Sterling on the VMware infrastructure, IMSA chose to add VMware’s VSAN, “which gave us the ability to scale storage and to compute from a single platform. From there we have been able to simplify provisioning and management, as well as be agile when it comes to changes and demand for storage. This, in turn, has meant a lower total cost of ownership.”

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