Models for funding hardware

05-11-2021 08:58 AM
Occasional Contributor

Apologies if this has been covered recently elsewhere - I did search.....

Our campus' dedicated GIS and Remote Sensing computer lab (10 high performance workstations used for both teaching and research) has been in existence since 1998.  Funding hardware replacements has been a haphazard exercise of requesting money from disparate sources.  Once again, the lab is in need of a hardware update and I've been tasked with budgeting for the new PCs.

I am curious to know how other mid-size universities fund routine hardware upgrades?  Is it a line item in someone's budget?  Lab fees?  Is this model of having a dedicated physical computer lab space for geospatial technologies totally out of date?

Based on  a webinar last week (esri), I sensed many / most campuses have their IT department build a virtual lab, rather than using this (antiquated ?) option of replacing PCs every 5 years or so.  For these virtual labs, how do IT depts. fund / recapture the costs they incur for supporting GIS / Remote Sensing? 

Do students taking GIS / Remote Sensing classes, and researchers using these technologies, then rely on their personally owned computers (or other campus computer clusters with potentially even older hardware) to access the virtual lab?

Thank you in advance for any advice / recommendations / references to white papers / etc.

1 Reply
New Contributor II

Hi Lynn,

At my college we have a 3 year rolling hardware upgrade plan. We replace 1/3 of the 25 GIS Lab computers each year.  But we have been warned that this is unsustainable and will be moving to a Bring Your Own Device model over the next few years.  I am trying to figure out the best way to implement this and considering some kind of VM-Ware environment, but stymied at the budgeting and implementation of this.   

How are other VM enable colleges and universities doing this?  Is it costly, how is it budgeted, etc.  When I forwarded some of the Blog Discussions and Whitepapers to the IT dept., they just about flipped out on who was going to fund this, monitor, get it going, etc.

I'd be interested in discussing this with someone who has already gone there.  I know it was discussed at some length in last years Education Summit.