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How To Get E-rate discounts For VMware Horizon

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on December 11, 2014 by Emily A. Davidson

If you work in education and you’re considering a desktop virtualization project with VMware Horizon, E-rate funding is available to you. But, securing these discounts can be challenging. In this blog post I break down E-rate funding for VMware Horizon, who qualifies for it, and how to get it.

Why you should virtualize some (or all) of your academic desktops

From K-12 to universities and community colleges, IT leaders in education are seeking ways to improve learning and meet the needs of diverse student, faculty and alumni populations while controlling costs.

With that in mind, virtualization software allows for the creation of multiple virtual machines on a single server i.e. the virtual machines share the hardware of the server upon which the software is installed. Once virtualized, VMware Horizon View allows IT teams to centrally and securely manage the components of a student’s customized or standardized virtual desktop (the applications, data, and operating system) in the datacenter. Ultimately reducing the time and costs, associated with managing and maintaining an ideal one-to-one PC environment.

Want to virtualize with VMware Horizon? This is where E-rate funding comes in.

What is E-rate funding?

The Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), commonly known as “E-rate,” is administered by USAC under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It helps schools and libraries in the United States by providing discounts to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access.

How E-rate funding works

According to E-rate guide website Funds For Learning, to be eligible to receive discounts, a school or library must meet certain criteria. In general, elementary and secondary schools are eligible to receive discounts -including many private schools and religious schools. Public libraries and library systems can receive E-rate discounts, provided they meet the eligibility requirements of libraries.

Applying for E-rate funding isn’t simple and the USAC offers a flow chart of the full USAC application process for E-rate funding, as well as an overview of how you can take advantage of the E-rate competitive bidding process.

Who E-rate funding is for

SLED Education clients only in the US. Administrators and managers and IT guys who manage one school, an entire school district or university campuses.

Which VMware products qualify for E-rate?

VMware vSphere and VMware Horizon View qualify for E-Rate funding through the USAC.

How VMware Horizon and E-rate eligibility works

End-user workstation functionality (physical or virtual) is considered ineligible for E-Rate discounts. However, virtual desktop infrastructure software like Horizon does qualify under Category 2 because it contains eligible functionalites in the form of virtual switching, routing, and network interfaces (See page 5 of the 2015 Schools and Libraries Eligible Services List by the FCC).

Additionally, Horizon encapsulates a user’s entire OS and desktop environment within a virtual machine, so users login or download over a network. If you have a mixture of VDI and regular machines, advanced and enterprise versions of Horizon now include image management software, that give administrators a tool to manage applications that users access from both VDI deployments and traditional desktop machines.

What E rate covers for VMware Horizon

VMware Horizon Suite includes Horizon View. Approved cost allocations are below:

  • Academic VMware Horizon Suite – 12%
  • Academic VMware Horizon View – 12%
  • Academic Verizon Mirage  – 0%
  • Academic VMware Horizon Workspace – 0%

Maintenance and support SKUs will match the eligibility of the product. Upgrade SKUs will match the eligibility of the product to which the upgrade is made. Remember, Horizon View is eligible for Category 2 funding according to the 2015 Schools and Libraries Eligible Services List.

Read the FAQ for VMware Eligibility for E-rate.

What you should do right now – start backwards

So that was a lot of technology and eligibility requirements and regulatory stuff. What simple things should you do right now? Start with your end result and work backwards. First, don’t jump into research about hardware or the cheapest thin clients available.

You must make a few key decisions before you start this process:

  • What are you trying to accomplish? Virtualize desktop/application/device delivery etc.
  • What are you trying to manage? Resources/applications or both?
  • Where are your end users located? How will they connect to your infrastructure?

Once you answer those questions, narrow down the appropriate solution and research the compatible hardware you will need to support your requirements. Essentially you do not want to choose a platform and figure out how to support it, let your requirements bring the right platform to you.

Softchoice has dedicated VMware and Education sector specialists who know these processes inside and out – no matter what goal you are trying to achieve. When you’re ready for help, drop us a line, or a comment below.

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