Victoria Education inks Australia's largest Vista deal

Schools receive state-wide hardware and software refresh

The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has signed the biggest Vista deal in Australia, which will renew its Microsoft deployment to 1600 schools and offices.

The $23 million three year deal covers Microsoft product licensing for 164,000 devices and accompanies a hardware refresh that begins in 2008.

The department will use the latest Microsoft software under the contract including Office 2007, Sever 2008 and Vista along with SQL Server, Exchange and graphical and Web design products among others.

A Department state-wide hardware refresh is concurrently underway, seeking a single vendor to deploy Microsoft-compatible desktops, laser printers, switches, Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPSs) and a variety of storage severs and backup applications for student and family data.

The hardware will be installed across department schools over the five months from April 2008, and will replace the systems supporting the CASES21 (Computerised Administrative System Environment in Schools) platform.

The platform is a customised hardware, application and operation environment derived from the commercial Maze school application, and provides staff with data entry and reporting modules to support school administration and finance functions.

Two additional vendors will get a bite at the hardware deal following initial deployment as a supplier panel for ongoing hardware requirements.

About 40,000 staff using school desktops, notebooks and servers will have access to Vista, Enterprise Office 2007, Visio, Project, Expression Web, Windows Server, SQL Server, and Exchange Server.

A spokesperson for the department could not confirm if it will stave off Vista roll out until the release of operating systems' first service pack.

Commander, who won the licensing contract, will also manage the IPEX@Schools Web site which provides Microsoft software CDs and helpdesk support to users under the deal.

The Department's approximately 540,000 students will also be able to purchase a range of software at significantly reduced prices.

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