Curtin University offers practical, internationally recognised courses that are designed with direct input from industry. The Labs across its campuses are critical areas as students prepare to graduate with the skills and knowledge they will need in the ever-changing global marketplace.
Jared Gleim, Manager of IT Asset Management at Curtin University’s Digital & Technology Solutions, says: “Every device and all technology we purchase has to underpin our student offerings”.
One of the University’s Labs – used by Screen Arts students for media presentations and video editing – was due for a planned three year lease cycle refresh. While nominally a simple exercise, there were both functionality specs to be met by the new Apple devices and physical space constraints to overcome. Crucially, it had to be completed in a timeframe that didn’t incur a costly leasing extension.
Replacing like for like of the existing 21” Macs was not an option as “Apple was changing its product line up and running down components and this would have limited our ability to keep the fleet operational. Also, a 256 SSD wasn’t enough, we needed at least 512. We were offered a 1TB fusion drive mixed with a traditional data drive to give us the speed and stability but I wasn’t willing to take on the risk of so many potential failure points,” Jared says.
Another issue complicating equipment choices for the Lab was the size of each desk. The next step up 27” device would have provided the functional capacity but was too large for the desks.
At this critical decision making time, Apple announced the new M1 processors and Curtin decided to wait for the release of a 512SSD iMac.
The problems of device availability and the inevitability of OS and software compatibility issues were further complicated by pressure for the Lab deployment to be undertaken in the specific timing of the July mid-year semester break. The leases expired at end July with the
next break in late November.
“We were up against having no control over the release of the new OS. Without delivery we would have had to pay for lease extensions or reduce seats – and we must avoid any
negative impact on the uni’s reputation. We were also facing Covid lockdowns. It was a nail biting time,” Jared says.