Mixed Client Base
While Children’s Miracle Network’s video production and communications team runs Macs, most of the remaining Children’s Miracle Network users run IBM ThinkPads. Not surprisingly, moving back and forth between systems isn’t always fluid. Case in point: At last year’s Children’s Miracle Network Celebration at Disney World, presentations ran smoothly on Mac G4 and G5 laptops; then someone tried to present on a ThinkPad, and a quick call over the radio for help from tech support ensued, Junium said. Whether it resulted from the tricky IT-less prospects of porting a Mac presentation to a PC or the Mac’s audio/visual superiority is unclear.
Issues have also surfaced in the day-to-day operations. “A lot of our people can’t even play the DVDs I make because their drives don’t have DVD players,” Junium said.
For the future, Children’s Miracle Network is looking to expand its editing facilities to include several Xserve G5 rack servers linked to additional Xserve RAID units, as well as to experiment with Apple’s newly announced Xsan software SAN solution. From a design perspective, he’d like to see the Xserve RAID device run slightly quieter. “The only complaint I have about the thing is [that] I think the fans are loud,” he said.
Children’s Miracle Network’s thriftiness pervades its technology strategy, extending to its data center real estate. Junium edits in the same room as the main server and storage unit, which explains why hearing the typical noise of server equipment day after day might bother him. “We feel as though we are living up to our mission statement, and our donors would be pleased with what we’ve gone and done,” he said. Using Macs for editing has saved $750,000, Junium estimates, over typical $500-per-hour external editing costs. Ultimately, this savings helps ensure donations get routed to where they belong: the children’s hospitals.