Butler Technical School Learns the Value of Nutanix Hybrid Cloud

Nutanix Platform Enables Ohio’s Largest Vocational School to Simplify Infrastructure Management, Cut IT Costs, and Improve the Educational Experience for 18,500 Students


Technical Education


  • Reduced infrastructure management time using single pane of glass interface
  • Eliminated downtime for mission-critical applications
  • Saved a significant portion of the IT budget by eliminating unnecessary hypervisor licenses and retiring outdated storage arrays
  • Enabled the IT team to work on new technology projects
  • Increased the educational opportunities for all students


  • 3-tier infrastructure was difficult and time-consuming to manage
  • IT costs were accelerating
  • Students were only able to access their technical projects from inside the classroom


  • Nutanix Hybrid Cloud
    • Nutanix AHV
    • Prism management plane
    • Nutanix Frame  - DaaS
    • Nutanix Flow security feature
  • SQL databases

Nutanix has completely changed the nature of my job as an IT director by streamlining infrastructure management, but more importantly, it increases our ability to deliver valuable new technologies to all of our vocational school students.

– Robert Wilkerson, Assistant IT Director, Butler Tech


Butler Tech is a joint vocational school located in the Fairfield Township of Southwestern Ohio. The school provides career technical education to thousands of students in grades 7-12, as well as adult education classes for individuals who have earned their high school diplomas or GED. Butler Tech now offers more than 40 career-focused programs, including welding, HVAC, nursing, police officer, firefighter, and paramedic training classes.

“We provide technical training to more than 18,500 students in our school district,” noted Robert Wilkerson, Butler Tech’s assistant IT director. “Five of the campuses are actually our own ─ two are used exclusively for adult education and three for middle school and high school students. In addition to supporting our five dedicated facilities, our team also brings devices out to 56 school classrooms in the Butler County School District, where teachers can use the laptops and servers to train different groups of students every day.”

Wilkerson and his team of 11 IT professionals are currently responsible for managing over 7,000 end points and 200 virtual servers for the school’s various technology training programs. “Managing all of the separate servers, storage arrays, networking equipment, and switches was very time-consuming,” said Wilkerson. “With a relatively small IT team, we clearly needed a technology solution that was easier to deploy and maintain.”


Butler Tech made the decision to refresh its IT environment six years ago. “I really liked the concept of hyperconverged infrastructure,” noted Wilkerson. “I had been watching Nutanix for several years and was impressed with their HCI product offerings. After checking a few customer references and speaking to some of our colleagues, it became clear that Nutanix was the right choice for our upgrade.”

Growing the Nutanix Footprint

Butler Tech started the upgrade project six years ago with the purchase of three Nutanix nodes. They added five additional nodes the following year and purchased a second full cluster in 2021 to accommodate the increasing demand for the school’s technology programs. “The number of students we serve is increasing every year, but our biggest growth is in the number of applications our technical users want to access,” explained Wilkerson. “In the 11 years I’ve been here, we haven’t added any staff. Nutanix enables us to keep pace with growth without having to add any more IT personnel.”

Butler Tech is now running all of its workloads on the Nutanix Hybrid Cloud infrastructure, including the school’s Active Directory servers, DHCP, MS SQL databases, network monitoring systems, camera systems, licensing servers, a survey server, badge printing servers, ADFS infrastructure, remote-control systems, and all of the services that run in the school’s DMZ.

Moving from vSphere to AHV

Butler Tech’s IT team has already migrated the school’s backup datacenter from VMware vSphere hypervisor to Nutanix AHV. They are now planning to move the school’s primary datacenter over to AHV later this year. “Once we get everything migrated over to AHV, we will work on replication,” explained Wilkerson. “Right now, we replicate everything to our backup datacenter so we can restore it to that cluster if we need to, but we aren’t doing replication between the two clusters at this time. That’s high on the list of projects we hope to tackle in the coming year.”


Simplified Management with Prism Central

Butler Tech is using Prism Central, Nutanix’s multi-cluster manager, to manage both of its Nutanix clusters from a single pane of glass. “Prism Central made it really easy to right-size our machines,” said Wilkerson. “The centralized management interface also made it a lot simpler to manage our systems during the Covid Pandemic when we all had to work remotely.”

Simple, One-Click Upgrades

“Updating the BIOS on the hosts or moving from ESX 5 to ESX 7 used to involve a set of time-consuming and difficult processes,” said Wilkerson. “The simplicity of the Nutanix platform has eliminated all of the ‘babysitting’ we had to do with our 3-tier systems, and we really like Nutanix’s one-click upgrades. With Nutanix, I can kick off an upgrade in the morning and then go work on other projects all day long.”

Non-Disruptive Maintenance

Wilkerson also values the ability to perform system maintenance and upgrades without disrupting any of the school’s students. “Our school is open seven days per week,” he explained. “The high school classes are held weekdays, and our adult classes run until 11pm every night, including weekends. As a result, we don’t have a maintenance window where we can perform upgrades when everyone is off-line. With Nutanix, we can update the clusters during the day and nobody notices the difference.”

Higher Reliability and Uptime

“We did have a few outages before Nutanix,” admitted Wilkerson. “Whenever a server would go down, our students couldn’t finish their projects on time.  Since moving to Nutanix, we’ve had zero downtime. The Nutanix stuff just works! Other than a major Internet outage from our ISP, we know that our Nutanix systems will always be good to go.”

Cutting Costs

Butler Tech was also able to reduce its IT expenditures by moving to Nutanix. “We were able to save a lot of money on datacenter footprint and power by getting rid of the old storage arrays,” said Wilkerson. “We will also be saving a significant amount on our VMware licenses going forward. Since we are using AHV, I can drop those expensive VMware renewal contracts now.”

Using Flow to Increase Security

Butler Tech started using Nutanix Flow last month at its backup datacenter. Nutanix Flow is a security feature which allows for firewall-type protection at the VM layer. “We don’t have Flow in our primary datacenter yet, but we do have it at our secondary site,” explained Wilkerson. “Flow definitely increases security and helps us protect our systems from cyberattacks. We are planning to add Flow to our primary datacenter very soon.”

Receiving Outstanding Support

“Nutanix support is excellent,” admitted Wilkerson. “They always go the extra mile to help us out. With most of our vendors, I have to go through several tiers of support to get my questions answered. With Nutanix, I always get to the right person with the necessary technical knowledge immediately. Nutanix also provides me with a deeper level of information than other companies’ support lines. They don’t just tell me just what button to press or box to check to fix the problem ─ they take the time to explain why that fix works. The in-depth information they provide has enabled me to learn and grow as an IT professional.”


Implementing Frame

Butler Tech is now running a pilot installation of Frame, Nutanix’s desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solution. Frame provides the ability to access applications and desktops on any device and from any location. Wilkerson is planning to deploy at least 200 Frame seats later this year, mostly for the school’s engineering, digital media, and graphic design students that need to access high-performance applications that won’t run on Butler Tech’s standard classroom laptops.

“I did run some Horizon View desktops on the Nutanix cluster to get us through the end of school last year, but we’re now looking at Frame as a more powerful solution for our high-end lab machines,” said Wilkerson. “Currently, students only have 1-2 hours a day to work on their projects. With Frame, they can continue to work at home or from anywhere they choose. Frame will also enable us to provide resource equity, meaning our students will get the same experience regardless of which device they are working on. This will be a huge win for us as well as our students.”

Providing Better Educational Opportunities

“Nutanix has simplified infrastructure management to the point where we can now delve into VDI and security without worrying about the underlying hardware,” said Wilkerson. “Nutanix has completely changed the nature of my job as an IT director by streamlining infrastructure management, but more importantly, it increases our ability to deliver valuable new technologies to all of our vocational school students. With access to more technical programs, their job prospects are even greater than before.”