Does Manila save money?

Dan Mitchell
Wed, 2 Apr 2003 17:39:29 -0800

Well, I think I can help here!

I'm a faculty member at De Anza College, a two-year college in 
Cupertino, California. I have used Frontier (Manila, Radio) for a 
number of years though I was not able to get anyone at my college to 
understand these tools.

Finally about a year and a half ago a new IT admin came on-board and 
someone told her that she should talk to me about what I was doing with 
Manila. (Basically, I was running my own server and sharing Manila 
sites with about 20 other folks.)

I'll save you the full story of how she came around to seeing how 
Manila could work, but I do have to share one funny story. We were 
talking cost and I told her that the academic cost for Frontier is 
$299/year. She looked upset and said that would be way too much. Then I 
explained that this was the cost for a server that could handle 
hundreds of sites - not the cost for each seat - and she was astounded.

Anyway, before Manila we had about 30 faculty web sites - after about 5 
years of development and training. Three months after we began offering 
Manila sites and training we had over 150 sites. We now have well over 

The costs are incredibly low. In our case they are in the low to mid 
5-figure range. Costs broke out into the following areas:

	Project management - The college paid me a few thousand dollars
	to manage the startup of the project, since I have experience
	with Frontier/Manila AND with using the web (and related resources)
	for teaching.

	Consultant - We hired an outside consultant who is an expert in
	Frontier/Manila development to do most of the actual template
	design and customization of the backend.

	Server - We're running a fairly unexciting Windows box that
	cost a few thousand.

	Training - We used existing training staff (along with me) to
	create and offer two-hour training sessions for between a half-
	dozen and perhaps 25 people at a time. This is sufficient to
	get most users up to speed.

	Ongoing support - I receive a small monthly payment for
	continuing to consult and troubleshoot. One of our staff
	tech support people is also learning the Frontier environment
	and provides support.

All in all, this is WAY less costly that most of the other 
alternatives, particularly those designed specifically for education, 
e.g. Learning Management Systems.

Overall, we find that an integrated approach works nicely. We provide 
Manila sites for perhaps 80% of our faculty web users. We also provide 
traditional static server upload space for those who prefer it. And we 
support WebCT for those who really need an LMS solution.

You can visit our support site at Contact me at if you want more information.


On Wednesday, April 2, 2003, at 02:57  PM, kthomas wrote:

> I work at a university. Budgets are tight and getting tighter. No big 
> secret there. I'd still like to see the college that I am a part of 
> implement a manila server.
> Would you have a real world example how Manila has saved your company 
> or organization time and money that you could share with me? Around 
> here we always have to find out how everyone else is doing it before 
> we can choose a path.
> We, on the inside, all know Manila does great things and would be a 
> great benefit to our students. But, I'll never get the administration 
> to drop a couple of grand on a server unless it is really going to 
> save money by reducing work load or printing costs or streamlining 
> some process.


Dan Mitchell
Music Department | De Anza College
Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2000