SEABROOK, N.H., Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Focus Technology Solutions, the increasing use of tablets and smartphones by students is the driving force behind the rapidly growing deployment of VDI - desktop and application virtualization - in higher education, as well as in the K–12 environment. In response to the "bring-your-own-device" phenomenon, college and university IT administrators are turning to VDI as a practical, proven solution to reduce operational expenditures and ease the workload on IT staff.
"Students require specialized applications for class or lab work, and there is the potential for the applications to change with each new class or lab. This increases the workload on the IT staff, which results in higher operating expenses," said Erik Masci, VP of Operations for Focus. "With VDI we have seen clients' support costs and manpower requirements drop significantly. For example, one of our clients saw its trouble ticket volume dramatically decline with initial deployment of virtualized desktops. Other studies have shown that virtualization can reduce operational and support costs by as much as 66%."
Virtual Desktops Offer Flexibility for Changing Classroom Applications
Virtualization also provides colleges and universities with flexibility to easily repurpose desktops for new applications, such as changing a science lab into an English lab or an engineering lab. With a dedicated virtual desktop, it's simply a matter of allowing the student to access the new course application image. Virtualization also helps to restrict the ability of students to download malware or viruses.
"VMware is focused on solving two major concerns in education - students demanding the freedom to use their favorite computing device on campus, and administrators looking for a solution that reduces the burden on the help desk," said Dan Sullivan, VMware Territory Manager. "VMware View provides students with secure, easily accessible virtual desktops, and school IT support staffs see the benefit of a substantial reduction in help desk calls."
"Thanks to the excellent level of knowledge and support from Focus, our move to VDI has been very successful," said Steve Swartz, CIO and Assistant VP of Fitchburg State University. "Our administrative staff is now much more productive, desktops are easier to manage and the load on our help desk has been greatly reduced. Rather than having to travel around the campus to install patches or firmware, we can remotely manage virtual desktops from our data center. In addition, we've seen a 50% drop in the number of trouble tickets after virtualizing 200 desktops in our library and podium systems, and we look forward to continuing improvements as we expand the program to 1000 desktops."
Focus's User Acceptance Testing Program Offers Hands-On Virtualization Experience
Focus is addressing this market demand with a consultative methodology that addresses the specific variables of virtual desktop adoption while reducing potential risks. Working with college and university IT administrators, Focus consultants identify the key functions to be virtualized and the success criteria.
A key to Focus's methodology is a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) program that provides users with first-hand experience with an actual virtual desktop and selected applications. The program includes a "UAT in a Box" which includes everything needed to test a VDI implementation. Focus provides services, support, equipment rental, licensing and evaluation for a trial period, typically two months long.
"We have found that the User Acceptance Testing program gives IT department heads a higher level of comfort," said Masci. "By implementing a small-scale, fully-operational VDI trial, colleges and universities can get a very accurate feel for the immediate and long-term benefits of desktop virtualization. Our success rate with colleges and universities has been very high, and we believe that the 'UAT in a Box' program is a major part of our success."
For more information on VDI in higher education, contact Focus at www.FocusOnVDI.com or 603-766-0000.
SOURCE Focus Technology Solutions