University of Western Sydney eyes desktop virtualisation

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University of Western Sydney eyes desktop virtualisation

Appetite for technology attracts new IT director.

The University of Western Sydney's newly appointed director of IT services plans to pilot a fully virtualised desktop environment for staff and students across the institution's six campuses.

The university had previously explored some virtualised applications but Kerry Holling, former CIO of HP Australia and the consolidated NSW Department of Family and Community Services, hoped to implement full desktop virtualisation by the end of next year.

The environment would ultimately allow the university to explore delivering applications to student devices and remote access to dry labs. A similar concept has also been flagged by Macquarie University.

Holling took up the university job in July after veteran CIO Mick Houlahan retired.

Prior to the virtualisation project, he said he had to first grasp the "decentralised" decision-making structure of the university, across both his own IT teams and the differing faculties.

"It requires a lot more consultation and collaboration across the university in order to get agreement as to which path we should take," the former public servant said.

He said he would look to implement the ITIL compliance framework to reform IT management at the university as a first step.

Holling commended the university's network infrastructure design connecting six campuses spread across Sydney's fringe suburbs but said the university still needed to get a hold of the diversity of devices held by students and staff.

"I think the old approach of trying to lock down a standard operating environment is just not sustainable," he said.

"As you can imagine, it's pretty hard to control in terms of the student population."

Holling said he was attracted to the university job because of its "appetite to invest in IT". Leadership changes had not dampened the university's IT budgets so far, he said.

"It recognises that in order to be an attractive place not just for staff but to be able to attract students, to be able to attract researchers, we need to be an IT-enabled operation," he said.

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