Deakin University has completed a deployment of Citrix XenApp as a virtualised environment for student applications, and is now forging ahead with desktop virtualisation for certain staff.
The university previously allowed remote access to its learning management system and Office 365, but many course-specific applications were only accessible to students using on-site computer labs.
The decision to deploy XenApp followed a six-month pilot of full desktop virtualisation with Microsoft's RDS and around 400 students. It was used to gauge whether students were interested in remotely accessing platforms like AutoCAD and Eagle CAD.
The technology proved to be somewhat of a hit - the university found that while students were keen for remote access to applications, they didn't necessarily want a full desktop experience.
Deakin subsequently opted for Citrix's XenApp app virtualisation product following a tender process, and started rolling out the software to students on a school-by school basis from January this year.
“We saw what our users wanted, which was applications not a full desktop experience, so that’s why we piloted a remote app solution from Citrix instead of a desktop solution,” desktop team leader David Wyld said.
“Citrix ... ticked the boxes in terms of the number of clients we needed to support, so Macs, PC, tablets of all brands, and even things like Windows Phones.”
The university's desktop ICT services director Craig Warren said the peak load since the rollout was completed has been 40,000 students using the system.
The university is now working on deploying desktop virtualisation using XenDesk to selected staff.
Aside from being used for staff training, the virtualisation software will mean teaching staff who work more than job will now only need to carry around a single laptop.
“The use case we’re starting to deal with is we’ve got a lot of staff that work two jobs. They work for the university and a hospital as well,” Warren said.
“In the past, there was a good chance they would be given two laptops – one for the hospital and one for the university. And we’re working to give them a Citrix desktop that they can use while they’re at the hospital.”