"When I grow up I want to do VDI in education...." .... Rachel aged 7, mother not forgiven for haircut!

30 years ago I was seven in class 3, I shared a red, miniature double-kiddy desk with little boy called Marc born the same week, Marc was the best in the school at rounders and super popular… I was rubbish at sport, liked maths and colouring! Thanks to facebook I still catch up with Marc…  a couple of weeks ago Marc was enthusing about his job working for UK virtualisation company Impero doing VDI for the education sector here in the UK…. I looked them up and what they do with Citrix and other partners (they are vendor neutral) ….. And then it struck me as super weird that two kids in an ordinary government primary school in an inner-city suburb in the UK’s second largest city (Birmingham, UK), with completely different skills and interests both ended up super passionate about VDI in education….. anyway this thought was ticking away on the back-burner ,when my friend and colleague Gaby Hoffman roped into last week’s XenServer masterclass webinar, with a special XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro plus NVIDIA GRID vGPU segment.

… virtualisation in the education crops up again

XenServer Master classes are live two hour webinars (a bit like a TV show with live presenters) where customers and partners can see product demos, learn about best practices and ask real engineers and solutions experts questions live about any aspect of the featured product. Plus all the Q&A is public so you can see and record what others ask giving you great ideas and feedback for your own deployments. It’s also a great way of getting a bit of free and instant support! After the webinars we always review the Q&A and publish enhanced detailed answers to common questions over the next few weeks, as Gaby started doing last week on her blog. We also pass feedback into development and documentation to improve the features and also information that the Q&A has revealed is hard to find.

Last week’s Masterclasses and the vGPU feature in particular attracted a lot of participants from educational establishments all over the World, it’s always fascinating watching the chat streams on our masterclasses to hear about other users volunteering their interest and usage:

  • A prestigious university in Switzerland considering Citrix as an alternative to Oracle VDI
  • An educational training center for adults in Burkina Faso (Africa) seeking advice on Citrix’s educational licensing
  • Our forum community leader, Tobias Kreidl was also very active during the webinar, Tobias is a sys. admin at Northern Arizona University and always ensures we consider educational users and ensures our forums are packed with advice for the educational sector, check them out here!

Real case studies of virtualisation in education

In the live chat stream of a masterclass we always respond to requests for whitepapers and case studies and during the review we realised we’d been asked for information about virtualisation and the benefits for both school and university institutions. So we thought it might be useful to consolidate the links sent out and add a little detail on a few of the case studies and videos we mentioned:

  • The University of São Paulo (USP) is the largest Brazilian university and the country’s most prestigious educational institution. USP is also the largest institution of higher education in Latin America, with 100,000 students, 6,000 professors and 17,000 employees. This video describes how they implemented a large scale cloud using Citrix CloudPlatform on XenServer: http://www.citrixsynergy.com/losangeles/synergytv/innovation-channel.html
  • Indiana University partnered with Citrix to provide on-demand application delivery to 100,000 students, staff and faculty on any device, anytime, anywhere (lots of Mac fans in Indiana!) http://www.citrix.com/customers/indiana_university_en.html
  • One of my personal all-time favourite Citrix deployments is ESA (Education Services America). This video is really worth watching. Educational Services of America (ESA) is the leading U.S. provider of alternative and special education programs for students at risk of dropping out and those with special needs.
  • For those that were interested in XenDesktop and NVIDIA vGPU accelerated 3-D/rich graphical application delivery in the education sector we recommended this very recent case study describing how Roger Williams University has already implemented vGPU to virtualise it’s architectural school’s software access for students and researchers. Masterclass’s are just one way we try to listen hard to our users, Roger Williams deployment was enabled by allowing them into a private beta we ran before the tech. preview of vGPU after they highlighted their need on this comment on my colleague Tim’s blog.
  • You can find hundreds of other real life Citrix deployments on our Customer Story site, here. And on our Innovation Award site where we recognise Citrix deployments doing amazing things.

…Final thoughts

After reviewing our case studies and listen to those real customers on the webinars, I came to the conclusion that virtualisation is just such a good match for educational uses that it is becoming the norm. There are millions of users and so really it isn’t strange that Marc and I ended up in similar jobs as the sector is now so large that there are simply an awful lot of us developing and designing these types of products and solutions needed.

Update: This is a personal blog and not a corporate Citrix recommendation (Impero are a Citrix Ready Partner though) but for those of you asking to contact Marc at Impero here in the UK then please do email him directly mgoodman@imperosoftware.com or check out Impero’s website http://www.imperosoftware.com/ – I’d rather avoid “when I grow up I want become Marc’s secretary!!!”