SECURE DIGITAL WORKSPACE
The Institute of Higher Education “Vincenzo Moretti” was founded in 1968 in Roseto degli Abruzzi (TE) initially as the site of an Institute of Teramo. It began with a Technical Sales course, and has expanded gradually and steadily over the years to also have courses for Surveyors, Accountants Programmers, IPSIA, and the most recent for Technical and Tourist Operator and Technical Clothing and Fashion. The IIS Moretti is now one of the most important schools of the province of Teramo and Abruzzo, relying on a faculty of about 90 units and about 1,000 students.
The world of work in his competitive nature requires people highly prepared both from a theoretical point of view and with practical mastery of all tools that are normally used in the enterprise.
In order to be able to train students to face the best career path after school, a fundamental aspect of the technical colleges of education is to be able to provide them with the best equipped laboratories to help and support teaching, and where students can practice to master the professional software reference.
This requirement often clashes with the constraints of the budget that the world of Education State often face and that often prevent its realization.
The Institute Moretti needed to renew some computer labs and provide updated tools to students. The PC workshops needed to meet the needs of both courses programmers and surveyors, and for students of fashion and apparel; the latter two types require intensive applications like CAD (Computer Aided Design). The initial choice was to replace the old with the new PC Workstation graphics. This solution would not, however, solve the problems that these machines would have to serve different types of students, also problems related to the management and maintenance of PCs that often have to be reconfigured as a result of changes introduced by students during laboratory hours and that often compromise the operation. Also this solution would continue the link between the student and the machine that provides the service, greatly limiting flexibility.
The partners, Dataone, proposed a completely different solution based on desktop virtualization using Citrix XenDesktop. In particular, the technology HDX 3D Pro with virtualization in multi-user graphics cards (vGPU) would allow, using Nvidia Grid K1 installed in the data center, a sufficient number of workstation graphics for virtual laboratories.
Using virtual desktops was initially dismissed by the Institute because of the technological limitations of graphics workstations: having a physical graphics card for each virtual workstation or a shared multi-use graphical resources but without being able to use the original driver and certified by the virtual machines. The unique technology developed by Citrix vGPU along with Nvidia has made it possible to overcome these limits, making it convenient for the Institute using a virtualized infrastructure.
The project has been highly appreciated by the management of the Institute because, in contrast to the traditional solution with physical workstations, with a multitude of software components, limiting the need for new hardware to servers only; This has allowed us to make the project economically attractive due to high discounts applied by the producers (particularly Citrix and Microsoft) on their software products for educational institutions.
The goal was to achieve 50 graphics workstations that could be used in at least two classrooms and if necessary also in another location connected with the main deck through a dedicated radio.
The two classrooms mainly involved were equipped with obsolete PC’s but still for the most part functioning. The non-functioning machines have been replaced thin client, while Windows operating system ThinPC has been installed on the other PC’s allowing them to become real terminals.
Using wireless coverage achieved allows connection thanks to the implementation of Citrix NetScaler, even from outside the Institute, for example, allowing students to complete their work from home.
The Dataone all'acceso also supported the Institute of Education with various software programs (Citrix, Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk).
Graphics horsepower is achieved with the use of the Nvidia graphics cards Grid K1, while the virtual machines have been made with the Citrix Machine Creation Services so that each time a Virtual Machine is restarted it returns to the initial state, guaranteeing functionality and performance tune-ups during configuration.
With this solution, the Institute has provided its students laboratories similar to those found in the world of work, on which they can exercise in a flexible way, using the terminals within that house.
Another advantage is the fact that there is no longer the need to separate laboratories (e.g. laboratory Surveyors or laboratory template) because the student is provided the ideal working environment (at both the operating system and software present) based on authentication regardless of that location it is using, allowing the Institute to optimize resources.
The fact that the workstations are virtual allows its use in the other seats of the Institute, in the case of traditional solution with physical machines, or the purchase of workstations or costly and impractical transfers of students in the hours dedicated to laboratories.
It also reduced costs related to the management of virtual machines as workstations are all equal and aligned with each other, the update or the implementation of a software is done centrally and made available on all workstations in a matter of minutes and the physical locations have been reduced to only the role of terminals whose configuration cannot be changed by the user and, in case of failure, they can easily be replaced even with the thin client.
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