Education is a priority for the Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Council. To encourage academic success, the institution invests in the improvement of the educational environment and in particular in new technologies. Since early 2010, documentation and information centers (CDI), classrooms and boarding of the 87 public high schools in the region are gradually equipped with thin clients, virtualized on Citrix XenDesktop. With this solution, the resources - operating system, applications, user profile and data - are issued in the form of a service: the whole is managed by the RDI Group, an Elite Citrix partner features which has extensive experience in the education sector.
Michel Massol, Head of Educational Support Service to the Directorate of Education of the Regional Council, and as such responsible for the computer equipment of schools, explains his approach: “I know how it is difficult and expensive to maintain a traditional PC fleet in schools. That is why I have sought a solution that allows us to provide a working tool that we can be sure works and can be maintained professionally.”
Is it necessary to have powerful computer to surf the web? Indeed, students mainly focus on multimedia applications, Internet searches and standard office, which consume little computing power. The PC equipment plan that was set up in 2005 in the Languedoc-Roussillon schools, had to be adapted: some PCs were oversized in relation to what it was used for.
Hence Michel Massol decided to base the composition of computer equipment on its actual use. “We decided to us PCs for courses that use powerful 3D graphics software such as AutoCAD or Inventor software or special disciplinary and installed in CDI. In addition, passive terminals due to their operation are less exposed to theft or damage, so we can let them free without special protection service.”
The tender led to the choice of the Citrix XenDesktop virtualization solution mainly for the following reasons:
In addition, virtualization with Citrix XenDesktop offers users Windows desktops as an on-demand service, this concept comes into its own with the hosting of the solution by the RDI Group and centralizing servers. It is also an advantage for the IT team has to prove to the students and teachers that the tools that work.
In early 2011, more than 3200 terminals were deployed in schools in the Languedoc-Roussillon Region. After an adjustment period, teachers and students have embraced this new tool that offers them, permanently, performance and availability.
The benefits are tangible:
“Since the deployment of the first thin client Citrix XenDesktop, we have enjoyed a high level of service, including security since all the conditions imposed by the Ministry of Education regarding the protection of minors were complied with,” remarked Michel Massol. “One year after the start of the operation, we have 600 simultaneous connections. It is encouraging. At the end of 2010, we set up a printing solution for schools and we are currently testing the operation of Citrix interactive video projectors. This will allow us to provide teachers in every classroom, a computer workstation connected to a video projector and using digital resources working environment that has been deployed across all high schools in the Region September 2010.
At the beginning of September 2011, the Languedoc Roussillon Region will be the first region to provide all students a free second laptop to be connected to the ENT.
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