The Peruvian University of Applied Sciences was founded in 1994 in the city of Lima, the capital of Peru. It has a solid commitment to the development of the country through quality education and at the highest international level.
Its mission as a university is to form well-rounded and innovative leaders with a global vision so that they might transform Peru, an objective that we have been achieving for the nearly 20 years of the university's existence. Since 2004, the University has belonged to Laureate International Universities, the largest network of private universities in the world. This provides their students with the opportunity to study in excellent institutions of higher learning throughout the world.
It has more than 13,000 graduates and more than 30,000 students in regular undergraduate (39 fields), adult undergraduate (working adult) and postgraduate programs. It has three campuses in different areas of the capital, with which they seek to decentralize their academic activities and make high quality education available to more youth in the country.
The Peruvian University of Applied Sciences has three campuses in the city of Lima. One is located in the San Isidro district, another in the town of Monterrico, and, lastly, the Villa Campus in the town of Chorrillos.
Its students develop their academic careers with the strong support of technology since the University offers a service at the vanguard of the ABC1 sector, which requires facilities such as the availability of labs and applications through the Internet.
"We conceptualize that students and faculty could access the software for the material for which they are authorized from any place in the world. That is something new in Peru, and we are supported by the past experience of the Laureate international network that we belong to, as is the case of the European University of Madrid," explains Henry Longa Alegría, IT Services Manager of the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences.
Among the challenges that the project presented, one of the most important questions was the availability of applications so that students and faculty could work. Given the fact that the available software licenses of the physical labs were not being fully used, the opportunity consisted of making the best use of those licenses, facilitating their use by means of the Virtual Laboratories service, taking into account concurrent use and control of the license limits that UPC has. This ultimately represented a compelling practice of efficiency in the use of resources.
"We must be careful with the investment and at the same time offer the greatest number of free practice hours, maximizing the availability of the applications that we have for the students and professors," adds Henry Longa Alegría.
To resolve its operating challenges, the University initiated the project of virtualizing its applications with the objective of widening their availability for students and professors anywhere in the world.
"We initiated a project that will last for three years. In the first stage, we are building virtual laboratories through the virtualization of applications. In the second stage, we will continue with the classrooms and libraries, and in the third stage we will be working in the virtualization of our lab desktops to finally, in a fourth and final stage, to virtualize our employees' desktops to provide them the mobility that they require in the multi-campus environment of the university," explains Henry Longa Alegría.
Currently, the University has 48 virtualized applications in its Virtual Laboratories service, for example: AutoCAD, MS Office, Photoshop and programming environments that are used by means of Xen App technology. "We performed a concept test with Citrix, VMware and Quest. After one month of tests on one server, we realized that Citrix offered us the most well-suited technology," stated Henry Longa Alegría, IT Services Manager of the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences .
To be able to begin the 2014 academic year by offering the new services to the university's student body, the IT department needed to begin with a pilot test carried out in January and that had to end two months later in order to be launched. "The greatest challenge was to identify which applications to publish and how to make the Citrix system talk to our academic system, Socrates, so that the students could reserve and use those applications that they needed to use in the academic year that they were enrolled in. For that purpose, an interface was made between our academic system and the Citrix system by means of programming with Power Shell. Thanks to that implementation, the student can reserve an application before using it, can control the moment of entering and leaving the application, and the reserve time," he said.
The entire solution was built on an infrastructure of four Dell PowerEdge servers with a 1TB disk array, and Net Scaler technology was used to balance the load.
The main benefit obtained by the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences consisted of the noteworthy increase in the availability of virtual applications so that its students could carry out their practice sessions.
"By virtualizing the applications, the other licenses not used in the physical lab can be used by another student in a virtual manner and without buying additional licenses. Prior to this, the average number of hours available for a student to practice in a virtual lab was 240 hours per month. Now this availability has been increased to 168,000 hours, considering that there is no longer any restriction for physically using the lab and because, furthermore, 250 students can connect simultaneously. That is an increase of 70,000%," Henry Longa Alegría, IT Services Manager, is proud to say.
To achieve this, it was not necessary to purchase additional product licenses. As such, the implementation allowed us to increase services without investing in new applications. "The applications reserve system is ours and allows us to deliver the software according to the number of available licenses. We have not purchased licenses. In five years, the return on investment will be US$1.4 million. The total investment was US$470,000. Citrix allowed us to be more efficient and productive," he comments.
Beginning in 2015, the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences plans to take the virtualization technology to the desktops of the classrooms, libraries, and physical labs. It will also seek to virtualize the desktops of university employees for the purpose of increasing the availability of its services in all of the offices that the educational institution has today.
"We still need to virtualize the classrooms, libraries and physical labs. Later, we will continue with the employee areas until we cover the entire university and make it one of the best in the Laureate network."
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