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Dell Virtual Lab Aims to Lower Computer Lab Hassles

The average college in the United States has about 97 labs, and the average number of lab desktops is about 1,100, according to the Campus Computing Project survey. Those hefty quantities represent a sizable amount of IT work behind the scenes, to continually keep up with the changing needs of faculty, to maintain hours suitable for the campus community, and to address the computer problems that may crop up in running highly specialized applications.

Dell has introduced a new product line that's designed to save institutional customers management time and hassle by taking the lab virtual. Virtual Lab, which integrates technology from Dell partners VMware and Citrix, promises to allow students to access lab applications at any time from anywhere on any device with minimal management. Dell said the new offering will debut on several U.S. campuses this fall.

Virtual Lab comes in three customized flavors:

  • Adaptable Virtual Lab, which virtualizes lab desktops for easier management; it allows an image to be accessible from any desktop in the lab with a single reboot.
  • Mobile Virtual Lab, which makes any lab desktop that's fully virtualized to be accessible from any device on or off campus.
  • Hosted Virtual Lab, which combines both offerings but hosts the lab offerings in the Dell/Perot cloud rather than from the college's data center.

"This can be a transformational technology for higher education student labs," said Thom Rubel, vice president of research for IDC's government group. "Though we recognize that university environments vary, this kind of solution, when appropriately evaluated and implemented, has the potential to lower costs over the long haul, while providing students anywhere, any device access to their lab work."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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