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U Tennessee at Martin Looks To Cut IT Costs with Desktop Virtualization

The University of Tennessee at Martin has started rolling out desktop virtualization to provide its 8,000 students and staff members access to their desktops, files, and network resources from multiple locations and computing devices on campus. The university began the initiative, which was first surfaced in a 2005 technology plan, by deploying Citrix XenDesktop to deliver Windows desktops and applications on 45 computers in three campus locations. XenDesktop allows IT to bundle the operating system, applications, and user profiles, store them centrally, and then deliver a specific desktop image to a user.

Citrix said the university would next implement the software on 900 computers in labs and department offices.

Eventually, U Tennessee Martin intends to provide virtual applications and desktops to all university- and student-owned personal devices. It will offer users up to 30 applications through XenApp, as an integrated feature of XenDesktop. XenApp allows the enterprise to store an application in a central location and deliver it to the user on request in a form optimized for the user device.

In some cases the university will only make the latest software available through the virtual environment. For example, the university is only delivering Office 2010 on lab computers through the Citrix environment.

"We want to make applications available to students in the way they want to access them--in university housing, off campus, via mobile phones, however and wherever they want. We plan to offer them everything that Citrix delivers," said Shannon Burgin, university CIO.

The university said the full deployment was expected to lower desktop computing costs by 40 percent through simplified centralized management and a reduced hardware refresh rate.

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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