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Indiana University Partners With Citrix to Launch Personal Cloud

An ambitious cloud initiative will provide access to applications and data from any device, anywhere.

Indiana University and Citrix Systems have partnered to create a “personal cloud” for students, faculty, and staff. Users will be able to access applications and data from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.  

IU’s goal is to establish a new model for personal computing in higher education that increases accessibility and security for users, reduces desktop-support costs, and increases operational efficiency by providing desktop virtualization. This phase of the initiative, code-named IUAnyWare, will use Citrix XenDesktop with FlexCast technology to deliver a personal computing environment as a cloud service, providing a wide range of applications and data to the IU community. For localized cloud storage, Microsoft SharePoint will be used.

The implementation of a cloud service will provide IU with the flexibility to manage systems across its multiple campuses and more than 100 computing labs. "The IU IT staff is [currently] spending a large percentage of support hours just maintaining, patching, and upgrading hardware and software at these multiple locations," said Sue Workman, associate vice president of support at Indiana University.

Software packages that are available in campus labs will now be accessible to students from their personal machines. Faculty and staff will be able to access files and software remotely. The technology also allows for support of multiple types of virtual desktops, ensuring that users will be able to complete assignments and have access to their apps from any device.

In managing multiple labs and campuses, appropriately licensed software must be delivered directly to the individual student. The first phase in the rollout of the system will deliver virtual applications to a new facility, Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, in Columbus, IN. The center supports certification, degree programs, and workforce training in collaboration with other local universities. Once lab environments are implemented, IU plans to deliver more than 200 applications directly to users' devices.

"This project is part of a major initiative to rethink the way we are delivering IT services to all of our users, and to be able to reduce desktop support needs and deploy those resources to more strategic initiatives," said Workman. "We are looking forward to working with Citrix to roll out virtual desktops and applications across all of our users university-wide."

About the Author

Jennifer Skelly is a freelance journalist and screenwriter based in Los Angeles, CA.

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