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Middle Tennessee To Virtualize Thousands of Systems

Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN is launching a major desktop virtualization initiative that will provide virtual Windows desktops to its campus community. The move will allow MTSU's 27,000-plus students, staff, and faculty to access the university's computing resources on and off campus through their own computers and through smart phones and tablets, such as Apple's iPad.

For the initiative, called "MyMT," the university turned to technologies from Citrix, including XenDesktop and XenServer. All told, thousands of devices will be virtualized over the course of the phased rollou using Citrix toolst, according to information released Monday by the university, with 2,000 devices expected to be virtualized by the fall.

The move is expected to save the university as much as 35 percent in costs associated with desktop computing. In the past, MTSU has had to replace 20 percent to 25 percent of its 4,000 systems each year, according to information provided by Citrix. Virtualization is expected to diminish some of those costs by extending the useful life of the systems and cutting back on energy costs.

"In addition to budget concerns," according to Citrix, "MTSU needed to address the time required to touch every computer for software installation and maintenance. Fast, centralized installation of software, patches and upgrades via Citrix means less downtime for students, quick classroom access to new software for faculty, and more time for the IT team to spend on other tasks."

According to Bruce Petryshak, MTSU CIO: "MTSU prides itself in being the largest undergraduate university in the state of Tennessee, and as such, we are focused on taking a leadership position with the most modern technologies. We are committed to ensuring that our students, faculty and staff are offered the very best technologies to enable them to learn, collaborate and access information that ultimately impact student outcomes in a positive way. Having all these new capabilities and being able to extend our reach while reducing costs is an absolute win-win for MTSU."

Citrix characterized the project as the largest individual virtualization effort to date in Tennessee higher education.

Middle Tennessee State University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students in nine colleges. Its physical campus spans about 500 acres. Courses are also offered online.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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