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Barking & Dagenham College Reduces Virtual Desktop Logon Wait Times

Barking & Dagenham College (BDC) in East London has implemented a user profile management solution to reduce the amount of time required to log on to virtual desktops.

Before moving to virtual desktops a year ago, the college was already having problems with user profiles on student desktop computers. The college then worked with VMware and Dell to design and install its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) system, but the user profile problems persisted, and students sometimes had to wait as long as 20 minutes to log on to classroom PCs. "When you're talking about a one hour lesson, 20 minutes without a computer is a long time for students not to get the resources they need," said David Farrant, deputy head of BDC's ILCT department, in a prepared statement.

That was when the team conducted a health check of the environment using Liquidware Labs Stratusphere UX and discovered that the host-level systems were having problems retrieving and delivering user profiles when students logged on to desktops around campus. The team then evaluated a number of products to solve the problem and selected Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity FlexApp based on the recommendations of their major vendors.

With ProfileUnity FlexApp, the ILCT team was able to improve the user profile management, which solved the logon problems for both physical and virtual desktops on campus, reducing the logon wait times for all of the students and staff at the college.

"The Barking & Dagenham College experience reads like a classic scenario for organizations implementing desktop virtualization," said Jason Mattox, CTO of Liquidware Labs, in a prepared statement. "Virtualizing the environment often highlights issues left over from the physical environment. Over time, organizations discover old issues remain, and new ones pop up. The combination of using our Stratusphere UX to diagnose underlying issues and then implementing ProfileUnity FlexApp to address the complexities of managing users and applications on desktops delivers quantum-leap efficiencies that make the investment in virtualization pay off in a big way."

BDC gives its students a virtual desktop that includes Windows 7 with Firefox, Chrome, Office 2010, Visual Studio 2010, Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection, and Sage Line 50 2011. With ProfileUnity FlexApp, students can also install other applications on their own.

"FlexApp meant we didn't have to roll out many different master images and run our conflict management software everywhere," said Farrant. "It lives up to its name, because it gives us the flexibility to give students the applications they need to use."

Students at the college can now use any desktop, anytime, anywhere on campus. "That makes it very important to manage profiles effectively," said Farrant. "ProfileUnity FlexApp has made profile management much easier for us. Student's profiles follow them wherever they go, and they get a consistent experience wherever they are on campus."

Barking & Dagenham College is a further education and higher education college in East London, England serving 12,000 students and employing 600 staff members.

Further information about Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity FlexApp is available at

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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