Virtualization | News
Penn State Implements Clientless Remote Access to University Applications
Penn State has replaced its Java-based
remote access system with a clientless solution to provide students and faculty
with access to university software from anywhere, through virtually any device.
The university's previous Java-based system required installation and
maintenance of software on faculty and student devices. "Any time a Java update
came out, we experienced a flood of help desk issues," said Preston Baker,
systems administrator in the Classroom and Lab Computing division of IT at Penn
State, in a prepared statement. According to Baker, the university wanted to
replace its existing remote access system with one that didn't require plugins
Penn State implemented Ericom AccessNow,
a clientless remote access solution, to support 96,000 students and 7,000
faculty across 22 campuses. Ericom AccessNow lets authorized users access
university software from any device with an HTML5-compatible browser, including
Apple iPads and Google Chromebooks. According to information on the company's
site, Ericom AccessNow works with "Windows applications and desktops (virtual &
physical), running on Windows Terminal Services / RDS / VDI platforms, including
Microsoft Hyper-V and other hypervisors."
Faculty and students at Penn State currently use Ericom AccessNow to access
mathematics, statistics, Microsoft Office and SolidWorks computer-aided design
programs. According to the company, AccessNow also extends the availability of
the university's 8,696 Windows workstations located in more than 1,400 labs and
classrooms. "From a business perspective, AccessNow allows us to extend the
learning environment to off-campus students and faculty, at home or during
off-hours," said Jonathan Holman, IT manager in Classroom and Lab Computing, in
a prepared statement. "This helps facilitate remote learning and off-campus
Since implementing AccessNow, Penn State's Classroom and Lab Computing
division has seen a 90 percent reduction in help desk support tickets because
they no longer have to install and maintain remote access software on client
devices. "With AccessNow, we have a tenth of the support volume, freeing us up
to focus on other IT initiatives," said Baker in a prepared statement.
This summer, Penn State plans to expand its use of AccessNow to deliver a
full desktop experience for faculty and students.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.