A more cost effective, streamlined and reliable solution was required; one that was easy to access and delivered maximum benefit for students, whilst reducing IT staffing and support costs.
LMU have a remote international student population that access multiple e-learning study/courses, a number of which are browser based. To ensure students receive the maximum benefits from the courses they also need to access the internal resources from within LMU’s private network.
This access can cause issues; firstly the strain on the IT support staff has increased, due to the fact that they need to provide support for student’s personal devices connecting to the e-learning system; they often struggle to clearly identify what the student has installed on their devices, and there have been a number of issues with firewalls, anti-virus solutions & various levels of anti-malware and anti-spyware programs. All of this combined has caused a significant increase in helpdesk calls, which is draining resources.
Presenting internal resources securely for external students to access can only be secure when accessed via a VPN with 2-Factor authentication. This puts a further drain on IT and financial resources, as well as having the potential of causing a security nightmare whilst keeping track of tokens etc. not to mention the additional complexity for the students
Having built the LMU Novell GroupWise/OES11 Cluster, NDS8 was invited to deliver a pilot solution that would address these problems. NDS8 have partnered a virtualisation company Virtual Bridges. Virtual Bridges sole focus is to deliver Virtual Desktop Infrastructures using their proprietary server software VERDE. Using Verde, NDS8 were able to create a “Gold Master” image which is configured using LMU’s corporate desktop design, which they use at their student campuses.
With LMU using Novell technology / products, the Virtual Desktops are pooled (warmed) and registered with ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM), which delivers the same complete desktop management of each virtual session, as it would if the desktops were physical. This includes automatically registering virtual sessions as new workstation objects within the ZCM infrastructure.
With the virtual session being on the same physical LAN, LMU staff and students are able to connect to server infrastructure and gain secure access to file shares, etc. Printing is also handled using pass through authentication and documents can be printed locally or remotely.
Currently this has been delivered to a small test group, however due to the success of the POC LMU are now looking to expand this and roll out 1200 persistent virtual desktops.