Easy to learn, easy to fight

    The Canadian College of Applied Arts and Technology, La Cité (1,000 employees), needed to simplify PC maintenance and give students and teachers more freedom to work with computer programs. The solution proposed by Dell was the introduction of a virtual desktop infrastructure based on Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell Networking switches, Dell storage arrays, and Dell Wyse P25 zero clients.

    College students study computer modeling: this skill is necessary in order to become professional engineers and architects. It is not difficult to guess that this requires complex and resource-intensive software. However, the college’s IT infrastructure could hardly meet the needs of more than five thousand students and thousands of employees. La Cité's campuses had just seven labs with computers that pulled 3D modeling software.

    “Due to the lack of computer labs, class schedules had to be changed every year,” said Luc Lacasse, college system administrator. - We just did not have enough space for everyone. In addition, students need a certain degree of freedom - sometimes they have to work on certain projects outside the laboratories. ”

    It was also difficult for teachers. The thing is that, in preparation for classes, teachers work with computer simulation programs in their classrooms. But if students needed to demonstrate a particular project, they had to connect to their account and run the application from a computer installed in a specific audience. This process was quite long, and a total of up to 15 minutes of study time was lost.

    Managing the college’s existing computer infrastructure was also not easy. “If we needed to change the image of the system on one computer, we had to do this operation on all thirty machines in each laboratory,” complains Lacasse. “Moreover, we had to check the computers and make sure that everything works as it should.” This process could take several weeks. ”
    To change the situation for the better, it was decided to implement a virtual desktop infrastructure. The college management faced a difficult decision: to invest in the purchase of more powerful computers or spend them on the development of virtual workplaces.

    Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
    La Cité College has applied technology solutions from a wide range of brands, including HP, IBM and Dell. “We always used IBM servers, but when we learned about the capabilities of the Dell PowerEdge R720 rack servers, we realized that they would be much better for a virtual desktop environment,” says Lacasse.

    The infrastructure was introduced at the school, which included more than four hundred zero Dell Wyse P25 clients and sixteen PowerEdge R720 servers with Dell Compellent SC8000 storage arrays. In addition, the college’s IT team installed new Dell Networking S4810 switches in the data center. Thanks to this solution, it was possible to get a 10-gigabit Ethernet-channel, which was necessary for remote work with 3D-graphics.

    To protect the college’s IT infrastructure, two Dell SonicWALL SuperMassive E10000 series firewalls with integrated intrusion detection and automatic update support were installed.

    Two Dell DR4100 Disk Backup Appliances were installed to back up and restore data. They are integrated with Dell NetVault Backup software and provide cross-platform backup and recovery of data from physical and virtual machines. The college also supports an existing VMware Horizon View virtual desktop solution based on Dell PowerEdge M620 server blades and a Dell Compellent SC8000 array.

    Time saving
    La Cité IT department employees can now change the image of the system on zero clients in classrooms much faster. “To set up a new image, we need a couple of days, not a couple of weeks, as before - all thanks to Dell’s virtual desktop infrastructure solution,” says Lacasse. “We just need to go into the VMware interface and create an image.” Customizing the Dell Wyse client is much faster than a regular PC. This means that all students are guaranteed to have access to computers in each of the laboratories, although earlier they had to work in turns if part of the PC was unavailable. ”

    Change of priorities
    Due to the fact that employees of the IT department now have to spend less time on updating the system and managing computer infrastructure, they can devote time to college development. “Instead of constantly plugging holes and worrying about the health of computers, we can now focus on finding new technological solutions,” says Lacasse. - This is of great importance, since our college competes with other educational institutions of a similar direction. The more modern services we can offer, the more students we will attract. And with the new IT infrastructure based on Dell PowerEdge servers and Dell Networking switches, we can provide full support for any solutions we implement. ”

    Full study
    College teachers now have more time to train students, because they can easily connect to the virtual desktop directly from the audience. Teachers got the opportunity to open simulation applications on Dell Wyse clients within 20 seconds from their classroom (and not from another classroom, as it was before), whereas before they needed about 15 minutes.

    Flexibility in connection
    College students can work on educational projects from almost any convenient place. They no longer need to queue for a free computer in the laboratory - nothing prevents them from conveniently sitting in a cafe with a laptop, tablet or smart phone and doing their project with a cup of coffee.

    Among other things, teachers have more rooms for practical classes. Instead of seven labs with computers for 3D modeling, the college opened as many as sixty-five classrooms with Dell Wyse customers. La Cité is now actively promoting the idea of ​​students using their own portable computers (BYOD - bring your own device). “La Cité executives are planning to launch one of the BYOD pilot programs, and with Dell's virtual desktop infrastructure solution, we can support such a program,” says Lacasse. “Students will be able to bring their laptops or tablets to class and connect with them to our infrastructure.”

    Cost and energy savings
    Using the new Dell solution, La Cité saves a lot of money. Typically, desktop computers change in college every three years, but Wyse clients can be used for much longer. Due to the fact that the management does not have to buy new equipment so often, it has become possible to save or invest in something more important. In addition, the school will save on energy consumption. “Wyse customers use less energy,” says Lacasse. “Saving electricity and money along with other undeniable advantages for students and teachers make this solution ideal for educational institutions.”

    • Images of virtual desktops are installed within a few days (previously the procedure took weeks).
    • The IT team spends less time servicing computers and pays more attention to finding new technologies.
    • The college has become more competitive.
    • Teachers had more time to conduct classes.
    • Students got the opportunity to work with computer simulation software remotely.
    • The college saves money and energy.

    Solution Brief
    • Backup and restore data.
    • Network.
    • "Cloud" customers.
    • Storage.

    Products & Services
    • Hardware
    • Dell Compellent SC8000 Storage Arrays
    • Dell Networking S4810 Switches
    • Dell PowerEdge R720 Rack Server
    • Dell Wyse Zero Clients

    • Dell DR4100 Disk Backup Appliances with Deduplication Technology Backup Devices
    • VMware Horizon View

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