Virtualization technology is taking hold in higher education, helping colleges reallocate existing resources to save space, time, energy, and money—while often extending the life of older computers.
Using virtualization, specialized software tricks a single desktop or server into thinking that it’s many systems simultaneously, each with its own independent operating system.
A single computer or server is able to project mirrored images of its operating system onto other platforms, but these platforms are independently capable of completing different tasks simultaneously. The virtualized environments look identical to the standard computer to which users are accustomed, and users are free to access applications and programs normally.
Implementing virtualization software on older computer terminals could save schools money and energy. In recent years, software companies have started to develop new tools to make adoption and integration easier for higher-education institutions.
A few years ago, the 5,000 students attending the State University of New York (SUNY) Orange Community College’s two physical campuses in Middletown or Newburgh, N.Y., or one of its several satellite locations were accustomed to computer glitches and having to wait for computer lab time.
Kenneth Kempsey, director of user support and operations at SUNY Orange, was used to hearing complaints from students and faculty members about the lack of dependable computing devices. When two computer labs at SUNY Orange’s Middleton campus required wholesale replacement of their eight-year-old PCs, Kempsey sought a solution that would be both dependable and affordable.
“Of all the suppliers we considered, Wyse had the best products and the best reputation,” said Kempsey. “And Wyse also offered the most turnkey option—we didn’t have to buy additional software to support virtualization.”