Virtualization taking root on campus

“When you’re looking at providing computing to a whole student body, this notion of having to buy a separate PC for every user can be accomplished by taking one PC or server, putting our vSpace software on it, and installing one set of operating systems and one instance of all applications,” said Mike Pagani, senior director of product marketing in computing at NComputing. “It’s like everybody is eating a slice of a jumbo cheese pizza, as opposed to VDI [where] it’s a lot more complicated where everyone wants their own personal pan pizza.”

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Through NComputing’s L-series, colleges can extend the lives of old PCs. Soft clients allow users to access the remote server’s information from their mobile or handheld devices, offering users a more seamless transition to virtualization access. Pagani testified that the L-series can address the growing BYOD problem for colleges.

“These students in higher ed have all got a decent laptop, or things that they’re already familiar with,” said Pagani. “Whatever the educator is providing, [the students] can now access with their personal equipment and software. When you’re buying a soft client, you’re not paying for what goes on, you’re paying for a seat on the server.”

A typical PC emits around 150 watts, while an L-series virtual desktop that is ran on a thin client emits only 5 watts per PC. The lack of moveable parts and the low wattage equates to lower heating costs and less noise.

“All you have [are these] quiet, cool, very powerful workspaces, so it’s much cleaner and it’s much more scalable [and] you can get a lot more people in the same area,” said Pagani.

IT administrators can manage the L-series remotely through a browser-based interspace. Pagani believes that this easily accessible approach will be particularly attractive to universities with multiple campuses, because IT administrators can “treat them all as an extended network.”