La Cité, the College of Applied Arts and Technology, Implements Dell-Based Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure
Dell announced it has begun to implement a new virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) at La Cité, Ontario’s French-language college of applied arts and technology. The solution based on Dell Wyse zero clients and Dell PowerEdge servers will help the educational institution increase teaching time, simplify IT management, and provide students with greater flexibility around when and where they work.
Before implementing a VDI environment, La Cité had seven labs equipped with desktop PCs powerful enough to run CAD software but the labs were hot, noisy, and difficult to schedule. La Cité had to decide whether to make a considerable investment to replace aging workstations or put that money into a futuristic VDI solution. After evaluating the options, La Cité was impressed with the superiority of the Dell product specifications and VDI solution on Dell PowerEdge R720 rack servers. Some of the new systems are in place and the college plans to complete the conversion of all 2000 workstations on campus to Dell Wyse by 2016.
The new virtual environment provides for approximately 70 labs, classrooms, and libraries equipped with Dell Wyse P25 zero clients where students can undertake processor-intensive CAD projects. Implementing VDI technology in the classroom brings with it a host of benefits for teachers, students, and the college’s team comprising five IT managers. No longer having to undergo a lengthy boot-up process and being able to connect to CAD applications on the Dell Wyse clients in less than 20 seconds (a process that previously took up to 15 minutes) will help teachers gain additional teaching time. In addition, teachers should have greater flexibility in terms of where they teach on campus and enjoy quieter labs. Students will also benefit from greater flexibility wherein they can work on class projects. They will no longer have to compete to find a lab to work on CAD projects but can connect virtually and work from almost anywhere on campus. Students will be guaranteed access to a computer in each lab eliminating the need to share workstations during demand peaks.
Dell’s VDI solution at La Cité currently comprises more than 400 Dell Wyse P25 zero clients, 16 Dell PowerEdge R720 servers with Dell Compellent SC8000 storage arrays, two Dell DR4100 Disk Backup Appliances for back-up and recovery, and two Dell SonicWALL SuperMassive E10000 Series next-generation firewalls for security and intrusion prevention. The IT team also deployed new Dell Networking S4810 switches in the data centre to create a 10-gigabit Ethernet environment that provides the necessary throughput.
The virtualized environment helps simplify IT management, freeing up IT managers’ time to focus on proactively sourcing new IT solutions that will help keep the school competitive and attract new students. Previously changing an image on a computer involved reimaging and testing up to 30 machines in each lab, a process that could take weeks to complete and was generally only done once per semester. With the VDI solution, it’s now easy to snapshot, modify, and redeploy an image through the VMware interface, allowing images to be changed more frequently. When the solution is fully implemented IT managers will no longer spend their time micromanaging, trouble-shooting problems and managing security updates. They will be able to focus their efforts more effectively on big-picture IT solutions such as creating a stable environment for a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) implementation and sourcing new software solutions for 3-D CAD graphics and rendering.
Dell’s VDI solution also offers a good return on investment. Previously La Cité changed its desktop PCs every three to four years, but now expects to keep Dell Wyse clients for six to seven years. Power consumption will also be significantly reduced. La Cité used Dell Financial Services to finance its hardware investment.
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“Dell has been one of our most trusted advisors for many years. Its virtualized solutions using Dell PowerEdge rack servers, Compellent storage, and zero client are second to none and have been instrumental in allowing us to create an IT environment that will attract the best CAD teachers and students in French-speaking Canada and around the world. As well as facilitating significant cost savings, our virtualized environment gives us greater performance, flexibility, and security and the capacity to implement new programs such as BYOD in the near future.” – Luc Lacasse, systems administrator, La Cité, the French-language College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario.
“We’re delighted that La Cité embraced our vision of a VDI environment and selected the full range of Dell products to bring this vision to reality. Dell’s solution, which is at the forefront of VDI, will give La Cité an excellent ROI as well as the tools and capacity to further scale across campus, add more graphic-intensive CAD software, and provide a rich education environment that will allow it to compete on the world stage.” – Kevin Peesker, President, Dell Canada Inc.
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About La Cité, the French-language College of Applied Arts and Technology, Ontario, Canada
As the flagship institution of French-language college education in Ontario, La Cité puts the success of its students first and foremost, offering them facilities with leading-edge technology and a learning environment focused on practical, modern, forward-looking experiential learning practices. Graduates of the Collège are recognized as skilled, committed and creative professionals who can contribute to economic, social and cultural development in Ontario, Canada and elsewhere.
Dell, Dell Compellent, PowerEdge, SonicWALL and Wyse are trademarks of Dell Inc. Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others