Abu Dhabi University simplifies students life by implementing Dell desktop virtualization solutions with VMware Horizon View

By Cathi Allen, DVS marketing manager, Dell

Many organizations around the world are moving to a virtualized desktop environment, especially in the higher education sector. Abu Dhabi University is one of them and has chosen to partner with Dell and VMware to do so.

Abu Dhabi University (ADU) is a leading university in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has been in existence for just over 10 years and has grown considerably. Over 5,000 students are enrolled and the university employs 400 staff and faculty members on two campuses: one is in Khalifa city, another one on Al Ain campus and the third one will be opening in Dubai in the next academic year. The university wanted a turnkey VDI solution that allows them to transform how they address client computing. Being one of the youngest universities in the middle-east, ADU strives to be one of the most advanced as well, also by the means of new technology. In order to do so, they must plan and implement effective and efficient networked infrastructures. Their plan encompasses not only the client computing functionality, but also the datacenter including servers and storage with the implementation of a virtualized environment. These changes not only ensure better control and security but also allow for flexible growth in the future.

ADU motivations for implementing desktop virtualization are:

  • Simplify their environment in order to facilitate future growth in the rest of the Emirates within UAE.
  • Increase application and data security in the datacenter.
  • Make access easier for both staff and students.
  • Enable a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy.

Enabling BYOD is important for ADU. The University wanted to provide students with the capability to access their laboratory applications from any remote location on the campus. ADU also wanted a solution which, in the future, would enable students to access the University applications safely and securely from anywhere – when working from home or from a coffee shop – and using the device of their choice. The University also wanted an effective means of storing and sharing e-books with students. In other words, ADU needed a flexible IT infrastructure which allows future migration to new technologies in an efficient way and with the required levels of manageability. This project enables ADU to achieve the goal of becoming a technology leader in higher education in the UAE.

Dell acted as the consultant with the ADU team to design, plan and implement the desktop virtualization project. Several discussions took place between Dell and the ADU staff to determine the correct course of action necessary to meet ADU goals. First, a proof of concept (POC) for VDI was put in place as ADU intended to change both client and datacenter computing. The initial pilot project was to implement VDI for 150 users, first in libraries and to selected senior staff members. Since ADU had already implemented server virtualization with VMware, the decision to implement VMware Horizon View for desktop virtualization project made perfect sense. The proof of concept project proved successful. The overall project now includes the implementation of Dell desktop virtualization solution (DVS) for 400 seats, including Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell EqualLogic storage, Dell client PCs and Dell Wyse thin clients. It also uses Dell Professional Services and they implemented Unidesk for layered applications.

Mazen Chilet, IT director at ADU said: We are working with Dell because of its innovation and unique end-to-end capabilities, all the way from the datacenter to the end points, including support and services. We have quickly realized that centralized and simplified management is a strong benefit from using VDI. We now need to complete a network overhaul, which provides the increased security and simplifies access. We plan now to expand from the initial phase to about 2000 virtual desktops.” 

After a successful POC, ADU and Dell are now working on addressing the BYOD aspect of the project.

To discuss VDI implementations on VMware with Dell experts, make sure to visit us at VMworld in Barcelona at booth #208. And to continue to learn more about Dell’s portfolio of desktop virtualization solutions, visit www.dell.com/desktopvirtualization .

About the Author: Nicolas Cuendet