What’s the best way to provision interim workstations for 4,000 students in 12 separate classrooms between two buildings?
When those students are Dell employees and the buildings are on our main campus, the question takes on a personal dimension.
Dell’s Global Learning & Development (GL&D) group, which prepares our technical support employees through hands-on training, recently asked that question and decided that virtual desktops provided the best answer.
The everyday task is unequivocal: Refresh a disk image before every class so that incoming students get a clean start in better understanding technical curricula, ranging from hardware and software support to certifications and service training.
Before switching to Dell Wyse 5000 series thin clients, the support team required up to six hours to reimage an entire classroom.
“It takes time to manually reboot and reimage machines,” says project manager Marcus Bazile. “On top of that, sometimes as many as half wouldn’t take the image the first time.”
When that happened, Bazile would again have to travel several floors and buildings over to redo the imaging process. Of course, all this had to take place after hours to avoid disruptions, “So I had to either stay late Friday or work weekends to get machines ready for Monday,” Bazile explains.
On top of that, he and others at Dell Infrastructure Support are tasked with providing technical support in the classroom for any network, client, or application issue. And like so many IT workers, there just weren’t enough hours or resources in the day to make it all happen.
“Because of the headaches and the amount of time involved, we weren’t doing every classroom every time,” Bazile admits.
That all changed after the switch to remote imaging with Dell’s Cloud Client Manager, Dell Wyse thin clients, and Dell’s innovative enhancements to virtual desktops such as WSM software, which allows Infrastructure Support to remotely manage a mix of laptops and thin clients, as well as client-side applications not available in the cloud.
“Now with about seven clicks, I can reset a whole classroom without ever visiting it,” Bazile says. “What used to take six hours now takes three minutes.”
All told, Bazile estimates his weekly time savings at 300 hours per year, allow him to complete the job without adding resources and freeing him to innovate beyond just keeping the classroom lights — or in this case, computers — on.
“All of our students now have a fresh desktop when they start classes,” he says. “Not only that, thin clients make each classroom neater, quieter, and provide more space for students to take notes on, making the learning experience the very best possible.”
For Dell and so many others, it’s just one of the many ways virtual desktops are revolutionizing everyday IT.