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Virtual Desktops in the School

How one school designed their virtual desktop implementation

Schools typically have limited funds to take on massive IT projects. In fact, many of the desktops are over 5 years old, with significant numbers of desktops reaching 10 years old. So how does a school expect to maintain aging hardware. How does a school plan to provide students with newer applications? These are some of the challenges with one particular environment: the ABC School District.

This particular school district consists of 50 school campuses that supports 70,000 users.  Due to limited funding, the technology infrastructure is aging quickly.  Thanks to a voter approved tax levy, the ABC School District is receiving an infusion of money to upgrade their computing infrastructure. Instead of going down the same path of distributed computing, the ABC School District has decided to implement desktop virtualization based on the following architecture:

The designed solution includes the following high-level items:

  • Almost all of the components will be virtualized with Microsoft Hyper-V. The environment is divided into two distinct parts: Infrastructure Module and Desktop Modules
  • Two types of Windows 7 FlexCast virtual desktops are used and spread across four XenDesktop farms: Hosted VM-Based VDI desktops and Blade PC desktops.
  • Applications are delivered either as installed applications, hosted applications or streamed applications from centralized XenApp servers, which is part of XenDesktop 4.
  • Each school’s network bandwidth is optimized by leveraging HDX WAN Optimization with the Citrix Branch Repeater. As students in each class will perform similar activities, the Branch Repeater will provide WAN optimization, helping to offset costly WAN upgrades.

This is just an overview of the ABC School District design.  To learn more, you can:

  1. Download the ABC School District Reference Design
  2. Join the discussion on Twitter @djfeller
  3. Learn more about the environment by reading and commenting the upcoming posts on the Virtualize My Desktop site

More Stories By Daniel Feller

Daniel Feller, Lead Architect of Worldwide Consulting Solutions for Citrix, is responsible for providing enterprise-level architectures and recommendations for those interested in desktop virtualization and VDI. He is charged with helping organizations architect the next-generation desktop, including all flavors of desktop virtualization (hosted shared desktops, hosted VM-based desktops, hosted Blade PC desktops, local streamed desktops, and local VM-based desktops). Many of the desktop virtualization architecture decisions also focuses on client hypervisors, and application virtualization.

In his role, Daniel has provided insights and recommendations to many of the world’s largest organizations across the world.

In addition to private, customer-related work, Daniel’s public initiatives includes the creation of best practices, design recommendations, reference architectures and training initiatives focused on the core desktop virtualization concepts. Being the person behind the scenes, you can reach/follow Daniel via Twitter and on the Virtualize My Desktop site.

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