University of York Drives Virtual Learning with Quest vWorkspace
October 2010 by Marc Jacob
The University of York announced it is giving staff and students virtual learning facilities to access their personal desktop and learning resources whether on campus or at home through Quest® vWorkspace, a desktop virtualization management solution from Quest Software.
The Hull York Medical School and the University’s Department of Health Sciences will be the first to benefit, with plans to expand roll-out to the Department of Language and Linguistic Science followed by the whole University. Quest vWorkspace provides staff and students at the York, Scarborough and Hull sites with flexible access to their personal desktop, learning resources and course information. The Language and Linguistics department required a solution which will potentially use a thin client device, which could also record oral practicals for review and assessment - the bi-directional recording function from vWorkspace fully meets this requirement.
The University of York was looking for a simple implementation with single sign on, USB redirection, multimedia facilities and bi-directional audio through a virtualized infrastructure, all of which Quest vWorkspace delivers. A further factor in the decision was the fact that vWorkspace supports multiple hypervisors. The University of York currently uses the VMware vSphere hypervisor but wants the flexibility to expand to other hypervisors should they want to in the future. Furthermore, the University of York is able to offer its Department of Social Policy and Social Work the security it needs to access sensitive information offsite as vWorkspace ensures secure remote access through two factor authentication and delegation of administrator privileges.
“The University of York has been researching all the vendors that provide Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions for some time. My colleagues had been using Quest Software solutions for a couple of years and were particularly impressed with the functionality and versatility of vWorkspace which met all our staff and students’ needs, but also went above and beyond,” explains Adrian Young, Head of Digital Workspace Group, IT Services at the University of York. “Our main priority was to provide our staff and students with the flexibility to deliver bespoke IT services via a virtual desktop which could include working from any location, from a variety of different devices. The IT manageability of vWorkspace was also very attractive as we can fix issues quickly and centrally which saves time and money.”
For IT Services the main advantage of using vWorkspace was the speed of resolution of issues. A PC rebuild normally took over a day to complete, now it can take a couple of minutes. This is a much more efficient use of IT staff as well as improving productivity of staff affected by the issue.
“We are proud to help the University of York enhance its learning facilities and provide staff and students with the resources to get the information they want, when they want it, wherever they may be,” explains James Freeman, Business Unit Director EMEA, Quest Software. “The University of York is one of several higher education institutions we are working with to improve access to learning resources through new ways of delivering desktop IT infrastructure. Our vWorkspace solution will save significant time for IT staff which saves cost and allows them to provide improved service.”
As part of the project the University of York is working with Vcentral Limited, a solutions provider specialising in virtualisation, to design and implement the vWorkspace solution. “We are delighted to be working alongside Quest Software to enable students and staff to access their desktops from anywhere as well as deliver benefits such as simplified management, time savings and improved security” said, Richard Bateman, Technical Director at Vcentral. “Vcentral have worked closely with the University to ensure the solution meets all their current requirements as well as being scalable for the future University-wide roll out”