Closing the Digital Divide in Education with VMware Horizon View and Teradici PCoIP Zero Clients

Oct 10, 2013

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by Robert Philkill and Nick Pandher, Teradici
Geoffrey Murase, Solutions Marketing, VMware

VMware and Teradici have recently been awarded a contract through systems integrator Bitara for the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MoE) to deliver virtualized desktops to Malaysia’s K-12 students.  MoE is the largest Ministry in Malaysia, responsible for 10,000 K-12 schools and roughly 5.5 million students.

As you may know, Malaysia’s geography consists of two main parts separated from each other by the South China Sea and includes numerous islands as well.

 

In order to prove out the desktop virtualization technology from VMware and Teradici, we were asked to deliver our technology to a “worst case site” in Sabah. The goal here was to ensure that VMware Horizon View and Teradici PCoIP zero clients could be deployed with minimal onsite setup or modification to the classroom environment.  Below is a first-hand account of this deployment from Robert Philkill, a Teradici Senior Sales Engineer.  A video documenting Robert’s trip is also available.

The Journey Begins

The state of Sabah is one of Malaysia’s 14 states on the island of Borneo, which is divided between three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.  This was a deployment in a very rural part of Malaysia.  It is so off the grid that you can only get there by boat.  Getting there from Kota Kinabalu (the name of a very famous mountain) took me 5 hours on a paved road.  This was followed by 3 hours on an extremely challenging dirt-and-mud road in an “old school” Toyota Land Cruiser which took us to a murky brown river that housed crocodiles.  Then we traded some pineapples and other supplies (I am not making this up) for an hour-long boat caravan with 25 Samsung NC241 PCoIP zero clients, an HP DL360 server, networking gear and racks, etc.  As you can see, the boat is not a yacht.

Electricity is provided to the village by solar and a diesel generator. This plays nicely for the low energy requirements of the zero clients.  Internet is provided by a VSAT satellite Internet link providing 2Mbps if you are lucky.  The reality is the link was extremely flaky.

Success Criteria

The non-negotiable requirement was to prove that PCoIP can be deployed easily, quickly and successfully with little or no issues in even the most remote locations in Malaysia.  I am happy to announce that we met the success criteria and the Malaysia MoE has signed off.

Above is a picture of the children, in front of the Malaysia MoE, the teachers, and the village chief, validating that the VMware solution is meeting and exceeding their expectations.

It took about 10 minutes of simple instruction to get them to take a 15-minute exam utilizing our solution.  All the while the teacher could monitor each student from her two screen monitors.  We spent time training the teacher how to use the system, and she got it right away.

These children have NEVER seen a computer before or even touched a mouse except the kind that cats eat. The children lit up like nothing I have ever witnessed before.

Education for them is a privilege that not a single child takes for granted.  Their appreciation was so great that they sang me their school song.  I am not ashamed to admit it really brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart.

The children in this school have to live on campus Monday through Friday.  This is because the only way to get to school is by boat.  They are at this school to learn so that they can compete at a global level.  The government of Malaysia understands very clearly that ALL of the children are their future and are investing in VMware and Teradici to insure that each of their futures is bright.

VMware and Teradici are committed to providing solutions that meet the needs of the education market across the globe.  Whether it’s providing basic desktops to remote villages in third-world countries to addressing online testing requirements as part of the Common Core State Standards in the U.S., we offer solutions for schools and institutions to ease management, lower total cost of ownership and ensure security and compliance.

VMware will be exhibiting at the EDUCAUSE conference on October 15-18 in Anaheim, California so if you’re attending, we invite you to stop by booth #430 and learn more about VMware education solutions and find out about other events that we’ll be hosting during the conference.

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