Instant Gratification for the Always-On College World with Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)

Mar 31, 2015
Josue Fontanez


Community Marketing Manager, End User Computing, VMware. Josue is focused on building external communities for the End-User Computing products at VMware. Prior to taking a long sabbatical and living in Europe, he led the development and launch of the Digital Workspace Tech Zone and various product marketing roles at VMware. Before VMware, he held various product marketing and product management roles at Citrix and Microsoft.

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If college students had a mantra, I bet it’d be something along the lines of that Queen song: “I want it all and I want it now!”  Students are used to instant, 24×7 access to social media, gaming, music and more in their personal lives. It’s no surprise they expect the same of their computer labs, courseware and IT support at school.

And they’re not the only ones with on-demand expectations. Faculty want to be able to innovate in real-time – not wait until next semester to introduce new subjects or try out new courseware. Academic leaders want to put education in easy reach of more students with online classes that let them learn when, where and how they want. In fact, 70% of chief academic leaders say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy (Online Learning Consortium, 2014).

The truth is, if colleges and universities don’t offer this kind of dynamic, always-on environment, they won’t be able to attract and retain the students and staff they need to remain competitive. But there’s a problem. Higher Ed IT departments often aren’t designed, staffed or funded to handle the extremely complex IT infrastructure this on-demand world requires.

That’s why we’re seeing more colleges and universities turning to DaaS, or cloud-hosted desktops-as-a-service. DaaS moves desktops and apps into the cloud, where an experienced service provider handles the servers, software and support. Not only does DaaS remove IT complexity, it also reduces much of the IT labor costs. There’s no big capital expense for on-site infrastructure that educational institutions have to worry about.

When we talk to colleges and universities about DaaS, they get particularly excited about how easy it delivers these benefits:

Far Greater IT Agility

Institutions can roll out apps and updates overnight, to any device, at any time during the school term. There’s no more waiting for semester breaks or spring vacation. Instead of updating computers one-by-one, or running a remote program to touch each device from the datacenter, cloud-hosted desktops can all be quickly deployed at once. That means end-users can gain access to an updated, refreshed desktop without any changes to their devices.

 24-Hour Computer Lab

DaaS extends computer lab access to wherever and whenever. Students can access the lab at 3pm or 3am, from their dorm, library or even the laundry room. Whatever works for them. And regardless if a student has lost their device, replaced their device, or have multiple devices, they always have access to their educational workspace, without any IT intervention.

Campus Lab

Innovate and Adjust Quickly

Colleges and universities can easily roll out or test new courseware, online classes and even majors. Instead of taking months to purchase and configure the enabling hardware and software, you just ramp up the number of active virtual desktops with your service provider. When desktops are no longer needed—if you decide not to continue a class, or the semester ends and you don’t need as much capacity—simply adjust the number of desktops.

Standardized Learning Environment

Students come to school with all types of devices. Chromebooks, Macs, PCs and more. With DaaS, it doesn’t matter what they use. You easily can deliver a simple-to-manage, standard learning environment that provides secure access to all the apps and tools students need.

Any device, anywhere

As one of the largest online universities found by using VMware Horizon Air , expanding classroom access, innovating courses in real-time, and providing the on-demand education students want doesn’t have to be exorbitantly cumbersome or costly. DaaS puts the always-on college world in easy reach of everyone, anywhere.

To learn more about how Horizon Air can help transform campuses and labs with education on-demand, I encourage you to listen to our on-demand webinar HERE.

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