Xavier Pons, Responsible for the infrastructure area of the Information Technology Center of the Balearic Islands University
“We have suggested improvements and the UDS Enterprise development team has incorporated them into the software really quickly”
The commitment to this solution has favored that this university was able to transfer all face-to-face activity to online due to alarm state for Covid-19 practically from one day to the next and without any kind of difficulty. All Administration and Services Staff, teachers and students are working and studying from home using VDI technology. Discover more details of its eLeaning and remote working system with UDS Enterprise in this article.
Name: University of the Balearic Islands
Administrative & Services staff: 580
Campus and location: A central campus in Mallorca, as well as a university campus in Menorca and another in Ibiza.
The Center for Information Technologies of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) has been using desktop virtualization for years as a solution for the management and maintenance of software in the 150 computers used by the Administration and Services Staff and in the 500 devices in the computer rooms of the university. "Thanks to VDI, these tasks are carried out centrally and independently of the hardware, issues are easier to solve and displacements are avoided. It has made the day-to-day tasks of IT staff more easy", explained Xavier Pons, Head of Infrastructure at the Information Technology Center of the UIB.
A few years ago, when the tool they used was discontinued, they had to look for an alternative. After setting up some pilots with different solutions with the advice of Quer System, finally opted for UDS Enterprise because it was the only one that perfectly suited their needs and that allowed the incorporation of new features.
"We were looking for a cost-effective solution, which would support different client and desktop OS, which would ensure us to make a smooth product migration for end users and that would allow the integration of virtual desktops and applications in the same environment", said the IT Responsible.
Thanks to UDS Enterprise’s competitive subscription system by number of users, UIB managed to save costs in the acquisition of software. To this saving, the one obtained by extending the life of their computers was added. UDS Enterprise is compatible with low-cost connection devices and, in addition, allows to reuse old equipment as thin-clients. The IT staff of the UIB has taken advantage of this option. "The connection clients we offer are mostly old computers converted into thin-clients, without their own hard disk, that start with a reduced version of Ubuntu as an operating system", commented Pons. "This infrastructure is implemented through the Open Source Linux Terminal Server Project", he pointed out.
The closeness of the development team and the open roadmap of the product were also decisive in choosing this VDI broker. "We have not been disappointed, we have suggested improvements and some of them have been sent to us to incorporate them even before being available in the production version for all users", revealed Pons.
The flexibility of the software, which is Open Source based, has allowed them to adapt it to their needs. They have been able to contribute to the development of the project themselves by translating the software into Catalan.
From the UIB, they stand out not only the work of the developers, but that of all the human team behind UDS Enterprise. "The availability of the support staff is also excellent. Whenever we raise any questions or concerns, their answer is quick and efficient", remarked Pons. “We had to design a deployment of 750 virtual desktops to carry out public examinations with a limited hardware infrastructure and with their help everything run like clockwork", stated.
VDI for admins, students and teachers
In addition to the IT team, both the Administration and Services Staff and the students and professors in this university center enjoy the advantages of having a desktop virtualization platform with UDS Enterprise at their disposal. "We have two different VDI environments: one for the Administration and Services workers and one for the students", told Pons.
The first ones use specially configured virtual desktops with all the tools they need to do their daily work. Thanks to VDI, they have the possibility of teleworking and thus perform their tasks from anywhere, at any time and using any device.
As for students, "they can do their practices using their laptops anywhere on the campus or sitting comfortably at home. They can access all the necessary software to develop their academic activity through a web browser”, said Pons. Through a web portal, each student can choose between different desktops, one for each school or faculty, where he finds the necessary programs to develop his studies.
Teachers also enjoy the benefits of the VDI infrastructure, since "they can prepare the practical sessions comfortably from their office or from their home, without having to move to a computer classroom to check that everything will work correctly", assured the Responsible of the infrastructure area.
The student VDI environment of the UIB has 13,000 potential users and each month 25,000 virtual desktops are deployed. Around 150 users currently use the administration and services staff VDI environment, where around 1,700 desktops are provided monthly.
Ater the successful experience with their desktop virtualization platform with UDS Enterprise, this university plans to "use this connection broker to virtualize applications. In fact, we are already in the testing phase" concluded Pons.
Broker: UDS Enterprise
Hypervisor: VMware vSphere (vCenter)
Connection protocols: RDP and HTML5
Authenticator: Active Directory
VDI OS: Windows 7 and Linux coming soon
VDI access OS: Windows, macOS and Linux
Hardware: Environment for students: 9 nodes Cisco Blade Servers with 124 cores Intel Xeon processors to 2.67 GHz and 1.12 TB of RAM, with 4 storage units that provide a total of 8 TB of space. Environment for Administration and Services Staff: 7 Cisco Blade Servers nodes with 100 cores Intel Xeon processors at 2.3 / 2.67 GHz and 960 GB of RAM, with 2 storage units that provide a total of 6 TB of space.