Federico Botella, Vice-Rector for Information Technologies at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche
"Since we started using UDS Enterprise, we have achieved significant energy and economic savings"
Number of students: 15,000
● Number of teachers: 1,200
● Administration and services staff: 570
● Number of faculties and location: 9 faculties and 6 research institutes in the province of Alicante (Spain).
The Miguel Hernández University of Elche is an educational institution in the province of Alicante (Spain) with 25 years of life and 4 campuses located in Elche, Altea, San Joan D'Alacant and Orihuela. It offers more than 27 university degrees and 50 master's degrees. The UMH defines itself as a university that aims to serve society by carrying out higher education, research, and technology transfer and that actively collaborates in the socioeconomic development of its region.
Like all educational centers, the UMH had to transform during the pandemic. "We realized that we had no way of providing access to the software and to solve this problem, we developed our own app to connect remotely with the university's PCs," explains the Vice-Chancellor. This type of solution required that the computers had to be turned on 24 hours, which entailed a high cost of electricity, an unnecessary wear and tear on the equipment, as well as the need always to have a technician available in person in case there is a failure, or a device is disconnected.
Faced with this scenario, the Technological Innovation and Planning Service technicians of the UMH were interested in a technology that would help them improve their sustainability: desktop virtualization. After a product comparison, they decided that the best option for the university was UDS Enterprise. "Since we started using UDS Enterprise, we have achieved significant energy savings. All the problems that previously arose for us have been solved thanks to the combination of virtual desktops and remote access to computers," says Tomás Sempere, Head of the Technological Innovation and Planning Service at the UMH. Now the UMH's remote devices turn on and off automatically so that they are only active when used, extending their useful life and representing significant electrical energy savings. In addition, the UMH can reuse obsolete equipment, favoring the circular economy and, in the case of having to buy new endpoints, "we can invest in thin clients or low-cost equipment, more respectful with the environment, economical, and fully functional with UDS Enterprise."
Thanks to the VDI infrastructure with UDS Enterprise, the UMH was able to turn off the computers in the computer labs that needed to be up and running for remote access during the pandemic and opened access directly to a Virtual Teaching Desktop. As Federico Botella explains, "With this initiative, the UMH is not only saving public costs but also contributing to the fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals". Objectives that Virtual Cable as a developer of UDS Enterprise defends and promotes. In this specific case, the VDI broker helps to meet the objectives of 'Building resilient infrastructures, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation, 'Guaranteeing sustainable consumption and production' and 'Guaranteeing an inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.'
THE EVOLUTION OF REMOTE AND HYBRID STUDY
The Miguel Hernández University of Elche is a clear example of how remote and hybrid study has evolved since its implementation at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 until today.
"When we contracted the services of Fortics to implement UDS Enterprise, all degrees and masters were being taught online, due to the quarantine that established in the country. Initially, the solution was used so that both students and teachers could make and design their practices from any place and device. When we returned to class, UDS Enterprise simplified the management of remote teaching or remote working, both for one person and a group of users. In the event of contacts with positive COVID-19 cases, positive cases themselves, or even due to outbreaks of the virus, it allowed us to continue with the different courses without problems", comments the Vice Chancellor.
This evolution has not stopped at the end of the most critical stage of the pandemic. Currently, the use of UDS Enterprise has been extended to Administration and Services Personnel (PAS) and Teaching and Research Personnel (PDI). Tomás Sempere says that "the entire university community uses UDS Enterprise. Specifically, PAS has some applications only accessible through virtual desktops. We also use desktop virtualization for all staff who are working remotely or require access from outside the center for other reasons."
Although most of the courses have returned to face-to-face, the university continues to offer hybrid and online degrees that are easily organized and managed thanks to UDS Enterprise. In addition, the possibility of quickly and easily scaling the infrastructure according to the number of registrations makes our work much more manageable. Face-to-face degrees benefit from the advantages of UDS Enterprise since when a computer has a problem, the student or teacher can quickly connect to the VDI infrastructure to continue with their activity without waiting times.
The UMH also enjoys all the advantages that UDS Enterprise offers its clients, such as strong cybersecurity, compatibility with any technology, or the possibility of enabling multiple hypervisors, protocols, and authenticators simultaneously.
The university is also benefiting from many features of the customized solution for the Education sector UDS Education. Such as the centralization and automation of all the management of the IT infrastructure with several campuses and thousands of users, the * monitoringin real time,unified accessto all learning tools, its integration withMoodleand with any LMS platform,24x7 use of the equipment and licensed softwareof the educational center, optimized performance withgraphics-intensiveapplications, office automation tools (Gsuite and Office 365*) and proprietary academic management applications, among others.
For the Vice Chancellor of IT, one of the main contributions of UDS Enterprise is that "several students or workers can connect to the same virtual machine with different and independent sessions, so much fewer resources are consumed, and fewer licenses are required. In addition, we have achieved significant energy savings by needing a smaller and cheaper infrastructure". With this VDI project, the university has achieved its objective of aligning itself with several of the objectives of the UN 2030 agenda by promoting a modern and innovative IT infrastructure to achieve quality teaching.
Broker: UDS Enterprise
Hypervisor: VMware vSphere
Connection protocols: RDP and HTML 5
Authenticator: SAML and LDAP
VDI OS: Windows and Linux
Access devices: Any