Close to 15,000 students are spread across four cities and ten faculties. 1,000 employees and 200 professors from 20 departments have different needs for their desktops, but most importantly, the university needed ways to scale quickly for each class. Managing the infrastructure, rolling out and handling new desktops quickly became a big task.
But the biggest challenge was not just the scale-up, but also the tear-down after use, explained the head of IT: “When a new course starts – for example in computer sciences – each student needs a separate, but unified desktop for the context of the course” he explains. “The professor needs to prepare a desktop with secure access to specific apps and data. This was a timeconsuming task, let alone not very secure. We also constantly worry about ressources, to quickly eliminate the desktops that are no longer in use” he concludes.
Fabian Lenz, comdivisions lead architect for this customer, has done a lot of implementations for customers that scale out and up with thousands of desktops, so he knows about the challenges. "We cannot stress this enough, security is a big deal, especially with remote users, that all need access to on-premises ressources”.
Fabian and his team needed to perform a proper assessment, as it is customary for all of comdivisions projects.
So armed with the information gathered from the different departments, the team prepared to deploy an Horizon environment that gives students proper access to university-relevant desktops and applications from any location at any time.
“We defined a Horizon Pod Architecture that fulfills the needs of all identified use cases for unified student pools, organizational workers, and special purpose desktops, with a high demand for application changes within the environment” Lenz explains. “The infrastructure even utilized NVIDIA Grid-based virtual machines on a vSphere/vSAN platform. A Horizon Pod Architecture has been created to scale from initial 500 to 20,000 users!”
The solution utilized VMware Dynamic Environment Manager and VMware App Volumes.
“The great feature about the Horizon pod architecture is the fact, that a pod federation can span our four campus sites,” says the head of IT. “This simplifies the management effort required to manage a large Horizon deployment.”
comdivision helped the customer to create three use cases that the customer can use as a template, a boiler plate to create the remaining use cases.
“As soon as we have finalized the task of setting up the remaining use cases, we like Fabian to come back and help us with the next task”.
The university will need help to extend the environment from the current use-cases to the ultimate enduser workspace. Due to a lot of engineering applications that rely on Linux, Linux based VDIs will play a more and more important role.