CNM to Pilot New Software Virtualization Project This Summer

May 21, 2014 -- This summer CNM will pilot a new “Software Virtualization” master plan project, labeled “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI),” that will eventually allow students to access their school work from any computer or personal electronic device from any location.
July 16, 2015

“This will mean (students) will be able to work at home or at school at any time and not be limited to a specific on-campus lab or computer,” said Bill Halverson, Data Center Operations director. “They will have a greater variety of access to labs and flexible study options, maximizing learning time in the classroom and reducing log in and application load times.”

During the pilot, VDI will be tested in three Main Campus environments, including E-Labs programming classes 101 and 102, Assessment Services and a few pods in the Student Resource Center open computer labs.

Halverson noted that the E-Labs were selected because they are currently the most difficult environment to build and support on a PC. In addition, students are in the E-Labs for their entire program and have little flexibility in scheduling time to do homework and labs.

SRC open computer labs were selected so the project could test run many of the software applications students use.

 “The SRC pilot will test the real ability to deploy all of CNM’s software to as many students as possible,” Halverson said. “This will also allow ITS (Information Technology Services) and support staff to test licensing challenges and proper management of software distribution.”

He said that Assessment Services was selected as a test environment for its “low hanging fruit” aspect – easy to build, deploy and support desktops.

The VDI project team has also put together a list of systems that will be used in remote campuses to run on the pilot infrastructure. The test runs will allow the team to fully test the needs of remote campuses and define the needs and abilities for VDI in those locations

“The overall goal is to allow the ITS team to deliver a centrally-managed, personalized virtual desktop to any user in any location on any campus,” Halverson said.

The pilot will run for the entire summer term while the development team will begin discussing Phases II and III of the project. The finalized VDI should be completed by the 2015 Fall Term.