The latency issue with multimedia goes far beyond a kid using a thin client
device to listen to an mp3 or watch Spiderman 2 (my favorite of the trilogy,
BTW). If we hope someday to use VDI beyond the office desktop computer
running the Office suite, we need a device that can handle
graphically-intensive applications, like AutoCad, Photoshop, [dare I say?]
Maya, and so forth.
I am confident the virtual desktop infrastructure will work in an office
setting. I'd be curious who has successfully deployed it in place of
instructional labs, and especially high-end instructional labs that do these
Maybe we're just not there yet, technically. For now, maybe these apps have
to stay fat client.
However, back to my question. Who is running VDI successfully in an
instructional lab that has graphically-intensive applications? And how's it
Chief Information Officer
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John Kaftan
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 10:20 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CIO] Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
We are playing with the Wyse VXO thin client connecting to a VMWare
Virtual Machine via RDP. It is working fine but since we are using the
free version of VMWare there is no VDI or provisioning. It is all a
manual process. Still it looks very promising. The client we are using
has a very rudimentary OS. Basically you just set what terminal server
you want to connect to and your video and network settings and off you
go. Our test user is at a remote site with a site-to-site VPN to our
main campus. She was having trouble running Banner over the wire. We
installed the thin client and she is much happier accept that her audio
and video streaming is very poor, not that she needs either to work.
Wyse has a software suit that can be installed on the server (in this
case XP workstation) to accelerate multimedia and USB support. Our next
step is to install that suite to see if it helps. Technically she would
be hard pressed to make a case that listening to music and watching cute
video streams that her kids send her is necessary. However, we do not
want a rebellion on our hands either. If possible we want folks to not
really notice the difference and even appreciate the extra space on
their desk and how quiet it is.
There are also powerful arguments regarding lower power consumption
especially if you can replace a CRT with a LCD at the same time. It
makes them feel like they are getting something special too rather then
getting something less. In terms of supporting this VM it would be much
easier for our help desk to support her especially since she is remote.
We have another pilot that is running Secure Global Desktop by Sun. We
have SunRay thin clients there that connect to Win2003 terminal servers
via a Sun front end. We are using RDP there as well. That project is
also looking very well. We have provisioned 15 SunRays in our training
room and they are working beautifully but also have issue with streaming
video. In a terminal server environment we have challenges with special
apps that either are not meant to be run on terminal servers or are a
security risk to be installed on a public server. We can get around the
security risk by deploying more servers in VMs and install the special
apps there. SGD has the ability to publish apps like Citrix so you can
publish just the app and never the desktop on a particular server so
that folks cannot see apps they are not supposed to get to. Obviously
we can control who has access to what apps on a given server via
security and, if we migrate to Active Directory eventually, group
policy. I am just saying when you use a terminal server apposed to a
virtual desktop you will have these complications.
I once worked at an ASP that used Citrix to provide a front end. We had
over 300 servers in our Citrix farm and up to 4500 concurrent
connections. I have to say that I was very impressed with the Citrix
Another advantage might be providing desktops to our remote users. For
example, if we can offer a virtual lab that has special software that
students need for their classes then they will not have to come in to
the LAB to do their work. They could get to a desktop from anywhere and
we might be able to reallocate one of our labs back to a class room.
Or, for some classes, students could conceivably get their own desktop
for the semester. Then at the end of the semester they just hand in
their desktop to the Professor as their final project. It is very
Gary R. Holeman wrote:
> I realize that there was a recent discussion about VDI, but I wanted to
bring it up again. I have moved as CIO from one institution to another in
the last month. The situation I find here at Morehead State University is
that we have very little ability to manage the desktop computers we have.
Our Windows desktops are not joined to a domain and each modification of the
desktop is currently requiring a staff member to physically touch the
machine. We are also very new to Active Directory. We must bring about a
change to this situation very quickly. We also recently have had our
desktop computer vendor go into bankruptcy (Gateway/MPC) and are in the
middle of a bid process for a new desktop/notebook/tablet vendor. We have
been very successful here in using virtualization of servers using VMWare.
As most of you know, that technology has proven itself very well. As I'm
looking at state budget cuts, we're deciding to extend the replacement cycle
for our desktop/notebook computers from 3 to 4 years. So, I'm wondering if
I might be in a situation similar to eastern Europe and Asia a few years ago
where cell phone technology and market penetration passed that in the United
States because those areas were so far behind the US in wired technology.
So, they simply leapfrogged us in wireless technology rather than build out
the wired infrastructure. I'm wondering if since we at this institution are
so far behind in desktop management if we should leapfrog past the normal
desktop management processes and move to virtual desktops. I'm waiting for
my vendor to find me a higher ed institution that has implemented virtual
desktops in wide-spread deployment for faculty/staff desktops. Have any of
you done that or do you know an institution that has? I realize many of the
battles I may face in user acceptance, but if I can see someone that has
done that, this might be an opportune time in the light of budget cuts. By
the way, I understand that the thin client devices are not necessarily less
expensive than fat client devices. But I believe the replacement cycles for
either a desktop computer used as a VDI thin client or a device designed as
a thin client will probably be much longer than our current replacement
cycles. Perhaps as much as an 8 year refresh cycle.
> Thoughts? Opinions? Directions?
> Gary R. Holeman
> Assistant Vice President for Technology/
> Chief Information Officer
> Morehead State University
> 150 University Blvd
> 110 Ginger Hall
> Morehead, KY 40351
> (606)783-2068 Office
> (606)783-5078 Fax
> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent
Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent
Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.