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Message from sl-cramer@wiu.edu

Hello,

Western Illinois University recently deployed a virtual desktop computer lab using VMWare Horizon View and Unidesk.  We opted to use a Dell/Wyse thin client with Windows 7 and use Papercut for print management.  Our backend is Sun Oracle servers with VMWare and a dedicated SAN.

If you have something implemented such as I've described above:

1) How big is your environment?  (Number of users/stations using VDI)

2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?

3) What is your anticipated growth?

4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users?

5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing?

Thanks in advance for any information you can share.

Shannon Cramer
University Technology
Western Illinois University
SL-Cramer@wiu.edu
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/discuss.

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Message from sl-cramer@wiu.edu

Western Illinois University recently deployed a virtual desktop computer lab using VMWare Horizon View and Unidesk.  We opted to use a Dell/Wyse thin client with Windows 7 and use Papercut for print management.  Our backend is Sun Oracle servers with VMWare and a dedicated SAN.

If you have something implemented such as I've described above:

1) How big is your environment?  (Number of users/stations using VDI)

2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?

3) What is your anticipated growth?

4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users?

5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing?

Thanks in advance for any information you can share.

Shannon Cramer
University Technology
Western Illinois University
SL-Cramer@wiu.edu

Hi Shannon,

 

            Our setup is similar to yours. Please see responses to your questions from our ED of Infrastructure Services below. If you’d like to have an in-depth discussion about our setup and experiences with it, please let me know, and we’ll schedule a time to for a call.

 

Mickey

 

1) How big is your environment?  (Number of users/stations using VDI)

About 650 production VDI clients which are mostly non-persistent desktops in labs. We have about 30 persistent desktops in staff offices.


2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?

We do not have dedicated/committed staff for this technology.  We have not increased or decreased staff as a result of deploying the new technology.  With the exception of a single block of truly “borderless” clients, the VDI clients are replacements of existing physical desktops we were already supporting.


3) What is your anticipated growth?

Ideally we expect to have between 1200 and 1500 machines but this number can easily change based upon changing borderless needs.


4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users?

Mostly positive.


5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing?

Yes, in our borderless setup we do have faculty and students accessing desktops from their personally owned systems.  This has required adding additional licensing from Microsoft.  We have the VDA licensing for our overall environment (all things running on zero clients) but also extended licensing for pushing desktops and office to the borderless desktops.  We continue to work with the Microsoft BU for a reasonable adjustment to their licensing costs.

*******************************************************************************

Michael R. Belote

Chief Technology Officer

Mercer University

O: 478-301-2850

M: 478-719-2955

http://IT.Mercer.edu

 

Mickey, what vendor’s equipment and software did you go with? and did the deployment cause any issues in your datacenter?

 

May I also ask what type of SAN you are using for your VDI environment?

 

Shelley

 

Shelley Amator

Chief Information Officer - San Juan College

ellucianTM

4601 College Boulevard

Farmington, NM 87402-4699

 

Voice: 505.566.3466 Mobile: 505.486.6626 Fax: 505.566.3555
Shelley.Amator@ellucian.com
www.ellucian.com

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CONFIDENTIALITY: This email (including any attachments) may contain confidential, proprietary and privileged information, and unauthorized disclosure or use is prohibited. If you received this email in error, please notify the sender and delete this email from your system. Thank you.

 

P Think before you print

 

We are running a VMWare View / UniDesk environment.  Most administrative staff were using Citrix Presentation Server with thin clients so our initial VDI project goal was to migrate those users into VDI. 

We participated in a webinar about our environment that was hosted by UniDesk and NexGen last May.  Here is a link:  http://www.unidesk.com/videos/customer-webinar-colby-sawyer-college

Technical Specs

- HP C3000 & C7000 Enclosures
- HP Flex Virtual Connect modules and 10gbit network cards in the blades
- 8 HP BL460c G7 blades w/ 196GB Ram & 12 x 3.066GHz CPUs
- Fusion IOControl SAN (Formerly NexGen) Hybrid SAN (Mixes Fusion IO Cards with spinning disk)  Provides very high IO as well as disk capacity.
- UniDesk 2.5:  This provides us with the management tools necessary to layer the OS as well as all applications.  The process is as simply is installing the app.  Once each layer is created, you then create desktops which use the various layers in any combinations necessary for each group of users.  Their technology also is very storage efficient allowing for persistent desktops with little disk overhead.
-VMWare View 5.1


If you have something implemented such as I've described above:

1) How big is your environment?  (Number of users/stations using VDI) 

- 271 Persistent virtual desktops for Faculty and Staff
-  Faculty make use of the desktops at-will for off campus access
- Staff have EVGA Zero clients (PD02 & PD08)

2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?

No additional staff added.  UniDesk allows us to distribute the application and desktop creation among several IT staff. Systems Administrator performs system upgrades.

3) What is your anticipated growth?

We are working on a plan to extend virtual desktops into student labs & smart classrooms.  We are also planning on a pool of desktop for student off campus access so we can retire our SSL VPN used for library database access.  We expect to have 600+ desktops.

4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users?

Positive.  This environment is a vast improvement over our previous Citrix virtual environment. On campus the performance is at par or better than PCs.  Time to connect is only a few seconds and works very well off campus assuming a broadband connection.

5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing?

We allow faculty and staff to access their desktop from off campus.  We have covered all Zero clients with the MS VDA licenses.  We are also looking into student off campus access and how we would calculate appropriate VDA license levels.

 

We are three years into our virtual desktop initiative at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and it has consistently gained acceptance and momentum throughout that time.


1) How big is your environment?  (Number of users/stations using VDI)

We have just over 700 PCoIP zero clients deployed of various makes and models.  1,000 running virtual desktops on VMware View, Cisco UCS blades, and NetApp storage. The majority of the virtual desktops are deployed for labs and information kiosks, 75 are persistent desktops for staff and that is where we are currently focusing effort to expand.  

2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?
We also do not have dedicated individuals but the team of people working on the service accumulate the time of 1.5 dedicated FTEs.  We have not had an increase or decrease in staffing as a result.

3) What is your anticipated growth?
We expect to have 2,000-3,000 virtual desktops running within three years based on current trends.  Potentially 5,000+ if one innovative strategy gains traction and licensing concerns are resolved.

4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users?
Very positive with our non-persistent virtual desktops deployed in lab and kiosk environments.  Mostly positive for persistent desktops.  Understanding optimal use-cases and limitations is very important.  We are not targeting areas with high performance/high graphics requirements.

5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing?
Very limited in scope.  We buy the VDA licenses at this time and are hoping for changes in Microsoft's licensing structure as virtual desktops are more broadly deployed in the industry.


Andrew Buker
Director, Technical Services
Information Services | EAB 008
University of Nebraska at Omaha | www.unomaha.edu

402.554.2175
abuker@unomaha.edu
 
 

UW-Eau Claire

1)    How big is your environment?  (Number of users/stations using VDI)

We only have 40 zero clients but we let all 10,000+ students access our Lab Anywhere environment that many of the applications we have in our general access labs.

2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?

A very small part of two positions (maybe .2 FTE combined)

3) What is your anticipated growth?
We geared up initially for 200 concurrent users two years ago and are still within those limits

4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users?
Students love it.  Some faculty/staff do as well.

5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing?
Yes, was the primary reason for implementing.  We pay Microsoft dearly to license Windows and Office in the virtual environment for all students/faculty/staff

 

What you did not ask is what are campuses doing with Office365 since subscribers are allowed to download full versions of Office Professional as part of subscription.

For us it will not work because we have multiple academic applications that are required to interact with Office (plugins for Excel, etc.).  Since Microsoft will not allow plugins today on Office365 (and some of our software vendors will only let us license their software if the code is running on a university server) I do not see a way to offer the same flexibility with Office 365.  Hopefully Microsoft will realize what they are doing and change their policies so we do not have to license students at the high pricing as giving them copies of Office to install and run from the student’s privately-owned computer.  Since Microsoft “gives Office away” for Office 365 users my argument is if you are an Office 365 university they should let you offer virtual desktops with Office installed in them for no additional cost.

 

Chip

Chip Eckardt
CIO
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
105 Garfield Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Phone 715-836-4636 ext. 362381
eckardpp@uwec.edu

 



 

Message from sl-cramer@wiu.edu

Shelley,

We have 2 NAS devices that are mirrored.

 

Manufacturer

Oracle

Model

Sun ZFS Storage 7320


-Shannon

Regarding:

2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?

A very small part of two positions (maybe .2 FTE combined)


I assume this is on going support.  What was the level of effort to spin up the environment and what was the level of professional services purchase for this initial implementation?  


What skill sets were required for the initial implementation and now for the on going support?


Thank you.


Sincerely,

Sharon Luciw
Director, Networks & Client Services
ETS
Foothill-De Anza Community College District
(650) 949-6161

"Security is Everyone's Responsibility"

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Hi Mike and Shelley,

 

            Below is a response from our ED of Infrastructure Services:


Mickey

 

We have deployed two separate phases of VDI infrastructure.  The first phase was deployed in our primary data center and delivered desktops across our WAN to five locations across the state.  This was a blended project and actually improved overall services. This phase provided infrastructure for providing VDI, our next iteration of server virtualization, video collaboration, a virtual migration of our existing unified communication infrastructure, as well as 10Gbps capability within our data center.  With this combination, and the equipment removed, the overall data center impact was positive.

 

The hardware used for the first phase includes a set of Cisco UCS chassis, 16 Cisco B200 M2’s (8 were for VDI), EMC VNX 5300’s with one used for replication, Cisco Nexus for networking, VMware ESXi for the hypervisor, VMware View as the broker, Unidesk for management and the desktop composer, LG all-in-one zero clients.  We were originally a Unidesk 1.x shop and have migrated to the 2.x series.

 

Our second phase, in a different location and data center, has helped to split the VDI load and increase performance.  This was minimal and therefore did not impact the data center used.

 

The hardware used for the second phase includes 4 Dell PE R720s with Fusion-io cards (ioScale 2.825TB) for VDI storage. 

 

Shane Milam

Executive Director, Technology Infrastructure Services

Mercer University

478-301-5138

*******************************************************************************

Michael R. Belote

Chief Technology Officer

Mercer University

O: 478-301-2850

M: 478-719-2955

http://IT.Mercer.edu

 

We booked four days onsite support to help us setup and configure.  We spent 180 hours of total staff time setting this up.  That said we already had extensive experience working\managing both VMware EXI servers and HyperV along with extensive Microsoft skills.

 

Ongoing support is provided by the same people who manage our SCCM2012

 

Chip Eckardt
CIO
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
105 Garfield Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Phone 715-836-4636 ext. 362381
eckardpp@uwec.edu

 

All,

This is great information. For the Colleges/Universities that replied to this thread, Did you have a vendor or consultant to help provide support/advice for the design or deployment? If so, who did you consider vs. use?

 

Thanks,

 

Bill

 

 

Bill Edgette

Executive Director

Information Technology & Services

 

Austin College | Information Technology
900 North Grand Avenue, Suite 61613 |Sherman, TX 75090
Work 903.813.2088 

 

 

Here is our response from Xavier:

 

1)    How big is your environment?  (Number of users/stations using VDI)

We have 105 zero clients connected to the environment but we let all students access our Lab Anywhere environment from their own devices for many of the applications we have in our general access labs.

2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology?

A very small part of two positions (maybe .25-.5 FTE combined).  Some of the things that are done in the virtual environment like ThinApp, also has benefits for other lab environments

3) What is your anticipated growth?
We geared up initially for 250 concurrent users two years ago and are still within those limits

4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users?
Students love it.  Some faculty/staff do as well.

5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing?
Yes, was the primary reason for implementing, i.e. SPSS access for an online course, and access to other university owned applications that cannot be loaded on student computers under the licensing

 

 

Judy Molnar
Executive Director
Infrastructure & Technology Support
T 513-745-1905 M 513-607-0484

http://www.xavier.edu/ts

 

Xavier University
3800 Victory Parkway,

Cincinnati, OH 45207-1120

 

 

 

 

Hi David,

In what ways have you found your new VMWare View / UniDesk environment to be an improvement over your Citrix virtual environment?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scott Emery
Director, Client Services
Information Services
Oregon State University
Phone: 541-737-2880

Scott,

 

Before answering understand that were using Citrix Presentation Serer 4.5 which is now called Zen App. It was not a VDI solution but rather a server based computing environment using MS Terminal Servers.

 

So here is how it’s better:

 

-        Eliminated roaming profiles.  Login times are now a few seconds.

-        Multi-Media performance is PC like on campus and nearly as good off campus.

-        Fewer moving parts thus better overall solution stability.

-        Greatly reduced application conflicts.  With Citrix we had many apps installed on the same server which caused some application issues.  With this new environment, each user gets only what they need greatly reducing this issue.

-        Calls to the helpdesk for VDI issues are very infrequent.  The same could not be said about our Citrix build.

We did not deploy the Citrix VDI stack so I can’t tell you how that compares.

 

Lastly, Citrix does have more features than the competition.  You can accomplish just about anything with the tools.  The trade off in my opinion is a more complex configuration that takes more effort to keep running.

 

David

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Shannon, Great topic! According to results from the EDUCAUSE Core Data Service, 25% of responding institutions provided virtual workstations through their central IT department. 58 of these institutions are MA I, like Western Illinois University. Environments for these MA Is range from 1 to 1000 seats. CDS participants gain access to identifiable responses to the CDS survey through CDS Reporting. To learn more, please visit: www.educause.edu/coredata. If you want to know whether your institution participated in CDS 2013 look for your institution here. With permission from your primary representative or CDS manager, anyone at participating institutions may access CDS data through CDS Reporting. If your institution didn't participate this year, mark your calendar for the July 2014 survey launch. Also, you may want to sign up for our CDS Update newsletter to make sure you don't miss important information about participating in the 2014 survey. For those who want to learn more about CDS Reporting, stop by my office hours tomorrow at 1pm ET. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks! Leah Leah Lang Manager, Core Data Service EDUCAUSE Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good direct: 303.939.0339 | main: 202.872.4200 | fax: 202.872.4318 | educause.edu From: Shannon L Cramer > Reply-To: EDUCAUSE Listserv > Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 6:28 PM To: EDUCAUSE Listserv > Subject: [CIO] Questions regarding Virtual Desktops in computer labs Hello, Western Illinois University recently deployed a virtual desktop computer lab using VMWare Horizon View and Unidesk. We opted to use a Dell/Wyse thin client with Windows 7 and use Papercut for print management. Our backend is Sun Oracle servers with VMWare and a dedicated SAN. If you have something implemented such as I've described above: 1) How big is your environment? (Number of users/stations using VDI) 2) How many staff support it and what is the FTE commitment for support of this technology? 3) What is your anticipated growth? 4) What kind of feedback are you getting from your end users? 5) Do you allow personally owned computers access to the VDI environment and if so, how do you manage the Microsoft licensing? Thanks in advance for any information you can share. Shannon Cramer University Technology Western Illinois University SL-Cramer@wiu.edu ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/discuss. ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/discuss.
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