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Purdue Explores Desktop Virtualization Benefits

Virtualization of student computer lab gains greater flexibility and convenience

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Purdue University’s IT department deployed a pilot to explore desktop virtualization benefits in its student computer labs. Purdue used Intel® vPro™ technology, Citrix* XenClient* software, and Dell* laptops to expand the computer lab experience beyond the traditional labs and realized that client virtualization can provide greater flexibility and convenience for students. Purdue already operates a Citrix XenApp* farm with over 200 software applications for student use. Through the pilot, the university tied the XenClient laptop setup to the Purdue XenApp server environment. Laptops were configured with a XenClient 1.0 Receiver with two Windows* 7 virtual machines (VMs): a user image and a Purdue image that had direct links to the XenApp environment using the XenApp Web Client. Once authenticated to the Purdue domain, testers had access to all the Citrix XenApp applications within the Purdue VM and could launch and close them as if the applications were locally installed. The pilot tested the use of applications from the XenApp environment, the use of both Windows VMs within the XenClient environment, and the use of networking across the XenClient environment to the Windows VMs. The team concluded that VMs can provide remote access to lab applications, but it’s important to match the virtualization model to the environment, goals, and level of support needed.