CSE is a market leader in supplying desktop virtualisation to schools, delivering a leading-edge virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) through Citrix XenDesktop.
How it works.
A virtual desktop has the same look and feel as a standard PC desktop. However, unlike these, a virtual desktop is stored on – and accessed from – the server farm. Virtual hardware is allocated to the desktop upon provisioning, and is able to run demanding applications such as Adobe CS Suite, ProDesktop, Google SketchUp, and high-resolution video: the hardware isolation means that your infrastructure can still deliver a rich ICT experience no matter how many users access the system.
When used with the Citrix Access Gateway, this also means that the same performance can be seen outside the network as inside it through a secure SSL VPN connection. An authorised user can use almost any device (including smartphones, tablet PCs, Linux netbooks etc.) to connect to the system and access applications or their full desktop by downloading a publicly-available client. This allows students and staff who are off site (for example due to field trips or absence) access to the network through a 3G or satellite connection.
Key advantages of a Citrix XenDesktop system.
- Dramatic savings in power consumption through the use of thin client devices and intelligent server power and cooling.
- The system turns desktops on and off automatically, and keeps a configurable number ready for connection. If a user logs off, the system shuts down their desktop after them to save resources.
- Application security is increased. Through use of application virtualisation and Citrix XenApp, you can make applications (MIS Software for instance) available only to those who you wish to see them. There is no risk to the system from those who cannot see these important applications, as they are not actually installed until the user accesses the shortcut.
- Management is much simpler. Applications, updates and security changes can be made on ‘test’ desktops, allowing testing to be carried out in the background. When you are happy with the results, you simply change the desktop that your users access. Applications added to the core desktop will appear instantly for users next time they log in, with no need for MSI deployment.
The same applies with a Windows 8 upgrade: the whole school changes to Windows 8 with the click of a mouse button (and back again, if necessary).
Citrix XenDesktop is built on a proven, trusted core technology that uses the Citrix ICA communication protocol (Microsoft Terminal Services is built on an early version of ICA): staff and students can access desktops and applications remotely with no performance loss.
Citrix XenDesktop is specifically designed to enhance and personalise the end-user experience, and can use local hardware resources to aid ‘rich media’.
Citrix XenDesktop includes the integration of Citrix XenApp, the market-leading application virtualisation solution. Applications can be made available to specific machines or students.
Why does CSE choose Citrix virtualisation?
CSE’s specific reason for choosing Citrix virtualisation is that we believe the speed, remote access, multimedia re-direction, and functionality of the virtual desktop to be better by far than any comparable product on the market. In addition, the XenDesktop licensing system now hooks into a Microsoft SLA, making the cost of this solution very small in proportion to the functionality gained. In terms of server virtualisation, any school purchasing a XenDesktop licence means that all XenServer licences now and in the future are completely free.
Citrix also offers XenDesktop – VDI edition, an even more cost-effective solution for schools, colleges, and academies, as it facilitates desktop virtualisation at a fraction of the price. This edition is ideal for schools that have an aging PC population, but which cannot afford the large refresh that would otherwise be required. Please contact us for examples of clients for whom we’ve converted an aging PC environment to a quick virtual desktop environment running the latest versions of Windows and educational software.