In a sign that the ongoing digital revolution is gathering pace, Ayrshire College has switched its entire IT system to a virtual desktop infrastructure model at its Kilmarnock campus.
The benefits of the virtual desktop model
According to PC World, one of the major benefits of the virtual desktop infrastructure is the ability to fix problems from within the corresponding data centre. With no need for a software engineer to visit the actual computer workstation, problems can be identified and fixed at source, saving time and money. Meanwhile, the user experiencing problems can simply log on to another workstation and continue with their work, with no loss of data.
Ayrshire College has adopted the new technology with great enthusiasm, according to the ICT Manager, Brad Johnstone. Approximately 5,500 students and over 300 staff members have moved into the new Kilmarnock campus, which cost around £53 million to build. Members of the ICT department, including Mr Johnstone, were involved in the design and planning stages of the project to ensure that it fulfilled all of their requirements.
State of the art technology
The new facility has been equipped with a generator to support the IT mainframe and peripherals in the event of power surges, drops or outages. Since a generator typically takes a few minutes to kick in once a power interruption has been identified, the college has also been fitted with UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) units, which provide instant backup at the first sign of power issues, giving users plenty of time to save their work before data is lost or corrupted. For examples of similar devices, visit Eaton UPS at http://www.cppsales.com/Eaton_UPS_Systems___Accessories-catid17.
The design of classrooms has been organised for the greatest possible flexibility of use for all students. Traditional desktop computers have been replaced by the new virtual desktop infrastructure, which has been built using software from IGEL and Citrix. Thin client terminals allow students to access their files from any terminal in the college, allowing for better use of the available space. In addition to the twelve main classrooms fitted with these terminals, a further eighteen classrooms have been equipped with laptops, which can be stored away when not in use, allowing greater flexibility for the rooms to be used by faculties other than IT students and tutors.