by Divina Paredes

University of Otago deploys Citrix technology as part of IT systems refresh

Dec 03, 20143 mins
CareersCloud ComputingEducation Industry

The University of Otagohas deployed Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop across all faculties, allowing students to access virtual resources anywhere on any device at any time.

Mike Harte, director IT Services at the University, says the exponential growth of students bringing their own device to campus made it the perfect time for the university to deploy the cloud technologies. He estimates 98 per cent of their students own a laptop and 92 per cent own a smart phone.

“We wanted to enable our students to use resources anywhere, on any device, at any time, and Citrix was the most mature offering allowing us to do this,” says Harte. “We’ve seen a number of productivity gains with the new environment, and have been delighted to see students and staff benefitting from anywhere access.”

The installation of the Citrix technology is part of the 145-year-old university’s ICT strategy, which includes a complete ICT systems refresh, and extends the lecture theatre and classroom beyond traditional campus boundaries.

“Cloud technologies will continue to influence our IT strategy in the coming years as we explore the most secure and economical ways to give staff and students complex flexibility to get their work done, regardless of location or device,” says Harte.

Cloud technologies will continue to influence our IT strategy in the coming years. Mike Harte, University of Otago

With students increasingly demanding remote access to learning materials, the University of Otago developed a virtual environment with Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp, delivering access to over 60 software applications including Office 365, SPSS, and Netbeans.

The University will also provide access via HTML5 to cater for operating systems, such as Chromebooks, at a later date.

Having previously supported 1600 university provided desktops servicing 21,000 students, the new virtual environment allows the university to cater for its entire student body across 23,500 devices including up to 7000 concurrent users.

Combined with Citrix Netscaler for access gateway and traffic monitoring, the virtual environment has reduced student log in times from four minutes to 25 seconds.

With more than 750,000 logins to the desktop annually, this improvement is expected to save students 45,000 hours a year.

In addition to the 21,000 students making use of the infrastructure nationwide, the University’s Christchurch campus is working to roll out a staff version of the service in early 2015.

“We strive to develop our campuses in ways that are responsive to the opportunities afforded by new technologies, and in this and other ways, we will meet the needs of a changing student mix and evolving research and teaching needs,” says Harte.

“Investments [in ICT] ensure that University of Otago’s information and communications technology infrastructure and services are world-class at all of our sites.”

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