Oxford Brookes University were facing the same IT challenge as other higher education institutions across the globe: deploy apps to any device at any time, without spending hundreds of thousands on complex VDI technology.

Damian Branigan, IT Manager at Oxford Brookes University, discusses how AppsAnywhere's application virtualization solution has helped them to provide an enhanced student experience, by deploying apps across campus on-demand, and to any device. Damian also outlines why they chose Cloudpaging [formerly Jukebox] delivered by AppsAnywhere ahead of alternative solutions such as App-V.

Application Virtualization at Oxford Brookes University - Video Transcription

I’m Damian Branigan. I’m the Client Device Development Manager at Oxford Brookes University. Oxford Brookes University is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary, and it’s named for John Henry Brookes. And by 2010, it’s been the top new university for about a decade in the newspapers and if you look at The Guardian this year, we’re ranked in the top 20 in 15 subject areas, including Art, and English, and Journalism. We’re very big in Architecture, and we’re very big in motorsport, and also in primate research.

It is a new building, yes, the John Henry Brookes building. It’s got an RIBA award as the Best Building of the Year, I think, and also sustainability. As far as Application Jukebox [AppsAnywhere] is concerned, we deployed to about five teaching campuses, as well as a few places of residence, also, for teachers.

We had a Windows XP environment, which we had for a number of years—it was innovative when we started—but it was long in the tooth and Windows XP was about to expire, so that essentially was the issue we were trying to address.

We looked at Desktop-as-a-service [Daas], in terms of kind of virtualizing our infrastructure, and we also looked at visualizing applications with the VMWare product and the Microsoft product, but we didn’t think that it could meet our needs of delivering every application to every desktop, across the entire infrastructure in the timescale we needed to do it.

Application Jukebox [AppsAnywhere] was a more effective way, a more efficient way, of the kinds of things we had been doing already with Windows XP. Like I said before, it took applications apart and delivered them in kind of a ‘just-in-time’ basis. AppsAnywhere, and Application Jukebox in particular, kind of made that a bit more sophisticated and enabled us to achieve what we wanted to do. Also, the training from AppsAnywhere was extremely good.

Previously, when we packaged applications, or when we took applications to deploy, it would be a fairly lengthy process of determining how it works and what it did, in taking it apart. With Application Jukebox, it’s far more streamlined. You can deploy the first cut of the application very quickly, almost in the time it takes to just actually install it and package it up. Obviously from there, you’ve got to refine it, make it better, and make it faster but the first cut is quite simple and it’s very easy to do from a very low skill base. I mean, I can package it myself so it has to be very easy. But, yes, that’s a gain, running it through the Application Jukebox Studio, which is a fantastic tool for actually packaging up applications.

The most beneficial thing is that it’s very effective at delivering badly written applications. All old applications that seem to be written for DOS and are kind of patched and upgraded. So it’s very good at the bad applications, which is critical in this kind of environment. But also, it’s a more sophisticated way of what we were currently doing, which kind of fitted our mind-set quite nicely. And AppsAnywhere provided a lot of support, and a lot of expertise, and sound training as well.

We’ve had confidence in AppsAnywhere. They have connections and messaging in the use of the software in the first place. So that was very useful, particularly in early stages. They’ve been responsive, they’ve put themselves out, and we can trust them.

I’d say, trust them, talk to them, come to the user groups.

We have had one or two issues with Application Jukebox in particular, but that’s when you find out how good the partnership is. And in terms of the partnership with AppsAnywhere has been very good. They’ve been prepared to put themselves out and deal with our kind of timescales and requirements. They upgraded our entire infrastructure after hours, so that we could do civics. And I don’t think you could ask for more than that.

Friendly, helpful, reliable, because that’s how I found them.

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