After seeing fantastic results from their initial AppsAnywhere device license testing, Calvin University, Michigan, has decided upon a 3-year, site-wide license. Read the case study to find out more about their decision and how AppsAnywhere is helping to realize key strategic goals within IT...
With a total enrollment of over 3,600 students, Calvin University's software delivery challenges and key goals corresponded with the trends of the challenges experienced by universities with up to 5,000 students. Calvin University was founded in 1876 as a school of ministry training and has quickly grown to provide over 100 majors and programs to students from a wide range of U.S, Canadian and international locations. On July 10, 2019, Calvin College became Calvin University, with the date of this exciting and well-deserved milestone coinciding with Reformer John Calvin's birthday.
Calvin University's IT department is representative of many higher education institutions of their size, running a leaner, yet more multifaceted IT staff who are highly skilled in several areas of higher education IT each. With a desire to focus upon creating more versatile lab spaces and study areas for students, by extension, Calvin University needed to reduce the budgetary and staff resource demand of their software delivery estate. They also sought to reduce lab seats by leveraging BYOD on end-user devices, both reducing the demand upon IT support and providing a better student experience with more access to university software.
Reducing VDI sprawl
VDI is a brilliantly robust technology that provides a solution to many higher education IT challenges. It can be used to deliver software to any device and even presents methods of dealing with tricky licenses from software vendors, allowing access off-site, in different localities and on non-managed machines. However, it is a heavyweight solution and, when used in isolation, it falls behind in terms of efficiency and minimizing budgetary and general resource costs to IT. To deliver the correct software to the correct users it is necessary to spin up dedicated pools of VDI software (in this case, VMware), which quickly creates more and more management overhead. With AppsAnywhere and Cloudpaging it is possible to virtualize applications totally encapsulated from the underlying operating system and deliver and execute only that application. Utilizing application virtualization in every instance where it is not only viable but the most appropriate delivery method is a consistently effective solution for minimizing reliance upon VDI and reducing VDI sprawl.
Imaging carries with it an extremely high workload which must be repeated upon making any kind of change to a software estate. To minimize the work required to make changes to pieces of software, universities often opt to use multiple, department-specific images in the respective labs. For example, engineering labs may be the only labs bestowed with an image including engineering-specific software titles, such as SolidWorks and AutoCad. The drawback of this approach is that these course-specific pieces of software are then only available in designated labs, greatly limiting students' access to the software required for their course. The remedy to both of these problems is student BYOD. Reducing the utilization of imaging in favor of VDI (Or variants, RDS/RDSH) provides a route to making ALL of a university's software titles available to students on their own machines, otherwise known as student BYOD. This culminates in three major benefits for universities.
Firstly, with more students using their own machines and software being universally available across campuses, Calvin University was able to reduce the number of managed machines and specialist labs. Secondly, by reducing the number of managed machines and how imaging was historically used in conjunction with VDI, Calvin was able to greatly reduce the management and support overheads of university-owned machines. Finally, the overarching benefit to all of this is that the issue of location-based-availability of software is removed; students are able to work in a larger number of versatile working spaces and on their own machines. Dependent upon license restrictions of software titles they are even able to use university software from their accommodation, from home between semesters, or even whilst on holiday. More access to software and a better user experience dissolves a potential barrier to success and empowers students to achieve higher grades on their course.