University of the Arts London deploys agile desktop infrastructure

The University of the Arts London (UAL) is attempting to improve its IT infrastructure for students and staff with an agile desktop setup.

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The University of the Arts London (UAL) is attempting to improve its IT infrastructure for students and staff with an agile desktop setup.

UAL has signed a deal with IT consultancy firm Centralis for Citrix agile desktops. The deal is the first Citrix Campus Agreement in Europe, and aims to allow UAL much greater desktop flexibility at its six colleges across 17 sites, which form Europe’s largest arts university.

The benefits expected from the new agreement include the ability to deliver and maintain a single desktop/application on multiple devices across multiple locations, including an ever increasing Apple Mac community.

Adam Atkinson, desktop manager at UAL, said: "The university had been investigating various methods of delivering desktops and applications from a central point, but was unsure about the method. The time required to fully assess the different solutions and technologies was a daunting prospect, knowing that one delivery method would not suit all of our users."

Atkinson said the Citrix Campus Agreement and using Citrix XenDesktop 4 would allow the university to focus on how best to deliver the applications and desktops, rather than worrying about the licensing requirements for each technology.

Patricia Reid, IT support manager at UAL, said: “It has taken the higher education sector nearly five years to achieve this agreement through discussions with Citrix, [charity] EduServ and [university body] UCISA. The agreement will make it more cost effective for us to license our Citrix environment."

The new licensing model is based on a full-time equivalent (FTE) count of both students and staff using a fixed price point.

It includes unlimited access on a campus-wide basis, and includes work-at-home rights and flexible subscription benefits. The agreement covers XenDesktop 4 desktop management and EdgeSight, a real-time system-monitoring tool. It also supports the university's existing Citrix Access Gateway platform.

XenDesktop 4 will enable the university to deliver on-demand applications to physical or virtual desktops, with students and faculty able to access their full Windows desktop at any location using any device.

The enterprise and platinum editions of the new XenDesktop 4 Feature Pack 2 include both the previously announced XenClient bare metal hypervisor and the XenVault encryption software, which is designed to protect corporate data on laptops used by contractors or employees who bring their own computers into work.

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