S'pore school opts for desktop virtualization

Temasek Polytechnic deploys virtualization tech to help students get better access to compute resources and cut down on manpower and capital investment costs, exec says.

Singapore's Temasek Polytechnic has implemented its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to give students easier access to software applications and free up its IT support staff to focus on more important issues rather than troubleshooting.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the tertiary institution revealed that the decision to virtualize its students' computers is provide learning to them at any time and through any device. It added that the platform is based on Cisco System's Unified Computing System.

Mandy Mak, deputy director of technology and academic computing at Temasek Polytechnic, told ZDNet Asia in a subsequent e-mail that prior to the deployment, the software applications students needed for their courses were installed in specific computers and housed in designated labs.

Furthermore, these computers needed to be constantly upgraded and lab hours had to be extended during project deadlines so that students could complete their work, she noted. In fact, the school needed technical support officers (TSOs) to plan computing resource requirements four months in advance to ensure it was able to provision adequate computing resources to students for each semester.

"We needed 10 TSOs to create master images and set up labs. It was time-consuming, labor intensive and prone to error," Mak said.

With the VDI in place, she noted these issues are mitigated and gives "ease of access for the digital natives, [to] learn anywhere, anytime and on any device". She declined to reveal how much the school invested to set up the platform though.

Research firm IDC had earlier predicted that VDI will become more prevalent in the future. Sandra Ng, group vice president of ICT practice at IDC Asia-Pacific, said in a September report that at least 20 percent of desktops in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to be virtualized by 2020.