2 page Case Study
Posted: 7/15/2010
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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Reduces Costs and Creates a Collaborative Learning Environment with Windows 7

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* Windows 7 is a total solution that suits our needs … as soon as we saw the improvements that Windows 7 has introduced in VDI, we decided to deploy it to our computer labs. *

Lawrence Law
Director
Information Technology Service Centre, HKUST

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Business Needs

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is a proactive and dynamic local university with 18 years of history. HKUST currently has three computer labs under the management of the Information Technology Services Centre, with a total of 300 computers serving 9,000 students. Seats in the laboratories are scarce, especially during peak seasons.

Moreover, under a new scheme to change the academic structure in Hong Kong, the university will see a significant increase in student population in the coming years. This will put further pressure on IT resources.

HKUST also aims to create a more collaborative style of education. To achieve this, the university needs to create more channels of discussion. One option would be to increase the number of computer labs on campus – a costly approach.

HKUST opted for an alternative, more ambitious, plan. They decided to launch a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) project that would enable students to access educational software anywhere on campus, future-proofing the university’s IT team against the challenge of a rapidly increasing user count.

Solution

As most computers in HKUST are Windows-based, the university chose Windows Server® 2008 R2 to deploy virtual desktops so that students, with Windows® 7 installed in their notebook or netbook computers, can use a remote desktop function to access the resources stored in computer laboratories. To obtain a model of student remote-desktop usage and needs, HKUST launched a pilot project in December 2009.

“Education involves extensive use of multimedia and the multimedia performance of virtual desktop in Windows 7 is much faster than that of Windows XP,” says Lawrence Law, director of IT services center at HKUST.

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* Microsoft technology on VDI supported by Windows Server 2008 R2, enables HKUST to streamline application deployment, making desktop access much easier and faster for students. *

Lawrence Law
Director
Information Technology Service Centre, HKUST

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“Windows 7 is a total solution that suits our needs,” says Law. “As a university, we need to keep up with the latest technologies. We hope our students can apply technology that will be mainstream and popular when they graduate and enter the workforce. As soon as we saw the improvements Windows 7 has introduced in VDI, we decided to deploy it to our computer labs.”

Lawrence Law, Director, Information Technology Service Centre, HKUST
Lawrence Law, Director,
Information Technology Service
Centre, HKUST
Benefits

By deploying virtual desktops for Windows 7 in their computer labs, HKUST has experienced a number of benefits:

Enhanced learning experience; The user-friendly remote desktop function is readily available to all students using Windows. It facilitates collaborative learning, which helps students improve their academic performance. “We believe that a collaborative learning environment is essential today,” says Law. “Collaborative learning also helps to cultivate soft skills, including communication, team work, and leadership. Students can now access their virtualized Windows 7 desktops remotely anywhere on campus or from any online PC. With VDI, they have true mobility, extraordinary data protection and real control without compromising usability, letting them enjoy the same desktop experience anywhere, anytime. This fosters collaborative learning as a means of achieving a new level of efficiency.”

Simplified IT administration; By using VDI technology, the HKUST IT team can build virtual PCs on a centralized server, which can be seen as a substitute for normal PCs. This reduces the IT team’s workload: “Microsoft® technology on VDI supported by Windows Server 2008 R2, enables us to streamline application deployment, making desktop access much easier and faster for students. At the same time, the server-stored desktop gives IT staff much greater control than before—upgrades now take a fraction of the time they used to, and security has been improved,” says Law. With virtual PCs centralized, it is also easier to manage and deploy anti-virus software.

Reduced costs; Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 helped HKUST save money on hardware because they did not need to buy more computers to cope with the demands of the new 3-3-4 structure. They simply installed wireless LAN 11n to provide a rapid Internet connection for students. They did not need to carry out major upgrades to their servers. They also plan to close down some computer labs so that more vacant space can be made available for other uses. “Space is precious in Hong Kong,” says Law. “The future computer labs will be transformed into small cubicles in which students can bring their own netbooks to access software and other peripherals in our virtual labs.

Windows 7

Windows 7 is designed to improve the performance of the PC. It is even faster, more secure, and more reliable than previous operating systems. It will enable businesses to improve IT productivity, make people productive anywhere, reduce management costs and enhance security and control. For more information about Windows 7, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/hk/windows/windows-7.

Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 R2 is designed to help organizations reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies, it provides enhanced management control over resources across the enterprise. It is designed to provide better energy efficiency and performance by reducing power consumption and lowering overhead costs. It also helps provide improved branch office capabilities, exciting new remote access experiences, streamlined server management, and expands the Microsoft virtualization strategy for both client and server computers. For more information about Windows Sever 2008 R2, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008.

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 9000 employees

Organization Profile

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is one of the foremost providers of tertiary education in Hong Kong. It currently has 9000 students


Software and Services
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008

Vertical Industries
Education

Country/Region
Hong Kong SAR

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

Languages
English

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