Providing universal access to software across campuses at Seneca College
We visited Seneca College, Ontario to chat about how their recent implementation of AppsAnywhere has helped improve their IT department and offering. We had a wonderful time catching up with the team; for us at Software2, one of the most rewarding parts of delivering AppsAnywhere is seeing the difference the product has made post-implementation.
Watch the video to learn more about the benefits and successes Seneca College are experiencing with AppsAnywhere, and why, as is the case with every higher education institution we've spoken to, it is a more viable and more effective solution than the likes of Citrix and VMware.
So Software2 has helped with the student experience in terms of ability to access software at any campus. In the past, our students had to travel between campuses. Sometimes the campus lab would be full and so the ability to now have students access software anytime, anywhere at any campus has improved their experience.
Alvin Shum, Director of Service Delivery, Seneca College, ON.
Imaging is an archaic technology that's extremely old. We need something that's new, robust and actually can deliver application systems anytime, anywhere and that's why we decided to go with Software2.
Seneca College has established eight campuses with four major ones across the greater Toronto area. 17,000 students come to Seneca on a full time basis and 90,000 in total including part-time in the course of a year. Our main challenge is in facing software delivery across all the campuses was that we're very inefficient in terms of our resources so our staff were running around looking at how to image computers with software being updated or request for software from faculty at the very last minute.
Our image was around 200 gigabytes in size so as you can imagine it took anywhere from four to six hours to image a classroom. In addition to that, changes throughout the semester would be problematic for us as we would have to take a class completely down and then image a classroom in order to get it back on line.
And so it took a lot of effort and energy where we work overtime to get these classrooms up and running.
So we wanted a method of delivering applications to the students desktop instead of the method which was image and application. We actually looked at a couple other virtualization applications, one which was Microsoft App-V but there was a lot of challenges with the App-V. The application stream time, it took a long time for the most heavy applications such as AutoCAD to actually be streamed to the desktop. That wasn't a suitable solution. We also looked into VMware solution and that was a costly solution as well.
As for Citrix that was another option we looked at. The problem with Citrix is that it's backend dependent and at the same time the licensing with regards to these applications is a totally different model that you have to deal with and it costs a lot more.
We reached out to Software2 to see if we could do a pilot and after doing that pilot we were extremely ecstatic about it. It provided exactly what we were looking for and at the cost that we felt was comfortable, what we can afford to spend.
So with Software2 it allows us to consolidate all of our software into a repository that then allowed us to just update and upgrade one particular package and then be able to pull it across all of our workstations at campus.
The new software is on the cloud. We can image a computer in less than five minutes and every script and everything runs 10 minutes. So within 15 minutes the computer will be up and running.
Because of Software2 we're able to do a lot more. The team is able to focus on what we actually give to the students as opposed to focusing on creating these big images and making sure every single application on that desktop works. So we were basically to retool, refine what we deliver to our students and focus more on students needs.
In the old days we maintained eight different images. And now there's only one. One image for everything, so everywhere is the same. When we launch the software, it's the same experience.
So Software2 has helped with the student experience in terms of ability to access software at any campus. In the past our students had to travel between campuses. Sometimes the campus lab would be full and so the ability to now have students access software anytime, anywhere at any campus has improved their experience. So the next phase we are looking at and focusing on is actually the, bring your own device, allowing students to stream and access the software catalog through their own device not necessarily having to use Seneca workstations. The other piece behind that is accessing it from home. So having students the ability to not have to come to campus but being able to do a part-time job or do other activities and then continue their studying and accessing software services from their own environment at home.
Software2 is an amazing company to work with. Their service and support is fantastic. They are there for you throughout the pilot phase, throughout implementation and when you go into full production. It's just an amazing company to work with.
See also Seneca College's presentation on their implementation of AppsAnywhere
Learn more about AppsAnywhere
91% of students expect their institution to provide an "app store" to access their university software. So, in collaboration with our customers, we've developed AppsAnywhere, a beautiful web interface that gives students access to all the software they need, from a customizable portal.
Durham University's Michael Coxon demonstrates the incredible power of AppsAnywhere & Parallels. Watch the video to see Michael running an incredible range of apps on Windows, MacOS, Android and even BBC Micro! (Only joking about BBC Micro).
One of the unique challenges in managing computing in a university is how to deliver apps to students in a cost-effective manner, while ensuring a good user experience...