Le Moyne College Invests in Technology-Rich Campus; Is Recognized as a Top Undergraduate Educational Institution

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College Teams up with Annese & Associates to Roll Out Campus-Wide Virtual Desktop Deployment

Frank Ridzi, Le Moyne College

Frank Ridzi, Assistant Professor of Sociology/Director of Urban and Regional Studies, Le Moyne College

Virtualization has allowed us, as expected, to save on the order of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year. We’ve also been able to lengthen the lifecycle of our PCs...We’re now looking at a six to seven year lifecycle.

Annese & Associates, Inc., an integrated communications systems provider, teamed up with Le Moyne College, named one of the best undergraduate educational institutions in the nation on the 2014 Princeton Review, to launch a campus-wide desktop virtualization initiative as a means of rewriting the role that IT plays in the academy.

Shaun Black, Acting Director of IT at Le Moyne, notes that the College’s IT team had historically been bogged down with troubleshooting and supporting desktop technologies. Since moving over to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment, the IT staff is now able to be a physical presence in the classroom and work hand-in-hand with students and professors to provide the best overall technical learning experience.

Virtualization enables a centrally supported desktop environment, promoting a consistent experience to users. Students can log-in to the same working desktop from anywhere—be it in the classroom, in a lab on campus, in their pajamas at home, or at a local coffee shop—and from any device.

While the “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon is still relatively novel in corporate and K–12 environments, colleges and universities have been adapting their networks and policies to accommodate personal computing devices for quite some time. What has changed in the last couple of years is the quantity of mobile devices that the nomophobic* generation carries around and the fact that students expect their campus to support reliable, secure wireless connectivity. Virtualization paves the way for cloud computing and BYOD, while lessening power consumption, and bettering the utilization of the physical server.

The investment has also tackled high desktop costs for the College.

"Virtualization has allowed us, as expected, to save on the order of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year,” said Shaun. “We’ve also been able to lengthen the lifecycle of our PCs. In the past we’ve purchased hardware roughly every four years—we’re now looking at a six to seven year lifecycle, so there’s tremendous savings on that.”

Manually installing or upgrading software onto each campus desktop was once a time-consuming task. Since the VDI deployment, Le Moyne can centrally configure an update once to the VM running in its data center. The changes will be implemented as soon as the user simply refreshes their virtual desktop image. A software update can now be completed in as little as three hours.

“Virtualization allows us to easily provide a custom environment for faculty,” continues Shaun. “Some classes need certain software that others do not; so, instead of burdening every computer on campus, we can install them on certain ones.”

Commuters have benefitted greatly from the investment. Prior to the deployment, non-residential students had to remain on campus to use certain programs and applications required to complete their coursework. Now, Le Moyne commuters have the flexibility of accessing campus network resources at home through a secure virtual desktop interface. Virtual labs enable professors to present their course materials online and enrich the educational experience for the student.

“We’re only touching the tip of the iceberg in what we think virtualization’s going to allow us to do,” said Shaun.

*Nomophobia: The fear of being without a mobile device.

About Annese & Associates, Inc.

Expertise. Relationships. Innovation. Throughout the past four decades, these principles have established the foundation upon which Annese & Associates has emerged as the trusted adviser to our customers, partners, and communities. With a full-circle approach to integrating communications systems, Annese wraps professional and managed services around Infrastructure, Collaboration and Data Center Virtualization solutions. Guided by our services methodology, we design an end-to-end IT experience for our clients, implementing the tools of today and administering a plan for tomorrow. Our business is the art, science, and passion of connecting devices to networks, people to people, and ideas to action.

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Christina Nordquist
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