The University of Sharjah has implemented virtualized desktops with VMware in an extensive project to transform the way the organization’s 14,000 students and 610 faculty interact with IT and share information. This is part of the university’s digital strategy to attract the best students and lecturers amid strong global competition.
The university deployed VMware Horizon 7 to increase the freedom of students and faculty members to work from anywhere and on any device, while also increasing the efficiency of the delivery of IT services and strengthening security. The technology was first introduced for academic staff and laboratories, before being deployed for all students.
The deployment is also bringing significant cost savings in IT support, helpdesk call volume, desktop management and hardware costs. Centralized management of desktops also gives more robust and easier-to-administer security.
The solution has helped the University of Sharjah to increase the flexibility by delivering Windows desktops and applications to non-Windows devices. VDI also lowered the total cost of ownership per desktop, allowing the university to replace and repurpose PCs with thin clients.
The system also enabled Bring Your Own Device policies to be implemented without sacrificing IT security or control, which helped in modernising the university’s approach to the delivery and management of content.
Rob Irving, IT director at the University of Sharjah, said: “This project with VMware has made the college more agile as the users can quickly get the resources to launch new services that benefit the students, faculty and staff. The IT empowers the college, students and faculty to be successful by giving access to anytime, anywhere learning.”
Irving and his team are also interested in how wearable technology, which is seeing high levels of adoption among students and staff, can be harnessed for the benefit of learning. Irving believes there is potential to harness the data-collecting functionality of wearables and integrate them into the learning environment and administration systems.
The University of Sharjah, an Emirati private national university, was founded by its current president and chairman, the ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, in 1997. The university has 14 colleges offering many programmes at the diploma, bachelor, masters and doctoral levels.