UCL opts for virtualisation powered by Citrix

XenDesktop means students and staff can access the files and apps they need, even off campus

University College London (UCL) has implemented Citrix's XenDesktop cloud-based virtualisation software to power a secure workspace its students and staff can use to access the apps and devices they need, wherever they may be.

UCL's students and staff previously had to rely on limited PCs on campus to access the software they needed to complete assignments, or risk using unlicensed applications. File sharing was also an issue because the university had no collaborative virtual space where they could store documents.

The university chose Citrix XenDesktop to provide 24/7 access to all the resources needed because of its ease of use. Students don't have to rely on a VPN and it's as simple as operating an on-site PC.

Additionally, the solution means UCL can react to spikes in demand. When assignments are due at various points throughout the year it doesn't matter if every course has deadlines because the university can set up temporary workspaces, even if the PCs don't have the required software installed on them.

“We now use a number of non-university buildings for teaching," Anthony Peacock, head of Windows infrastructure services, UCL said. "XenDesktop lets us provide those locations with the same applications and facilities that are available on campus.

“Universities have a different approach to IT governance than big business. IT can either say we only support our own stuff, or else help staff and students to do what they want in the right way. The UCL approach is to help people use their own devices in the most secure and effective way possible.”

UCL has a rapidly growing student population and the resources required to service them all is growing too. Offering a solution that means anyone can access anything, anywhere, in a completely secure environment was key.

“The future of work is mobile and secure. In an environment as complex as UCL, Citrix allows the IT team to protect what matters, whilst encouraging flexibility and freedom amongst staff and students," Darren Fields, regional director of Citrix UK & Ireland, said. "UCL’s decision to deploy Citrix technology is testament to its commitment to delivering the best possible service to the staff and students it supports.”

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