Success Story: Oxley College

Enhancing Existing Resources

Oxley College is a leading Christian college in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs with students from Kindergarten to Year 12. Oxley College’s four-person IT team, led by IT Director Charmaine Nell, manages close to 650 physical desktop and laptop computers with a virtual infrastructure that was based on VMware and data residing on an EMC AX4 SAN.

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The Challenge

With more than 1000 students and 130 staff members on campus, the school is home to more than 600 desktop and laptop computers. Oxley’s ageing desktop hardware was due to be replaced and the IT team was not using its time efficiently. They were spending most of their time supporting ageing hardware, as opposed to improving IT services to its end users. Nell determined that the first step was improving and standardising services for staff.

“Because we didn’t prescribe a specific standard laptop, staff had to relinquish ownership of their privately owned property and we were supporting a mixed bag of hardware. With a diverse range of laptops and operating systems, the processes we have for managing them are time consuming.”

The Solution

The IT team at Oxley College explored VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) options that would include a migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 and access to school resources from any location and any device. They reviewed both VMware’s and Citrix’s Desktop Virtualisation solutions and proceeded with Citrix XenDesktop due to the maturity of the product and the many deployment options available via Citrix’s Flexcast Architecture.

“The previous service providers I had used weren’t strong in VDI which was one of the factors in choosing Cloud Solutions Group, who had the expertise we were looking for,” said Nell.

In late 2012, CSG proposed a Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 Proof of Concept on Oxley’s existing infrastructure, which was successful. The solution featured hosted VDI, hosted shared desktop and applications on demand. In addition, the solution also allowed secure remote access from any location and any device.

“The solution was about streamlining what we have and using it more effectively and efficiently,” said Nell.

After obtaining approval from the school’s board, work on a two-stage solution began in April 2013. After all staff members have access to VDI, the service will be rolled out to students in 2014.

The Future

Nell has been impressed by CSG’s customer service and level of expertise.

“They have been very prompt in their responses and I would not hesitate to highly recommend them to others.”

With stage one of the plan underway as of mid-2013; the school’s relationship with CSG will extend to 2014 when students will have access to VDI. Nell is looking at starting an iPad program, in which students can purchase their own iPads and enjoy remote access to school resources.

An upcoming migration to Windows 7, from Windows XP, will address all on-site desktops as well as personal laptops.

“Cloud Solutions Group has really assisted us in finding the most appropriate solutions moving forward,” says Nell.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them.”

Key Benefits

  • Staff can securely access school resources from any device and any location
  • No recorded downtime
  • Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7
  • IT staff no longer having to support non standardised ageing hardware

Technology Used

  • EMC VNX 5300 FC SAN with four HP DL380 Dual 8 Core servers with 96GB of RAM
  • Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp
  • Citrix NetScaler VPX HA Pair to load balance connections and provide secure remote access
  • VMware vSphere 5.0 Update 1
  • Windows 7 XenDesktop virtual machines to provide staff and teachers a Windows 7 desktop

Solution Areas

  • Ability to support BYOD program
  • Virtual Desktops and Applications available to staff
  • Staff are able to work remotely at their convenience
  • Improved end user experience
  • Improved productivity