Bishop Auckland College
Bishop Auckland College achieves massive performance gains with VDI Bishop Auckland College is a further education college located in the town of Bishop Auckland, in the North East of England. It offers full-time courses for school leavers and undergraduates, as well as a comprehensive range of part-time education services for adults. In total the college has over 8,500 full and part-time students.
In addition to its main campus in Bishop Auckland, the college operates two additional sites off campus, including the South West Durham Training Centre in Newton Aycliffe, which specialises in technical engineering and construction courses for over 200 students. Since many of these engineering courses require students to use advanced Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages such as AutoCAD, the college had previously invested in 25 high performance workstations with dedicated GPUs, with the remaining 75 PCs being regular desktop workstations.
With only 25 PCs capable of running AutoCAD for the more than 200 students who required it, increasing the number of high-performance workstations was a top priority for the college.
What’s more, since all of the site’s 100 PCs were reaching their end-of-life, even the high-performance PCs were struggling to run the latest versions of AutoCAD at acceptable levels. The college therefore decided to use the pending refresh as an opportunity to expand the number of high performance workstations available to students. The question was how to do this without breaking the bank, given that dedicated high-performance workstations typically cost two to three times more than regular ones.
Having previously invested in a VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) for the bulk of its workstations on the main campus, the college was keen to investigate whether modern VDI solutions could deliver the high-end desktop performance it required.
“We were big believers in the scale and value-for-money that VDI could deliver for regular workstations since we were already running it on the main campus,” commented Wayne Longton-Worley, Head of IT Services at Bishop Auckland College. “But we also knew it had a poor reputation for 3D graphical performance. We were asking a lot of VDI. We didn’t just want it to match the 3D rendering capabilities of the latest dedicated workstations, we wanted it to outperform them. At the same time it had to deliver this to all 100 PCs in the building and cost significantly less than standalone workstations.”
With their demands set, Bishop Auckland College set to work testing the performance of numerous solutions that delivered high-end graphics in a VDI environment.