Choosing to implement a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), with VMware Horizon, the College can now enable its students to enjoy a consistent and reliable IT experience. Login and application loading times have reduced from 20 minutes to less than a minute, while previous sessions of downtime, which could last several days, are now a thing of the past. Students are now more productive when using the IT, improving their overall college experience and increasing the likelihood of them completing the course.
Staff also benefit from the VMware deployment and can access their desktop – including email and vital teaching applications – from home, increasing productivity and flexibility.
The new VDI system also allows the college to make substantial costs savings in maintaining its 1,000 desktops, including over £18k per year in power savings, an estimated £50k over the next five years in VDI maintenance costs (due to the previous system’s lack of reliability) and they are able to halve the annual PC repair budget of £10k. Additionally, after cutting the number of help desk calls the IT team has been able to move away from reactive activity, focusing instead on deploying resources into proactive activities – including evaluating more effective and efficient ways of running the college’s infrastructure.
Based in the North East of England, Hartlepool College of Further Education has more than 1,500 full-time students – with a further 7,000 in part-time education – and 450 staff. The college has existed since 1897, though it has been located at its current site on Stockton Street since the 1960s. In 2011, the college building was replaced by a modern, purpose-built campus which still occupies the now familiar Stockton Street site in the centre of Hartlepool.
Hartlepool College offers a wide range of courses, including higher education and apprenticeships, in sectors as diverse as construction, health, service industries and sports science.
With responsibility for the entirety of the organisation’s IT infrastructure, including the telephone systems, audio-visual equipment and IT hardware and software, Hartlepool College’s IT department faced significant pressures. Numbering only eight, the team was constantly in demand to ensure a smooth and productive IT experience across its 1,000 desktop PCs for its students, teaching and admin staff.
Cost and space reductions
The IT team was also developing a plan for the IT infrastructure at a new college facility and was tasked with making a number of significant cuts. It needed to make a 20% reduction in the amount of space required for IT, in order to open up more space for student learning. Additionally, in line with the college’s green agenda – and increasingly squeezed budgets – the department was also asked to cut down on the level of air conditioning required as well as the general power consumption for hardware.
Finally, due to a drop in government spending, it was becoming increasingly difficult to replace outdated and end-of-life hardware. The IT department would be forced to keep old, outdated PCs running for longer, often refreshing only a portion of the hardware – or even delaying the refresh by up to a year at a time.