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Scottsdale Community College Teams with Citrix to Bring Virtual Desktops to 12,000 Students and Faculty

Citrix Systems, Inc. announced today that Scottsdale Community College (SCC), in Scottsdale, Ariz., has launched “mySCC,” a Web-based portal that gives nearly 12,000 students and staff free, anytime access to virtual desktops, applications, personal files and network resources from any computer with Internet access. Citrix® XenDesktop™, with FlexCast™ delivery technology, makes mySCC possible by delivering virtual desktops and applications to every student from any PC, Mac, laptop or smartphone of their choice. Moving to desktop virtualization and mySCC allowed SCC to realized an annual IT savings of $250,000 by enabling easy centralized management of desktops and applications and reducing the need to refresh expensive hardware.

Faced with a growing need to enable a more virtual work style for students and staff, combined with rising IT costs, SCC decided to try a new approach last year. Rather than constantly spending resources on new hardware just to maintain the status quo – which limited funding for expanding availability, advanced technology and even new educational software – the college implemented the full Citrix desktop virtualization portfolio virtual desktops with on-demand access to applications to power mySCC.

One of the key components of XenDesktop is the ability to provide applications on demand, which gives users the flexibility to access their applications from any location on any device. Using mySCC, students, faculty and staff now have access to a virtual desktop and more than 100 software applications, including AutoCAD modeling software by AutoDesk; Adobe Creative Suite; Microsoft Visual Studio, Internet Explorer and Office; MicroGrade classroom management software; QuickBooks accounting software; and many others.

According to Dustin Fennell, SCC’s chief information officer, the college did not need new funding to finance mySCC. “We simply redirected money that would have been spent on PC upgrades to pay for Citrix’s desktop virtualization implementation,” he said. “In addition to greatly simplifying desktop management, SCC is saving approximately $250,000 per year on hardware refreshes by using XenDesktop to deliver virtual desktops and applications. Our deployment benefits students greatly and makes good business sense for the college in the long run.”

SCC first rolled out XenDesktop in August 2008 to improve efficiency and access to desktops and applications. After a great response to student pilot programs, mySCC was launched to the entire student body during the spring 2009 semester. Students no longer have to shoulder the burden of expensive software purchases or depend on on-campus PCs for access to the materials and applications required to complete their coursework. They also have the flexibility to access their virtual desktops and apps using any device they choose.

“Whether it's an architectural technology student who needs access to AutoCAD software, a graphic design student who needs Adobe InDesign to complete an assignment or an employee who needs access to Microsoft Word from their personal computer to make a quick change to a meeting agenda, mySCC provides immediate and seamless entry into a world of information and resources,” said Dr. Jan Gehler, Scottsdale Community College president.

The IT management benefits of SCC’s new Citrix centralized virtual desktop environment mean big savings in time and other IT resources for the college. Application upgrades, patches and even new software installations are implemented in the datacenter – with no need to “touch” every computer on the campus – accomplishing in a few short hours what took days or weeks in a traditional computing environment. Virtualized desktops in the computer lab and classrooms also make it easy to re-provision operating systems and deliver, in moments, the applications and data required by diverse student groups.

“Scottsdale Community College has raised the bar for desktop virtualization in the higher education environment,” said David Podwojski, director of Government, Education & Health for Citrix. “XenDesktop with FlexCast delivery technology gives the college the flexibility they need to deliver any kind of virtual desktop to students and faculty, and provide on-demand access to the applications they need, wherever they are, on any device. In addition, SCC is able to apply the resulting significant IT savings to other important projects.”

Scottsdale Community College, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, offers more than 1,500 academic and non-credit classes each semester. From Motion Picture/Television Production and Culinary Arts to Nursing and American Indian Studies, students have a wide variety of programs from which to earn credits for university transfer, launch their careers, train for new ones or pursue a special interest. The SCC Business Institute offers customized programs to meet the needs of local business. It is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges.

Published Wednesday, January 13, 2010 6:38 PM by David Marshall
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