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Salem State University Teams with IGEL, Citrix and Nutanix to Deliver Digital Workspaces
Limited IT resources drive need for the IGEL’s robust management features; maturity of Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure, and the simplicity and time-to-value for Nutanix’s hyperconverged infrastructure offering make the combined solution a no-brainer for the university.
When Jake Snyder joined Salem State University’s IT department, the public university located just outside of Boston, Mass. was only using traditional PCs. “95% of the PCs were still on Windows 7 and there was no clear migration path in sight to Windows 10,” recalls Snyder. “Additionally, all updates to these aging desktop computers were being done locally in the university’s computer labs. Management was difficult and time consuming.”

The university realized something had to change, and that was one of the reasons why they brought Snyder on board – to upgrade its end-user computing environment to VDI. Salem State was looking for the security and manageability that a VDI solution could provide. “One of the biggest challenges that the university had been experiencing was managing desktop imaging and applications,” said Snyder. “They wanted to be able to keep their student, faculty and staff end-points up to date and secure, while at the same time easing the troubleshooting process. They weren’t able to do any of this with their current set-up.”

Snyder first saw a demo of the IGEL solution at the final BriForum event in Boston in 2016. “It was great to see IGEL at that event as I had heard a lot of good buzz around their products and solutions, especially from other colleagues in the industry,” said Snyder. “After BriForum, I went back and ordered some evaluation units to test out within our EUC environment.”

What Snyder quickly discovered during the evaluation period was that the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) was not just plug-and-play, like he had expected. “The IGEL UMS was a very customizable solution, and I liked the robust interface,” continued Snyder. “Despite competitive solutions, it was clear from the start that the IGEL devices were going to be easier to use and cheaper in the long run. IGEL really was a ‘no-brainer’ when you consider the management capabilities and five-year warranty they offer on their hardware.”

Salem State University currently has 400 IGEL Universal Desktop software-defined thin clients deployed on its campus including 360 UD3 thin clients, which are the workhorse of the IGEL portfolio, and 40 UD6 thin clients, which support high-end graphics capabilities for multimedia users. Salem State has also purchased IGEL UD Pocket micro thin clients which they are now testing.
Why backup is breaking hyper-converged infrastructure and how to fix it
The goal of a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is to simplify how to apply compute, network and storage resources to applications. Ideally, the data center’s IT needs are consolidated down to a single architecture that automatically scales as the organization needs to deploy more applications or expand existing ones. The problem is that the backup process often breaks the consolidation effort by requiring additional independent architectures to create a complete solution.

How Backup Breaks Hyperconvergence

Backup creates several separate architectures outside of the HCI architecture. Each of these architectures need independent management. First, the backup process will often require a dedicated backup server. That server will run on a stand-alone system and then connect to the HCI solution to perform a backup. Second, the dedicated backup server will almost always have its own storage system to store data backed up from the HCI. Third, there are some features, like instant recovery and off-site replication, that require production quality storage to function effectively.

The answer for IT is to find a backup solution that fully integrates with the HCI solution, eliminating the need to create these additional silos.