Universities Deliver Modern Applications to Students With NVIDIA GRID

by Rachel Berry

Universities are always looking toward the future and what it takes to deliver a modern education to an ever growing population of students. Educational institutions not only have to deliver and train students on new and innovative applications, they also have to meet the student demand for access to courses and resources anytime and from anywhere. Virtualization solves many of the challenges facing the education space and many of NVIDIA GRID’s early adopters were universities determined to deliver modern applications for a modern education.

There are  dozens of education success stories featuring solutions built on both Citrix and VMware and using both vGPU and GPU-passthrough technologies. These stories provide insight into the many ways universities and educational providers around the world utilize NVIDIA GRID to increase mobility and security, reduce costs and improve the facilities and resources available to students.

Roger Williams University

The Rogers Williams University was struggling to virtualize their architecture school. The biggest hurdle in the transition to a virtual desktop infrastructure for its architecture students was the ability to effectively provide access to the graphics-rich applications that students require. Roger Williams deployed NVIDIA GRID using Citrix XenDesktop, XenServer on R720 Dell Servers to deploy Autodesk AutoCAD and Revit, Adobe Creative Suite. The deployment was so successful they are moving toward having 100% of students on VDI in the near future. You can read more of this case study here.

Corona-Norco School District

School districts like Corona-Norco have a different set  of educational challenges. This case study highlights the particular challenges of BYOD (bring your own device) across a district and the use of both Cisco and NVIDIA GRID to overcome them. “With Cisco UCS and NVIDIA GRID boosting performance, we can offer virtual, high-performance workstations. Before, we didn’t have enough physical machines to deliver these types of classes effectively,” said Brian Troudy, director, networking & infrastructure. You can read more here.

NC State University

This particular use case is a good reminder that universities do far more than deliver apps to students or run classes. Universities are often involved in industrial and government projects and collaborations that require exacting standards of security and availability. NC State used GRID together with VMware Horizon and vSphere technologies to assist in delivering the Naval ROTC Training Simulator deployment for the U.S Navy. In addition they leveraged GRID to deploy key applications such as SolidWorks, AutoCAD and other products in the Autodesk portfolio for faculty and student projects including simulations and fluid dynamics. You can read more about the project in a case study published by VMware here.

Butler County Community College

Butler County Community College involved NVIDIA GRID, Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp on top of VMware vSphere/ESXi to deploy SolidWorks, AutoDesk Building Design Suite, Adobe® Creative Cloud. “We saw some immediate savings by deploying low-cost thin clients. Going forward, the total cost of our GRID-enabled VDI deployment will be roughly 10% to 15% of the total cost of replacing individual PCs at a rate of every two to four years compared to replacing thin clients every seven to ten years,” said Robert Fullwood, Desktop and Application Delivery Specialist at Butler. You can read more in the full NVIDIA case study.  

UMass Lowell

You can also watch a recent deep-dive recording of Steve Athanas, Director of Platform & Systems Engineering at UMass Lowell discussing his implementation of  NVIDIA GRID with VMware Horizon. In this webinar Athanas highlights the ability to bring mobility and access to students from anywhere.

More and more universities are turning to NVIDIA GRID to gain the mobility, performance, security and user experience necessary to deliver modern applications for a modern education. To learn more about GRID for you university or school check out our GRID forums. Read the VMware blog to learn more about universities using NVIDIA GRID with VMware Horizon.