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Saskatchewan Polytechnic Chooses IGEL OS as an End User Computing Solution That ‘Just Works’

IGEL OS Enables the Educational Organization to Avoid Annual End User Computing Hardware Refreshes for a Savings of Cad $1 Million Over 5 Years

IGEL, provider of the next-gen edge OS for cloud workspaces, announces that Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Canada has adopted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) along with IGEL OS to streamline how it delivers, manages and secures its entire end user computing (EUC) environment for over 16,000 students. This comprises 3,200 endpoints in 200 computer laboratories split across four geographically dispersed campuses.

Darryl Meyers, Sask Polytech’s team lead enterprise desktop management, explains, “Students were the catalyst for change. Moving to VDI was a big change with many moving pieces. As part of this we needed a thin client platform that ‘just works’ which IGEL delivers.”

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IGEL OS has been used to quickly convert existing Dell PCs into Linux-based managed endpoints. This means Sask Polytech can extend the lifespan of desktop hardware thereby saving CAD $1 million over five years as devices aren’t refreshed annually. This frees-up budget to invest in other projects and helped to fund the educational institutions move to VDI.

Sask Polytech is Saskatchewan’s only polytechnic and the province’s primary institution for post-secondary applied education and research. Offering more than 150 programs and employing more than 1,500 faculty and staff, Sask Polytech provides certificate, diploma and degree programs and apprenticeship technical training for students on four campuses – Prince AlbertReginaMoose Jaw and Saskatoon – as well as through distance education opportunities and academic partnerships.

Located at its main datacenter in Saskatoon, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops has been installed running on clustered Cisco UCS Servers which utilize VMware’s vSphere Hypervisor.  Sask Polytech worked with Canadian cloud specialist and IGEL reseller, iRangers, on the project.

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Implementing VDI meant a new desktop solution was required to provide connectivity and help the organization meet three primary goals. First, the technology had to be simple to learn, while offering advanced capabilities with easy implementation. Second, the polytechnic wanted to extend the physical lifespan of hardware in VDI-converted labs. Third, a consistent user experience was essential.

VDI has drastically simplified how IT is now managed and enables staff and students to work in any computer lab at any time to access applications specific to their courses rather than being tied to particular physical classrooms and availability based on teaching schedules.

Meyers says, “Our technical team is small. Having something that they could have confidence in supporting properly was a priority. IGEL stood out. It matched our primary goals and then some.  And this has proved to be the case in practice. The simplicity of the system is its biggest advantage as it just works. Anyone can bring a computer online in minutes so we can respond to departmental requests for equipment really fast.”

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The IGEL OS-powered endpoints have also enhanced IT security. Because the OS is 100% locked down, students can’t move icons about, introduce malware or viruses which used to be a constant worry.

Ken Shipman, IGEL’s regional sales manager in Canada, said, “For academic institutions where IT environments are complex and budgets at an absolute premium, IGEL OS is a compelling, unique and defendable solution. Converting and then leveraging existing PC hardware – some of which was 10 years old in Sask Polytech’s case – saves a huge amount of money yet adds all the configuration and management features that anyone could require when tasked with running thousands of endpoints.”

Moving forward, the Sask Polytech EUC team will work on a project to install IGEL OS on desktop computers connected to peripherals in 600 smart classrooms. These devices include overhead projectors, smartboards, document cameras and so on. The target is to convert every computer room and computer to run IGEL OS by the end of 2020.

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