, Oct 7, 2014
President University Works with Logicalis Metrodata Indonesia to Build Campus-wide Virtual Infrastructure
Located in Jababeka Education Park in Kota Jababeka, Cikarang, Indonesia, President University is one of the few international-standard universities in Indonesia. It was established in 2001 as a research and development centre and positioned as a premier institution of learning, where students from all parts of the world can acquire knowledge and develop into responsible citizens and future leaders.
President University’s curriculum is based on international standards and developed by world-class academics. English is used as the primary teaching language to accommodate the growing number of international students. Since 2007, the university has grown its enrolment from 750 students to about 4,000 students and 200 academic staff, with more than 400 international students coming from countries such as China, Vietnam, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.
“Our computers are heavily utilised. About 80 students use the university’s lab three times a day and each student attends lab classes about thrice a week. This number is growing around 40 percent each year. In 2013, for example, we had 700 students using the network and this year the number increased to 1,000 students. We also face manpower constraints in the IT department but it is imperative for us to be able to grow the IT infrastructure to support the student population growth,” said Mr Kurniawan, IT Manager, IT Division of President University.
Mr Kurniawan said an upgrade to the previous network was a priority, firstly to enable the computer systems to be more user-friendly, and secondly, to provide administrators with an integrated management of the network. Also crucial, he added, was the need to find an IT solution that could offer fast access and processing, time and power savings as well as lower cost maintenance without compromising network security.
After a careful study, the decision to implement a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) for the entire campus was made in early 2014. Mr Kurniawan said the decision to go ahead with the VDI implementation was based on several objectives.
These include the need to:
• Increase the university’s competitiveness by using the latest technology
• Introduce VDI technology to students
• Reduce administrative overheads in the management of campus labs
• Centralise the configuration and management of operating systems
• Benefit from better energy management
• Reduce initial costs per desktop
When searching for a technology provider, Mr Kurniawan said that an initial problem the university faced was that many vendors only offered the option of a one-time product purchase and could not provide the university with the right solution.
“We needed to find a vendor that could do more than sell a box. Logicalis Metrodata Indonesia (LMI) had the right solution, professional services as well as the expert resources. The LMI team was also able to provide the critical information required and was helpful in the VDI implemention,” he said.
The first phase of the VDI implementation took under 30 days, was rolled out across the campus lab networks and completed in September 2014. The university plans to expand the virtual infrastructure to the rest of the university’s staff and lecturers in the next phase, which it expects to complete by 2015.
Mr Kurniawan said the VDI will enable President University to centralise employee and student desktops, applications and data in the date centre. The implementation was deployed across two labs comprising 80 thin clients, two ESXi servers, a virtual centre server and a storage server. The solution included a suite of Cisco cutting-edge technologies such as its Unified Computing System, CVXC 6215, desktop clients and Catalyst 2960 Switch and Virtualisation Experience Client (VXC). Completing the solution were NetApp’s Storage FAS2220A and VMware’s virtualisation software. Applications used on the desktops included Microsoft Office and Visual Studio, Application for Language Lab, MatLab and CodeBlock.
With the virtual infrastructure in place, Mr Kurniawan said it now takes lesser effort to implement new additions for each desktop and the time to implement new desktops has also been reduced by 40 percent.
“We can rapidly deploy new desktops, centrally make updates and changes, and manage and monitor the changes that take place on the desktops. Whenever there is a problem with an update, it is also easy to roll back to the previous stable version of the desktop image,” said Mr Kurniawan. “The benefits from the VDI are reduced cost, time and power savings and easier maintenance. By leveraging the latest technologies from LMI, we have been able to improve our skills and raise the productivity of our academic staff.”
Mr Kurniawan added that when the advanced technology and facilities are completed, this will raise the brand image and competitiveness of President University, attract more students to join and improve revenues for the university.
With the virtual infrastructure in place, Mr Kurniawan said the university is working closely with LMI to seek advice and ideas for the next stage of expansion.
In the pipeline are plans to offer WiFi connectivity – which was previously only available in public areas such as the student hall – to all the students living in the dormitories.
“We are looking at enabling virtual classes to be conducted in the future, and may even deploy and implement Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-service (Cloud IaaS) applications and solutions over the next two to three years,” he said.