The Warwick Public Schools district is made up of 22 schools serving a total of just under 9000 students.
When Envision began speaking with them in April of 2016, the focus was on supporting a very specific group, namely students in the district that needed a better way to access CAD software.
The Project's Scope
Warwick Public Schools had a very well defined need for this project, which would cover 4 computer CAD labs spread across two schools (two in the high school and two in the middle school). The main challenge that the schools were having with these labs was access. Students had to physically be in the labs to use the software. Warwick Public Schools wanted to deploy a solution that would allow those students to access the CAD software, and other resources, from home. This solution had to support 30 concurrent students for each lab, or 120 students in total at any given time. Additionally, these students had to be able to use a variety of end-user computing devices to run the district’s portfolio of software applications and the overall solution needed to be easily scalable to accommodate future needs.
High-Performance VDI Experts
As high-performance VDI experts, Envision was immediately interested in this project. We have deep experience deploying similar virtual desktop environments for clients, including higher education institutions (Northeastern University, Boston University) and K-12 schools (Village Green Virtual Charter School). For those previous projects, we had architected solutions that virtualized lab space and which supported high-bandwidth video and other resource-intensive applications. CAD programs are notoriously difficult to deliver virtually, so the fact that Envision had done this many times before positioned us as the perfect partner for Warwick Public Schools to work with for this initiative.
The Envision Solution and the Future
The VDI solution that Envision developed for Warwick Public Schools started with Dell servers outfitted with the newest generation NVIDIA cards. These servers leveraged VMware Horizon software and vSAN with Liquidware Labs used for profile management. This allowed us to deploy fully redundant infrastructure that boasted outstanding speed and performance. In fact, frame rate performance doubled under Envision’s solution! This gave students not only the ability to finally access the CAD software from home, but they could remotely work with the programs without any lag or performance compromises.
Doug Alexander, the Director of Technology for Warwick Public Schools, acknowledged the success of this project, stating that “the Envision Technology Advisors team that worked with me on my project was very knowledgeable and we are thrilled with our VDI implementation.”
With this deployment completed and running for Warwick Public Schools' CAD-using students, the district has now begun to turn their attention to the larger student population. Conversations about how this high-performance VDI environment could be used throughout the school system have begun, all part of the district’s mission to “enable all students to develop skills and knowledge necessary to become self-directed, life-long learners, highly productive responsible citizens, and contributors to a technological and diverse society.” Envision is excited to be able to help Warwick Public Schools with that mission.