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University of East London

Case Study

The Challenge

The University of East London (UEL) has a student body of 15,000 students and 2,000 staff. The IT infrastructure provided to the staff and student environment was based on a heavily-modified version of Windows XP. Performance in the physical desktop and virtual desktop environment was sub-optimal. The tools the University had in-place to manage the desktop environment did not provide an upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Additionally, legacy roaming profiles were in use for the majority of staff users, there was no central application library and applications were often manually deployed to individual user’s machines. The University IT department needed to provide a more modern operating system environment to all users and at the same time provide a platform for the improved centralised management of the distributed Windows environment.

The performance of the University VDI environment had begun to degrade as more users accessed the infrastructure in this way. A new approach was need to enable the rapid provisioning of applications into this environment which could work in conjunction with the new management tools being implemented for the physical desktop environment. The final solution needed to replace a number of legacy disconnected tools reducing the management overhead, improving collaboration and reducing management costs.

The Solution

Apajove were contracted by the University to assist in the rapid deployment of a collection of technologies to enable the refresh of the Windows physical and virtual desktop estate. Using the Apajove Accelerate offering we helped the University IT department to create and deploy Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 with Office 2013 to the student and staff environment.

Apajove Accelerate is built on the foundation of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack and a collection of custom tools. Together this solution enabled a rapid adoption of new technologies into the customer environment, delivering deployment capability in a short initial engagement.

Following completion of the OS image phase, Apajove assisted UEL in deployment of highly-available App-V streaming capabilities for the VDI environment to ensure large numbers of thin-provisioned virtual machines could be made available at very short notice. Apajove also deployed the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) to enable management of mobile devices in Configuration Manager.

The University IT support team have very capably reengineered the approach to all elements of management of the desktop and VDI infrastructure. The team have embraced a centralised IT model and are delivering a vastly improved experience for staff and users with a smaller number of tools and interfaces and a focus on robust systems management to provide a modern computing environment for the University into the future.

Rapid OS Refresh

Systems Management Retooling

Client Machines

Applications Virtualised

Design & Build Time (days)

Amazing Result

Time to reimage a machine down to 20 minutes.

User configuration automatically migrated

Through integration with Microsoft User State Migration Tools all required user data and configuration is retained during the OS refresh or machine replacement.

Removal of point-solution 3rd party tools and licenses

3rd Party tools for anti-virus, application deployment, remote control, application packaging, inventory, security configuration and reporting were replaced with the System Center product set.

Low-cost solution using existing software licenses

The University’s existing Campus Agreement included the licenses for all the products used in the project. No new license purchase was required, and a number of existing licensed products were replaced with functionality included in Configuration Manager and MDOP.