By Dan Berkowitz on January 06, 2016 15:36
My last post discussed the collaborative opportunity we had to help lead, design, and build the overall sketch for a large Midwestern University’s use of vCloud Air and Horizon Air desktops for new online offerings. GANTECH provides services as well as solutions; to create that solution, we listen and ask questions. In essence, we go to school with each customer.
While the University and GANTECH teams were sketching the design together they were also learning from one another. The University administration and faculty were teaching us how they work, how faculty and students interact, course workflow, course support, grading schedules, staffing, applications, as well as how their Operations teams work to provide students with a great user experience. In turn, we were educating the University on all the options that were available within the vCloud and Horizon platforms they’d chosen. All of this knowledge transfer helps identify areas where additional support may be needed and possibly our Managed Services could provide additional support.
The overall solution required Microsoft SQL servers in vCloud Air, VPNs to the Horizon Air platform, new gold patterns (desktops), application installation and configuration, directory and user management, new student onboarding, and acceptance testing. A simple overall solution until you break that out operationally and look at all the components that need to be managed and maintained. The GANTECH team understands the vCloud and Horizon platforms and what each can and cannot provide.
There is a lot operational management that goes into the solution such as two platforms to manage, server and desktop management. Managing a gold pattern can include patch management, Antivirus management, software management, application packaging and virtualization, device configuration and support, not to mention data backup. How often will these configurations need to be updated, modified or reconfigured depends on current processes and will change over time as the solution matures. Additionally there is vCloud Air and SQL server management and monitoring of the platforms, and decommission at the end of the semester.
GANTECH and the University worked together to determine what components E-Learning services had the capability to support and engaged our Managed Services as an extension for additional support. The University already provides E-Learning service desk for student technical support, they manage front line challenges including, access and course-related challenges. GANTECH excels at platform management, application deployment, and end user experience management and monitoring. The University looks to GANTECH as a trusted partner to proactively manage the platform and provide recommendations to enhance the overall solution architecture.
This has been a fantastic opportunity to work with the University to provide courses to students located anywhere in the world built on top of VMware vCloud and Horizon Air. It is an added bonus that we are also providing Managed Services and continuously working to improve the service options while helping to mature the E-Learning options available to the University. We look forward to continuing to build a great relationship.