Chris Fulkerson, assistant vice president/CIO, presented to the Executive Forum at the national Datatel Users Group meeting held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington, DC on March 6th. As part of the Datatel Users Group meeting, the Executive Forum is an all day program for Presidents, CIO’s and other executives of colleges and universities.
Mr. Fulkerson’s topic was “Preparing for the Inevitable Technology Changes.” He presented how Elon University uses its technology planning process to strategically prepare the University for the new and constantly changing technologies. In his discussion, he talked about how Elon is moving to virtual desktop and virtual applications. The move to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is in anticipation of increasingly mobile computing. With the VDI, a student is able to log into a computer lab virtually, using any mobile device such as a laptop (Windows or Macintosh), an iPad type of tablet or any other mobile device that has access to the internet. Using a browser, students can log into an Elon virtual computer lab from anywhere in the world. The computer they access will actually be running on a server, yet look and function just like any computer that they normally use in a lab setting. No longer are they bound by a room or the hours of a computer lab—virtually any room or space can become a computer lab as long as they have access to the internet.
The virtual application project is slightly different. Elon University has virtualized applications that students, faculty and staff use occasionally. Rather than buy everyone a copy of the software just in case they use it, Elon provides the software for when they need it. For example, a faculty member may need to use a particular software 3 or 4 times a year. Rather than purchase a copy of the software for that faculty member, they can use the software that is housed and operated on a server. All the processing takes place on the server sending images of what is taking place back to the faculty member’s computer. Virtual applications allow for better control of resources for licensing software.
For more information about Elon virtual applications go to: https://wiki.elon.edu/display/TECH/myElon+VirtualApps