Enabling a mobile campus at Orchard Hill College

Enabling a mobile campus at Orchard Hill College, article from Paul Fisher, Technical Consultant at Parallels

Orchard Hill College in London is an Ofsted Outstanding specialist college with six learning centres across London and Surrey where students with learning difficulties and disabilities over the age of 16 can access a range of specialist vocational programmes from animal care and catering to digital media and more. 

In order to provide a modern working environment and up-to-date working experience, the college’s team of lecturers and staff—around 300 people—need to be able to remotely connect to their work computer desktops, and access all their applications, from anywhere in the college or at home, and on any device they choose.

Remote Desktops for mobile working
The college decided it made sense to go down the remote application publishing and virtual desktop route and its IT department assessed the market offerings. It discovered that a basic Orchard Hill College exteriorCitrix package meant that applications could only be published through XenApp. The college needed to be able to publish its own applications and desktops to laptops and mobile devices being used remotely, but to do this would need to purchase a more expensive license. In addition, the IT department discovered that managing the Citrix environment was complicated and they really needed to invest in some training which would dramatically increase the deployment time for the college.

Because of the real potential for increased workload and costly upgrades, the college decided to go with Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) as a simpler and more cost-effective alternative. With just one license, everything is included.

Why Parallels RAS?
First and foremost, Parallels RAS eliminates the need for expensive add-ons. It is also so simple to set up and maintain, the college IT team can handle it all and there is no requirement for additional help from external technicians. RAS is an all-in-one solution that includes simple patching and updates to all clones, load balancing, automatic configuration of clients, and ready-to-go shadowing features that make technical support easy.

Orchard Hill College found it to be quick and straightforward to migrate across to its new Parallels RAS platform. Instead of the anticipated months, completion took only a few hours, impressing the college’s IT department.

BYOD made easy
An additional benefit – and one that is greatly appreciated – is that faculty and staff at Orchard Hill College can now bring in their own laptops, tablets and mobile devices to work on. This is because Parallels RAS enables the college to implement a data-secure bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, which helps extend the life of its existing hardware and saves the college money in terms of buying replacement devices. The IT department is able to update the administrative documentation on any device, anywhere, including from the comfort of their own homes. The college currently supports BYOD devices that run Windows, Mac®, iOS, and HTML5 Client, and will add support for Chromebooks soon.

Thanks to Parallels RAS, Orchard Hill College has been able to lower the total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) of its remote application management, which give the faculty and staff the ability to work on mobile devices and have a BYOD policy. The savings come from lower licensing costs, reduced additional application costs, an increase in efficiency to load balances, and server management optimisation. 

Visit parallels.com/ras for more information.