For organizations on shoe-string budgets with small IT staffs, NComputing's oneSpace presents an affordable way to deliver virtual desktops and applications to users.
The challenge of giving users access to applications with a small IT staff became a reality for the Adler School of Professional Psychology, with over 1,300 students at campuses in Chicago and Vancouver, in addition to over 200 faculty and staff members.
The school considered several options for desktop and application virtualization, including Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, Citrix XenApp, VMware Horizon View, and also assessed desktop as a service platforms, but was impressed with its beta test of NComputing oneSpace. The unified workspace platform gives students access to apps across multiple devices at a price that fits within the school's budget, according to Paul Collins, Adler's associate vice president of technology.
"There is a greater and greater demand, especially by our students, to interact [with] and access our core student-facing systems on anything," Collins said.
Paul CollinsAVP of technology, Adler School of Professional Psychology
While the school was happy with the XenApp test, the product was too expensive, according to Collins.
Instead of delivering an entire desktop to end users, oneSpace gives users access to specific virtualized applications -- be they Windows, Web or software as a service applications -- and file shares with mobile-friendly gestures. It uses NComputing's vSpace server virtualization platform with added components, including a content aggregation service that collects cloud-based and on-premises files into a unified workspace.
Adler had switched its computer lab fleet over to NComputing thin client desktops two years ago, a move that reduced help desk request volume by around 50%, according to Collins. While the school's usage of oneSpace is still in beta and it has not calculated potential cost and IT overhead service savings yet, it does believe it will save money over competing products.
End users can access their desktops and apps through the oneSpace client for Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices. There have been some compatibility and performance issues with Mac desktops and laptops, but Adler hopes the full HTML 5 client, expected in a new release later this year, will clear up the issue, Collins said.
"When the new client comes out, we are really pinning high hopes on that unifying the experience across all of our platforms we need to support," he said.
The platform saves students from needing to acquire licenses for applications and tools to complete their coursework, including the Microsoft Office suite and statistical analysis software from IBM and Atlas ti.
"Students expect to click on something, log into something and, voila, have access to the thing you are looking to gain access to," Collis said.
All Adler's users need is a "decent" connection as slow as 800 Kbps to 1.2 Mbps to get good performance out of the oneSpace virtual environment, according to Collins.
NComputing oneSpace is available now in both on-premises and cloud-hosted deployments. It starts at less than $1 per day per user.