Northeastern SoftGrid Press – Congrats

Good article below on a SoftGrid customer deployment. Here’s some of the highlights:

·         That feature helps conserve bandwidth, Atoofi says, requiring 50 percent or less than distributing an entire application at once.

·         SoftGrid also saves Northeastern the time it takes IT staff to test applications and prepare them for distribution. Additionally, the virtual desktop approach has reduced the load on the help desk, because users don't change the applications; everyone is using the application exactly as it appears on the central SoftGrid server. "Not only does it reduce the help desk calls, we can help people more effectively because we see exactly what they see," Atoofi says.

·         Software licensing provided more big savings, since SoftGrid makes it easy to see exactly who is using what applications -- and for how long. In one case, Northeastern bought 1,000 licenses for an application and found it actually needed fewer than 10. IT can also dictate usage, say enabling a user to employ an application only during certain hours.

·         Determining an exact ROI is a bit tricky for an educational institution, Atoofi notes. "But I can easily say it has saved us over 50 percent in everything -- resource allocation, software costs and deployment."

App virtualization paying off for university

Not so long ago, it took Northeastern University some four to five weeks to roll out a new application to one of the more than 1,000 workstations in its various campus laboratories. Today, it takes almost no time -- any user with proper authorization can merely request the application and almost immediately begin using it.

The difference is virtualization software that completely changes the software installation process, and indeed the very meaning of the term "installation." Virtualization also brings savings of 50 percent to 60 percent in people, time and network bandwidth, according to Navid Atoofi, director of system production services at Northeastern, who presented a case study on his experiences with Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization at the recent Network World IT Roadmap Conference & Expo in Boston, where the school is based. The implementation was so successful that the university is now poised to use SoftGrid for all application deployments to its 25,000-plus students, faculty and staff.

 Defining the problem and solution

Before Northeastern implemented SoftGrid in September 2005, installing a new application on a lab machine meant going through a painstaking regression testing process, to ensure the new program would play nice with all the existing applications on the machine. That could take two to three weeks, "and we were always wrong, because there are hundreds and hundreds of applications," Atoofi said in a follow-up interview.

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