September 08, 2011, 4:39 PM — Although desktop virtualization is still a relatively new technology, Ravi Ravishanker is no stranger to it. He helped implement VDI projects at Pace University and Wesleyan University in recent years and now is overseeing a rollout at Wellesley College, the all-women's school west of Boston where he serves as CIO. I met with Ravishanker earlier this year in person and followed up by email with this series of questions that he and his staff answered about the school's deep dive into virtualization technologies.
Give me a thumbnail sketch of your overall IT setup.
Wellesley has both wired and wireless networks on campus, exclusively Cisco hardware. From the fall of 2011, we decommissioned the wired connectivity in the residence halls based on usage patterns over the past several semesters and the cost of upgrading the back-end infrastructure for supporting wired connectivity there. We have 1Gbps connectivity to the commodity Internet through Lightower Fiber Networks, a 100Mbps backup connection through Cogent. We have a secondary 1Gbps connection to Harvard for Internet 2 connectivity that is currently not being used and we are working with Lightower to reuse it for other purposes such as redundancy. Our servers are both Windows and Linux; we use Active Directory, Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, Java and PHP. Our Learning Management system is Sakai (hosted by Longsight) and we have moved over 3,500 users to Google Apps for Education and the remainder will be moved by the end of this calendar year. Our ERP is Banner. We are a merged library/IT organization with 85 staff members (not all of them full time). We have approximately 2,400 students (the population on campus varies because of study abroad) and about 1,500 faculty, staff and others.
Tell me about the VDI project.