About Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Indiana University-Purdue University (IPFW) Fort Wayne is the largest public university in northeast Indiana, offering nearly 200 prestigious Indiana University and Purdue University degrees.
IPFW wanted to give students in computer labs access to the applications they need, but wanted to avoid granting them administrator rights to download applications since this could introduce stability issues. "In the past, anytime a student needed something new on their system, we either had to physically go to the machine, or give them administrator rights," said Jacob Pitcher, networked application specialist for Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
As with most complex IT environments, IPFW struggled with applications that were a challenge to deploy. "Problems can arise when applications are sharing DLL files, for example," said Michael Mourey, manager of Infrastructure Engineering for Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. "Likewise, some applications like Adobe Creative Suite are very picky about processes running in the background when they're installing. We knew that deploying these applications in a virtualized, contained environment would resolve these issues."
The university was also looking to enhance its user provisioning capabilities, which required a series of manual processes that were both time-consuming and prone to error.
The university evaluated several solutions, including VMware ThinApp and Microsoft SoftGrid, but ultimately selected Application Virtualization.
"We found that Application Virtualization provided the functionality we needed and cost significantly less than the other products," said Mourey. "The GUI interface, which is quite user-friendly, was also very appealing," said Pitcher.
IPFW now uses Application Virtualization to virtualize applications, such as Adobe Creative Suite, Mathematica and Macromedia, and then deploy them to workstations across the campus. IPFW can now run virtualized applications in a contained environment that's immune to conflicts with other applications. "By virtualizing and isolating applications, we can effectively avoid installation headaches," said Mourey.
IPFW uses ZENworks to remotely distribute applications to its 2,800 Windows-based machines across the university. "We rely on ZENworks to manage software installs and patches," said Pitcher. "Our help desk has also put its remote control capabilities to good use in troubleshooting and resolving user issues."
To increase the efficiency of its user provisioning and deprovisioning processes, IPFW deployed Identity Manager to synchronize the digital identities of its 30,000 users across multiple systems, including its Banner student information system, ActiveDirectory, Google Apps and SunGard portal. The university also uses Storage Manager to automate the provisioning of its online storage.
IPFW has begun using the Roles Based Provisioning Module to manage different levels of system access for visiting professors, and soon, its faculty and staff. "The Roles Based Provisioning Module will allow us to be more flexible in providing self-service provisioning capabilities to individual departments," said Mourey.
By investing in these solutions, IPFW has been able to improve application delivery without adding more IT staff. "Application Virtualization allows us to better serve the needs of our students without creating an administrative burden on our team," said Pitcher.
"With Application Virtualization, we can deploy an application in minutes, rather than hours, and we know the application will work," said Pitcher. "There are no interactions to cause application conflicts. For example, deploying call logging software used to be a nightmare because we had to make sure to have the right .NET client, set up ODBC entries, install the application and configure everything just right. Now the user just clicks the executable file and it works."
The university has also accelerated the time to deliver complex applications. "It used to take upwards of an hour to install some applications," said Pitcher. "For example, Adobe Creative Suite is a hefty installation. Before implementing Application Virtualization, we would have had to build the software into the base image, doubling the image size. This approach was untenable in the long run. Now, users can just click on a virtual application and have it running within minutes."
"Without ZENworks, we would have had to add head count," said Pitcher. "Today, we've added more machines, more software and larger installs, yet we can still manage all this with one IT person."
Identity Manager has also brought significant improvements. "With Identity Manager, we can now provision and deprovision new students in a few seconds rather than days," said Michael Boschet, senior network systems administrator for Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. "And because the creation and deletion of user accounts is now consistent and predictable, the process has really become invisible to our users. Without the Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) solution, we'd likely require 1-2 FTEs to manage our user accounts on a day-to-day basis."