VDI in medical settings is popular, say John Hoang, Solution Architect, and Barbara MacKenzie, IS operations and infrastructure manager at Sydney Adventist Hospital in Australia, a 300-bed facility using VMware VDI products. One impediment to adoption was enabling single-sign-on for doctors and other clinicians making rounds who have to use multiple different Samsung zero client endpoints per day depending on what ward they're on, Hoang says. "Clinicians don't want to be obstructed by logging in and out 60 times a day," he says. "If it takes a minute each time, that's a lot of minutes."
Hoang is trying out a badge system made by Imprivata that allows the workers to tap the badge and call up their virtual desktop at a new location with all their apps logged in so long as they have already established a VDI session somewhere on the network.
MacKenzie says it's important as organizations deploy VDI to certify in-house expertise so routine problems can be handled quickly and economically.
Sydney Adventist is expanding to a new building that will host a teaching facility that will be used by two different organizations, so classrooms will have dual use. That seems like a perfect use of VDI, but because it is an educational setting, Hoang and MacKenzie expect it will pose unique problems so they are seeking advice from that community.
Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., started off its VMware deployment with 300 desktops in student computer labs using non-persistent Windows 7 images on Dell FX 100 zero clients with a back end of Dell servers and EqualLogic storage, says Ron Lee, senior systems engineer at the school. About 30 or so staffers use persistent desktops as their primary work platform, he says. Another 40 or so access persistent VDI images from university-owned iPads as secondary computers. One faculty member tried to use VDI with the iPad to reach her Windows 7 desktop but found it impractical without a mouse and keyboard and with the small screen. But he found it worked well for accessing data on the go.
Lee says it's important to fit the endpoint hardware to its use in order to get top performance. The school is looking at Wyse (bought by Dell) P25 zero clients because they support PC-over-IP protocol and are loaded with more RAM for client-side caching to improve application responsiveness. He steers clear of Z50D thin client appliances because the thin client represented another layer that requires management.
Ultimately the school plans to go to 1,200 virtual desktops over the next three years -- but not for everybody. Beyond computer labs, students probably won't get virtual desktops. But they can use the VMware View client on their own devices such as iPads to access generic virtual desktops from off campus. Depending on the version of View, they get the client either from a connection server at the university or at Android or Apple stores for free, he says.