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Plans to virtualise Kingston University could be damaging

By River Reporter Nov 2, 2011

By Rosie Williams

The president of Kingston University Computer Geeks Society has warned that plans to virtualise the University’s entire base of PCs could be damaging to some students’ education.

The plans would mean that the university’s current range of older computers and laptops would be replaced by a mix of modernised computing tools that would run the same across all five campuses.

“SEC (Science, Engineering and Computing Faculty) is very different from the other faculties in its needs, demands and needed infrastructure,” said Sean Kelly, president of the KUCGS. “You cannot simply run it the same as you do the rest.”

The project began four years ago and numerous SEC IT technicians have been made redundant under to preliminary plans to centralise the whole university, warned Kelly.

However, the plans to “prepare for life without the desktop” will make the University a pioneer in the UK education sector.

The university currently supports about 9000 PCs, laptops and dual boot Apple OS Xs.

These will gradually be replaced with a mix of fully-thin clients for staff, app virtualisation for students and the integration of older PCs running Windows 7 as part-virtualised ‘hybrids’.

“One of the goals is to embrace the consumerisation of IT,” said project architect, Daniel Bolton. “We can’t force the students to sit down in front of an ugly PC anymore.”

It is a complex project and one that is going to be closely-watched by other institutions planning to follow in its footsteps. 

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