This School House Rocks with Virtual Desktops


Imagine an environment where:

  • The endpoints are over 5 years old
  • Users’ personal computers are state of the art
  • Applications have not been patched in over one year
  • Each office has different configurations, although they should be identical

These are some of the challenges with one particular environment: the ABC School District.

This particular school district consists of 50 school campuses that supports 70,000 users.  Due to limited funding, the technology infrastructure is aging quickly.  Thanks to a voter approved tax levy, the ABC School District is receiving an infusion of money to upgrade their computing infrastructure. Instead of going down the same path of distributed computing, the ABC School District has decided to implement desktop virtualization based on the following architecture:

The designed solution includes the following high-level items:

  • Almost all of the components will be virtualized with Microsoft Hyper-V. The environment is divided into two distinct parts: Infrastructure Module and Desktop Modules
  • Two types of Windows 7 FlexCast virtual desktops are used and spread across four XenDesktop farms: Hosted VM-Based VDI desktops and Blade PC desktops.
  • Applications are delivered either as installed applications, hosted applications or streamed applications from centralized XenApp servers, which is part of XenDesktop 4.
  • Each school’s network bandwidth is optimized by leveraging HDX WAN Optimization with the Citrix Branch Repeater. As students in each class will perform similar activities, the Branch Repeater will provide WAN optimization, helping to offset costly WAN upgrades.

This is just an overview of the ABC School District design.  To learn more, you can:

  1. Download the ABC School District Reference Design
  2. Join the discussion on Twitter @djfeller
  3. Learn more about the environment by reading and commenting the upcoming posts on the Virtualize My Desktop site

Once implemented, this School House will Rock.

Daniel – Lead Architect – Citrix

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