Working as an IT Manager (or even worse, to be in charge of a computer lab) at a school is indeed a very demanding work.

As you can imagine, every teacher has his own needs and really many of them. Plus, their highly probable lack of IT knowledge is not very helpful for us, technical assistants.

The problems that I am dealing with are more or less always the same:

1. Installation of multiple PC with many software (every teacher wants his or her own programmes that later are  used by students).

2. Heterogeneous and diverse PC parks (which means different installations and difficulties even for drivers and basic services).

3. Security issues (open USB ports, shared passwords).

4. High PC failure rates as apparently students don’t care too much to take a proper care of them.

So, what can we do? Is it possible to change this situation?

My friend Marco (he is an assistant in another school) told me about VDI solutions that are used at his school. In practice, instead of having physical PCs they have servers (fortunately, are accessible only by them) where they created virtual machines.

All these machines are equal and therefore easy to manage, to configure and easy to recreate in case of any issue.

How did they set the system? They prepared several basic configurations that are usable by everybody from students to teachers. Each of these software can serve individual teacher. This results in a very easy customization of individual configurations as well as in effortless maintenance. When students change subject they just the change virtual machines to which they will connect.

But how do you connect to these virtual machines? He told me they use Thin Clients, which are their point of access to VDI (sometimes it is also called the Cloud). It seems that Thin Clients are easily to manage centrally and allow a precise configuration in terms of security.
I think I will need to study a bit this weekend…

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