Ayrshire College is a Further Education institution in Scotland. Formed in August 2013 from a merger between Ayr College, Kilmarnock College and the Largs and Kilwinning campuses of James Watt College, it serves the Ayrshire area, surrounding areas and overseas students.
Enhancing the Student Experience
As the College opened its new campus in Kilmarnock, Brad Johnstone, IT Manager at Ayrshire College turned to DTP the leading IT provider of cost effective IT solutions to provide the networking, server and storage solutions. DTP would help manage the project to ensure all campuses would remain integrated. As part of a £53m redevelopment project, Brad felt a “good enough” approach to redesigning IT at the Kilmarnock campus simply wasn’t an option.
“The whole time we were thinking: ‘How do we go about building this new kind of campus, and making sure it delivers the kind of learning experiences students and staff expect?’ With the amount of budget going into the campus, I knew that a generic PC and software setup wasn’t going to cut it.”
When the College went out to tender, Brad’s ultimate aim was to install Citrix on end-point devices– empowering students to access any of the tools they needed through any device via a virtual desktop. But to achieve a seamless virtual desktop experience, the new campus needed cutting-edge networking, servers and storage in the data centre. DTP won the tender for each of these data centre elements, and delivered a combination of integrated HPE Moonshot infrastructure alongside high-performance HPE 3PAR storage. Another Citrix partner came in to assist with virtual desktop deployment.
With the combination of HPE Moonshot, 3PAR and Citrix, the College was able to enable more users than with competing systems – ensuring students would be able to use even the most demanding software packages through virtual clients.
A Consistently positive experience
Throughout the planning, management and deployment of the new campus IT systems, Ayrshire College has had a consistently positive experience with DTP.
“With new builds like this, there will always be challenges. Surprisingly though, there have been no nasty surprises. DTP’s solutions have all done what they were meant to do with no fuss, all from day one.”
With Brad’s team taking on such a complex project to transform the IT estate in time for the new campus renovation, he was grateful that the DTP team was on hand to offer expert technical advice and support throughout:
“DTP has one of the best technical support teams I’ve ever known. They’re all top-of-the-line engineers that know their stuff. I can discuss the College’s challenges with them, safe in the knowledge that DTP will always put the customer’s needs first, and not try to sell us any money-making gimmicks for their own benefit.”
FASTER, SMOOTHER IT FOR STAFF AND STUDENTS
The new virtual desktop systems and the infrastructure behind them have already delivered significant benefits to staff and students at Ayrshire College.
The Citrix systems have helped provide a more flexible learning experience for Ayrshire students. Now when a student logs in, they have access to all the tools they need, regardless of where they are on campus and what device they are using.
Thanks to the data centre elements provided by DTP, the College can ensure applications perform just as well on virtual desktop environments as on traditional local machines. And by using thin clients with less on-disk software to load, students’ log-on times have been cut in half.
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