“Students’ Playground” in Switzerland

See Sun’s Center of Excellence (COE) program for the education community in action in this great video showing the construction of the COE at the Lurcerne University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. To learn more, I contacted the student host, Michael Thalman, for an interview. Responsible for system, network and SAN administration, he keeps the Enterprise Lab running.  

Rebecca: “What’s so special about this lab?”

Michael: “Opened in December 2006, the lab is a really flexible environment that lets us be as open as possible, involving students in lab administration and supporting their ideas as much as we can. From a technical point of view, we are using an advanced framework developed with a great deal of help from Sun Switzerland. It allows us to switch systems instantly: it’s somewhat similar to replacing hard drives to boot other systems, but it uses SAN virtualization technologies to manage this virtually without physically going into the lab.”

[Bruno, the other person in the video, is the Head of the Enterprise Lab and Michael's boss.]

Rebecca: “Bruno, how did this lab get started?”

Bruno: “I met Scott McNealy when I worked at the Sun Dublin office. After I returned to Switzerland and started my job as an assistant professor at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, I was asked to build a curriculum for distributed enterprise application. For the hands-on part of the course, I had two choices: .Net or Java. This put me in mind of Scott so I sent him an email to ask for help. He responded within six hours—I couldn’t believe it! From there, we got into a discussion about the University’s needs and then agreed to cooperate to build a lab for education and research purposes.”

Here is a press release issued at the opening of the lab. The lab was described fittingly as “a playground where they [students] can work creatively and without stress.”

Here is a link to the lab’s website. And information on joining the COE program.

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