Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure at EduCause 2011

Oracle participated as a gold sponsor and exhibitor last week at the 2011 EDUCAUSE Conference in Philadelphia, Pa.  What is EDUCAUSE?  It is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The annual conference is a gathering to discuss and share the state of technology in higher education. 

This year there was a particular emphasis on online courses, cloud hosted learning management systems, and digital publishing.  A Forbes blog post by James Marshall Crotty entitled "Future Of Education Is Mobile, Social, and in the Cloud: Lessons from EduCause" discusses this emphasis, but interesting to me is by including the words "Mobile" and Cloud" in its title creates a correlation to what Oracle showcased.  The title I would use to describe what Oracle showed at EduCause is "The Future Of The Educational Desktop Is Mobile, Virtual, and in the Cloud."


So, what made the Oracle booth so interesting at EduCause?  This year's booth showcased Oracle Applications for education, hardware, and virtualization technology engineered to deliver a cloud hosted educational desktop experience certified to work with Oracle web based applications.  Oh yeah, and mobile, too.

There is significant value for the emphasis of online courses, cloud hosted LMS, and digital publishing, but what about bringing more value to the traditional desktop and applications still heavily leveraged in higher education?  How do we change for the better the educational desktop experience, improve the workflow and productivity for students, faculty and staff?  This is the focus of Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Sun Ray Clients combined with Oracle Applications for education.

 Sounds great I know, but give me some examples.

  • Consider the ability for educational IT to provide a standardized desktop and application service to faculty, staff and students that is secure, works the same wherever you access it, and can be backed up and managed centrally.
  • A service that increases the productivity of all users by allowing the desktop and application state to be resumed anywhere you are without the risk of losing data or productivity.  A service that is tailored to the individual roles and needs of faculty, students, and staff.
  • Provide educational IT a way to deal with the challenges imposed by the consumerization of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model and still address manageability, security, and quality of service.
  • Allow students and faculty on the go to securely access more than just online courses and published content, but a full educational desktop experience on tablet devices, laptops, PC's and browsers.

To achieve these goals Oracle combines Oracle Applications for education, Oracle Identity Management and Enterprise Single Sign-on for authenticated and role based application access.   Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Sun Ray Clients extend this to include authenticated desktop access,  desktop and application mobility, and security.  

Security is increasingly an emphasis in higher education as the complexities increase for protecting identities, content, and rights of students, faculty, and staff in a mobile cloud hosted model.  The proliferation of devices (tablets, laptops, smartphones) along with social and digital content with cloud based applications create even greater stress on meeting security needs.  Oracle is changing the focus from supporting devices and applications on devices to a virtual desktop and applications accessed from a variety of devices model, giving educational IT greater power to address security.

Enough writing, lets see some examples in action from the Oracle EduCause booth.

Tanya Adams shows the Oracle PeopleSoft self-service application for education being accessed from a virtual desktop and displayed on a Sun Ray Client.  Tanya then shows how she can move the desktop and application to a iPad tablet without losing any work and have full access to her applications (Yes, even Flash on an iPad):

Michael Rogers shows the Oracle Campus Solutions being accessed from a virtual desktop and, like Tanya, is using a Sun Ray Client with desktop mobility:


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