• Name: Polytechnic University of Madrid
• Sector: Education
• Number of students: More than 34,000
• Teaching and research staff: 2,860
• Administrative and Service Personnel: 1,761
• Number of campuses and location: 4 campuses in Madrid (Spain)
• VDI Solution: UDS Education
The Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) is a benchmark in research and teaching in Architecture, Engineering, Sports Science and Fashion Design. It is among the 100 best universities in the world in Engineering and Technology. According to the QS World University Ranking, it is the first Spanish polytechnic university in employability.
The University has 17 centers scattered across four university campuses, which causes significant complexity when it comes to managing their computing devices. This fact, added to the different lockdowns due to COVID-19 and the substantial rise that remote and hybrid study has taken in recent years, led the UPM’s IT team to propose a digitization plan with a focus on desktop virtualization.
After conducting a market study on VDI solutions, the UPM team opted for UDS Education. Víctor Robles, UPM Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Digital Transformation, explained that “UDS Enterprise from Virtual Cable is a very versatile and adaptable solution. It allows us to deploy virtual desktops with any hypervisor, even using different virtualization platforms simultaneously. In addition, it is easy to configure and manage, allows us to keep both the images and the software updated and it is really economical, thanks to its flat rate for unlimited users. This last point was key since we needed to deploy virtual desktops for more than 40,000 people. We’ve gone from having 30-50 computers in physical classrooms to being able to deploy thousands of desktops in minutes.”
Regarding the support and customer service provided by the development team, Robles commented that “it has been easy to access its technical staff, suggesting improvements or resolving doubts that they have attended in very reasonable time frames.”
After the choice of software and implementation by specialists from Lanmedia, Virtual Cable Platinum Partner, the “UPM Desktop” project was born, which has been a true revolution for the University. The infrastructure consists of the UDS Education VDI solution, technology from NetApp, Lenovo, and Proxmox. This platform supports about 14,000 concurrent virtual desktops, a large number of them running scientific programs. “One of the main challenges has been the ability to start thousands of virtual desktops per hour, which pushes both the infrastructure and the software to the limit,” said the Vice-Chancellor. The University specializes in degrees that require very heavy and expensive software tools. “Previously, to access them, you had to use a physical device located in the computer rooms of the university. After the project’s launch, students, teachers, and administration can use these applications and many other simpler ones at any time, any day of the week, and from any place and device. All without having to install anything on their own devices” explained the Vice-Chancellor.
IMPROVING THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF THE UPM
This project has not only improved the productivity and availability of the UPM but has served to reduce energy costs thanks to the transfer of computing power to the new virtualization platform and the replacement of computer equipment.
The devices traditionally used consumed an average of 80 Wh and the miniPCs (ThinClient) that have replaced them consume a maximum of 18 Wh. This means that with each new device, consumption is reduced by about 62 Wh.
In addition, as Víctor Robles clarified, “each hypervisor in the infrastructure, prorating cooling, and disk arrays consumes about 500Wh. About 150 VDIs run in each of them, so we estimate that each desktop consumes an average of 3.3Wh. In other words, for each virtualized workstation we reduce consumption by approximately 58.7Wh, achieving 73.37% energy savings. Just counting 3,000 computers, a saving of around 176kWh is estimated”.
This reduction in consumption is just one of the advantages in terms of sustainability. UDS Education helps the UPM to meet several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
• SDG 4: Quality education. The UPM continues to offer excellent educational quality without downtime thanks to its new VDI solution, despite any setback that may limit access to the physical facilities. In addition, the VDI solution promotes equal opportunities by allowing universal access to educational programs from anywhere in the world and on any device.
• SDG 9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure. 5G is a technology that, according to experts, will be essential for sustainable development in the coming years, and UDS Education is prepared to incorporate it. It should also be noted that this sustainable and resilient infrastructure reduces energy consumption and limits hardware acquisition, thus lowering the university’s carbon footprint.
• SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production. VDI favors the circular economy and greater energy efficiency by extending the useful life of IT equipment and allowing its repurposing. This contributes to less generation of technological waste.
• SDG 13: Climate action. The boost to remote education and work that guarantees 24×7 access means an efficient way to lessen travel. With this reduction in the mobility of students, teachers, and other groups, the volume of CO2 emissions is also decreased.
The vital boost to the UPM’s sustainability thanks to the implementation of the “UPM Desktop” with UDS Education has been recognized with an important award. Virtual Cable and the UPM have received the Madrid Network Award for the company with the most innovative solutions against climate change in the Business Sustainability category.
• Broker: UDS Enterprise
• Hypervisor: Proxmox
• Hardware: 96 Lenovo ThinkSystem SD-530 nodes with two Intel Xeon Gold 6240R processors and 768 GB of RAM
• Storage: 2 NetApp AFF A800 booths
• Access Devices: Any