VMware View Virtualizes the Classroom
VMware claims their new educational application — VMware View — can reduce IT maintenance, cost and complexity in the education vertical. So, how is VMware applying virtualization in the classroom? And is it really a solution that belongs at the head of the class? Here’s some perspective…
Leave your educational platitudes at the door, VMware — we’re talking brass tax and usability here. VMware claims VMware View can give educators more control over desktops. The idea is simple: Control the VM, and control the experience for the end-user. Kids don’t go to bad sites or mess up the machine. Teachers don’t worry about boot-up time app updates and configurations. Reliability is increased, and school IT resources are diverted to taking care of infrastructure instead of endpoints. The same benefits for an enterprise carry over into the classroom. I shouldn’t even have to list them anymore. Bravo, VMware.
We Don’t Need No Education
But here’s where VMware loses my attention. They say “students bringing their own laptop or connected devices to school” can now experience “secure virtual desktops managed and controlled by the school’s IT department.”
I’m calling bunk on this, and here’s why. Any kid bringing a computer into school is most likely in grades 8-12. And any kid in grades 8-12 will most likely not be happy to hand over their personal computing environment to a ‘school sanctioned’ one. What’s more, introducing personal computers into a VM workplace can cause issues of compatibility client-side and network side.
Yes, VMware boasts “any device” — which encompasses Mac’s and PC’s, but it would be better if the school stuck to the thin clients better suited to the job. The true use of this feature would be a student using a remote login to a VM and use software otherwise unavailable or too expensive to buy and download at home. In addition, a persistent student-based VM would be helpful for storing and saving files as they progress through grades.
Here’s the biggest issue to true adaptability of this VMware View classroom solution: Price. Lots of school budgets are razor thin, with little room to expand. VMware doesn’t put a price tag on the solution, but to its credit, notes that you can “re-purpose” older machines for VMware View use, instead of buying a brand new computer.
That idea earns a passing grade.