HOB Solutions at Work

University of Wisconsin–Green Bay Deploys HOB RD VPN

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is part of the University of Wisconsin System, a statewide system with 13 university campuses and 13 two-year colleges, with over 160,000 students and over 32,000 faculty and staff. UW-Green Bay, fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), offers a wide array of undergraduate liberal arts and pre-professional programs and select master's level programs.

The University has several computer labs and many workstation PC’s throughout the campus, providing a wide variety of applications to students, faculty and staff. To get more out of these computers, i.e., to make the applications available on a 24/7 basis without the cost of keeping the labs physically open and staffed around the clock, the CIT (Computing & Information Technology) department decided to try a secure remote computing solution.

While researching various remote access possibilities, the CIT department came across some information from the University of Wyoming Website on their remote computing setup. Contacting the responsible person at the University of Wyoming, the CIT staff found out about the HOB RD VPN Desktop-on-Blade solution, which was first deployed there about one year ago. The solution from HOB was highly recommended by the University of Wyoming, based on their good experience with it. They found the remote desktop services from HOB provided easy and secure access to their computers.

The CIT mission is to provide stable, secure, and robust network services to the campus computing infrastructure. After learning of the University of Wyoming’s positive experience with HOB, they contacted the HOB International Sales & Support team, and were given more detailed information, as well as help in setting up a test configuration. The CIT people were soon convinced this was the way to go. Monika Pynaker, a Senior Network/Systems Administrator at the university, explained that deploying HOB RD VPN was a “win-win situation, because lab computers are now available on a 24/7 basis, license costs are reduced and specialty software applications made more readily and widely available to the students, staff and faculty.”

Still in Beta, the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s secure remote computing system will go into full productive use towards the end of summer 2007. There are two main components of this system. One is Remote Desktop, powered by HOB Desktop-on-Demand, providing faculty and staff access to their campus Windows PC from any location on or off campus via an Internet connection. An interesting aspect of this HOB RD VPN solution is that the computers using it need not be left running for the user to access them remotely. HOB Desktop-on-Demand utilizes the Wake-on-LAN function to remotely switch on the target computer, providing secure remote access at any time. This is an ideal deployment solution for an office, as all data remain on the office computer in the network, eliminating the need to collate different data stocks: a resource-consuming task that can also be a considerable source of errors.

The other component is Remote Lab, powered by HOB Desktop-on-Blade. This service provides students with secure remote access to a campus lab computer from any location on or off campus via an Internet connection. The Remote Lab computers are reserved for students, whereas Remote Desktop is solely for faculty and staff.

Both of these solutions are highly secured with SSL encryption (up to 256 bit) provided by the security component HOB WebSecureProxy, which also supports secure user name and password authentication via the university’s existing LDAP server.

HOB RD VPN is being deployed to enable faculty and staff remote access to office PCs throughout the campus. For students, a pool of General Access computers will be available to provide the full range of lab software, including MS Office, SPSS, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Pro, SQL Server 2005, Management Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, Logic Coach III and much more.  In addition, students will have remote access to files stored on their personal share and course shares.

When asked if they are satisfied with HOB RD VPN’s performance, both Ms. Pynaker and Computer Lab Manager Bonnie Laundrie answered with a strong “Yes,”  and added “HOB RD VPN and you guys [HOB International Sales & Support] have just been a godsend!” After going into full scale productive use in the Fall Semester, they intend to add more computers and applications to the system as needed. Also, the University of Wisconsin System is interested in the project and closely watching the activities at UW Green Bay with a view to further implementation on other campuses.


University of Wisconsin Case Study as PDF


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