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Learn How V2 Cloud Helped Gateway Technical College Deliver an Improved Higher Education Experience

Background

Gateway Technical College (Gateway) is a public technical college in southeastern Wisconsin. It began in 1911 as America’s first publicly funded technical college and today, it is one of the largest members of the state-run Wisconsin Technical College System.

Gateway offers more than 70 associate degree and technical diploma programs and prepares 21,000 students annually to meet their career goals through a nationally recognized hands-on approach to technical education. In November 2020, the U.S. Department of Education selected Gateway Technical College as a college with one of the best examples of how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

V2 Cloud has been a great technology partner. They have been flexible and accommodating to our virtual desktop needs as well as our procurement requirements. I would say V2 Cloud has exceeded our expectations from the very start. We are very happy with our decision to move the college's virtual desktops to V2 Cloud.

Jeff Robshaw | CIO & Vice President | Learning Innovation Division

Challenges

Gateway has approximately 300 classrooms, 50% of which are currently used for hybrid instruction. The on-premise VDI solution was VMware implemented on a high availability hyper-converged server cluster. In early 2020, pre-pandemic, Gateway IT leadership made a decision to migrate away from VMware because it was not a successful implementation for several reasons:

  • Maintaining the VMware environment was labor-intensive; there were multiple-user issues daily that required resets and reboots.
  • Many features on VMware’s VDI roadmap were not delivered; those that were delivered were not in a production-ready state for Gateway e.g. audio and video services.
  • VMware costs were runaway – the licensing and support renewal contract was 5x more than what was originally quoted.
  • Students were taking more classes, thereby needing more performance and stable technology.
  • The Gateway IT team was down four positions and it was not going to get new staff members soo. The goal was to have 1-2 staff supporting the desktop environment for the entire college.

It seems much more responsive than our old VDI, and would recommend it just based on that. I like that it is browser-based and does not need any additional software installed.

Takis G. Kinis, District Chair | Information Technology | IT Instructor, Web Software & Data Analytics

Evaluation Criteria

Gateway evaluated six solution providers around their ability to provide a virtual desktop environment that could scale to the entire campus. They did comprehensive PoCs against the following “must have” capabilities:

  • Student ease of use
  • Single sign on
  • Remote login for admin
  • Simplified operations
  • Vendor support
  • Price

Gateway selected V2 Cloud’s Desktop as a Solution (DaaS) offering because of its rich feature set, simplicity, pricing, and support model. The V2 Cloud server is hosted in the Washington, DC OVH data center.

V2 Cloud Users

V2 Cloud DaaS has been implemented for students, instructors, and staff:

  • IT and IS – this includes 40+ developers, database administrators, technology operations (network, servers, telephony), direct desk side support, and help desk.
  • School of Manufacturing, Engineering, and IT (MEIT) – 8 instructors and 100 students. Students use V2 Cloud DaaS to access the technologies used in their IT courses: IBM iSeries client, web development (HTML, CSS), software development (Eclipse IDE for Java, Git, Python), and SQL Server
  • Staff – approximately 100 users from Business Office, HR, Campus Safety and Security, Registrar, Provost’s Office, and academic associates use V2 Cloud DaaS.
  • The Testing Center is currently running a POC to see how V2 Cloud DaaS can be used to conduct placement and certification exams remotely.

Gateway’s plan is to educate the other schools within the college on V2 Cloud DaaS as well as share the positive impact they have experienced with the Wisconsin Technical College System which consists of the 16 public technical colleges in the state of Wisconsin.

I have successfully used the V2 Cloud platform when away from the office for over a year now and I have never had an issue, great product, and fast response to College applications.

Ray Koukari, Jr. | Dean | School of Manufacturing, Engineering, and Information Technology

Benefits

Ease of Management:
V2 Cloud’s administrative processes are simple. Gateway’s IT team uses one server to deploy and support all virtual desktops from a central location and no longer has to deal with agents and physical updates and patches at the user endpoint device.

Cost Reduction and Avoidance:
Gateway has experienced a significant reduction in on-premise VMware and infrastructure cost. Gateway was also able to re-assign staff to other responsibilities. Going forward, V2 Cloud can scale across the entire campus without additional staff and large capital outlays.

Budget Predictability:
V2 Cloud’s flat rate transparent pricing allows Gateway to accurately forecast and correlate their student and staff workload to their budget with greater control than they had with previous vendors.

Performance and Stability:
A large percentage of Gateway’s student demographic is part-time, adult learners who need flexible on-demand access to instructional resources. V2 Cloud’s high availability and performance supports these students as well as Gateway’s hybrid instructional model.

Student Experience:
Student on-boarding is smooth and support tickets are down by a factor of 10x.

"We use V2 Cloud extensively for both RPG Advanced Programming and CL Programming. We could not conduct these classes properly without V2. I have found V2 to be reliable. I think it is a vast improvement over the previous products we used. I would recommend V2 Cloud."

Allen J. Pearson | Instructor | IT Software Development, IBM, Gaming and SharePoint