Remote access through HP RGS software | IT case study | California

Remote access through HP RGS software | IT case study | California
California State University, Northridge
24-hour remote workstation access with HP RGS software
“Students love it. They can run a high-end CAD application from home and
do everything the HP Workstation is capable of­—even if they’re working from
a slow, outdated PC.”
—Emil Henry, manager of information systems, College of Engineering and Computer Science,
California State University, Northridge, Calif.
HP customer
case study:
HP RGS software gives
engineering students HP
Workstation capability
from a distance
Industry:
Higher education
Objective:
Provide greater access to HP Workstations
in college’s engineering labs
Approach:
The College of Engineering and Computer
Science at California State University,
Northridge enables remote login to
HP Workstations using HP Remote Graphics
Software (RGS) and HP Session Allocation
Manager (SAM)
IT improvements:
• HP Session Allocation Manager
matches the appropriate workstation
with the user
• HP RGS software enables older, less
powerful PCs to access state-of-the-art
workstation capabilities
Business benefits:
• Remote login increases workstation
access by 10 hours per day (from
10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) and on weekends.
• Students can work collaboratively,
even from separate locations, by
sharing a session
• RGS software fully supports 3D
CAD software
• Increased access stretches computer
resources in times of limited budgets
When it comes to the most powerful computers
on college campuses, there are never enough.
Ask any college student in a technically
demanding field—engineering, animation,
filmmaking—and you’ll hear the same story.
The College of Engineering and Computer Science
at California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
is no exception.
In April 2010, the American Society for
Engineering Education (ASEE) recognized CSUN
as the fastest growing undergraduate engineering
program in the country, with a 96% increase in
the number of undergraduate engineering degrees
awarded in 2008 compared to 2005. So Emil
Henry, manager of information systems for the
college, found a way to make the most of scarce
resources. Using HP Remote Graphics Software
(RGS) and HP Session Allocation Manager (SAM),
Windows®. Life
without Walls™. HP
recommends Windows 7.
the college has enabled remote use of its HP
Workstations for students anywhere. Workstations
that once were available only between 8 a.m. and
10 p.m. during the regular school week can
now be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
throughout the year.
“Remote login allows us to make use of workstations for more
hours each day, so we can give students greater access.”
—Emil Henry, manager of information systems, College of Engineering and Computer
Science, California State University, Northridge
“Students love it. They can run a high-end
CAD application from home and do everything
the workstation is capable of, even if they’re
working from a slow, outdated PC,” says Henry.
“It’s helping students who wouldn’t be able to
complete their projects otherwise, and it’s
helping us stretch our budget.”
CUSTOMER SOLUTION AT A GLANCE
Primary applications
Engineering and Computer
Science education
Primary hardware
• HP Z400 Workstation
• HP Z200 Small Form Factor
(SFF) Workstation
• HP xw-series Workstation
2
Primary software
• Windows® XP Professional 64-bit
(available through downgrade
rights from Genuine Windows
Vista® Business)1,2
• Genuine Windows@ 7 Professional3
• HP Remote Graphics Software
• HP Session Allocation Manager
• SolidWorks 3D CAD software
• CATIA 3D CAD software
• Fluent computational fluid
dynamics software
• Additional 100+ Engineering and
Computer Science applications
Using HP Workstations from anywhere
The College of Engineering and Computer Science
(CECS) at Cal State Northridge has an enrollment
of some 3,000 students, but only a few hundred
workstations in its labs. Time on a high-end
workstation is a scarce, valuable commodity.
The problem is a particular challenge for seniors
completing their senior project. Henry recalls
students who had undertaken a formidable
challenge: designing a Formula SAE race car
from scratch in SolidWorks CAD software. They
could only run the software in the college’s labs,
which were open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during
the week.
They attempted to access the workstations
remotely, but found the CAD software’s
functionality was compromised. “When they
tried rotating the car, the wheels became blocks,”
Henry recalls. When the students wanted to do
analysis or high-end testing, they were unable
to proceed.
“That’s why we were so excited to find RGS”
says Henry. HP Remote Graphics Software
enables users to view and interact with
the desktop of remote HP desktop PCs or
Workstations over a standard TCP/IP network.
RGS is a high-performance remote desktop
connection protocol that gives users access to
rich-content environments that can include video,
web flash animations and graphics intensive
applications. Applications run natively on the
remote system and take full advantage of the
computer and hardware graphics resources of the
sending system—in this case, HP xw-series and
Z-series Workstations.
RGS captures the desktop of the remote system
and transmits it over a standard network to
a window on the student’s local client using
advanced image compression technology
specifically designed for text, digital imagery
and high frame rate video applications.
“The global marketplace of today requires engineers
and computer scientists to apply rapidly evolving new
technologies to serve society—often working across
disciplines, cultures and in an asynchronous distributed
environment. Thanks to support from industry partners
like HP, our graduates emerge well prepared to
tackle the challenges in industry.”
—Dr. S. K. Ramesh, dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science,
California State University, Northridge
“One of the reasons RGS is so valuable is that
we are predominantly a commuter campus,” notes
Henry. “So if students can login and access our
HP Workstations remotely, they might save two
or three trips to campus in a week. It’s a big
timesaver, and equates to environmental savings
from reduced driving.”
HP SAM software manages
remote connections
RGS was designed for a single user and a single
session per machine. Usually the user needs to
know which machine he/she is going to connect
to, so the college uses another HP software tool
—HP Session Allocation Manager—to manage
the RGS remote connections. HP SAM manages
the assignment of remote desktop connections
from a student’s computer to remote desktop
session. “SAM allocates the session based
on the available resources; it’s basically
a broker,” Henry says.
“That’s why we were so excited to find RGS. … It’s helping
students who wouldn’t be able to complete their projects
otherwise, and it’s helping us stretch our budget.”
—Emil Henry, manager of information systems, College of Engineering and Computer
Science, California State University, Northridge
“A student logs into the campus VPN and then
to the SAM client. SAM takes the student’s login
information and finds a workstation for the student
based on the student’s Active Directory® profile,”
explains Henry. A mechanical engineering student,
for example, gets assigned to a workstation from
the lab serving the specific CAD applications that
mechanical engineering students require.
If another student tries to log in directly to a
workstation that is already in use, the student
who’s already using the workstation will get a
prompt that indicates someone else wants to join
their session. “This enables RGS to become a
collaborative tool,” Henry notes. Students working
together on a project—like the senior race car
design—can communicate and hand-off control
of the session to one another as needed to work
together collaboratively.
Henry says remote logins to HP Workstations
are increasing as more and more students learn
about the capability. “Students love it. One of the
great things is that the capability of the student’s
PC client really isn’t an issue. They can be using a
five-year-old machine with a slow processor and
a very basic graphics card. That doesn’t matter
because the PC is just displaying pixels on the
screen; all the processing is taking place on the
remote workstation. All they need is a good
cable or DSL Internet connection.”
Among those who benefit from using RGS to
access HP Workstations are students from nearby
military bases. “They take their classes remotely,
and now they don’t have to come onto campus
to do their projects. They can get the machine
time they need online, so it’s a big benefit for
off-site students.”
While most of the Cal State Northridge students
using the remote capability are local, Henry
knows of one student who logged in using RGS
from his home in Canada. The system also is
being made available to gifted California high
school students in the college’s unique Accelerated
Coursework in Computer Science and Engineering
for Student Success (ACCESS) program. Annually,
more than 120 qualified juniors and seniors in a
dozen high schools are exposed to this technology
in the online Introduction to Engineering course.
3
Windows®. Life
without Walls™. HP
recommends Windows 7.
Moreover, interactions with CECS student mentors
through virtual conferencing capabilities showcase
HP and the college to attract students to the
engineering and computing disciplines.
Making the most of resources
Remote login capability doesn’t just provide
off-hours access to help students; it also effectively
increases the college’s resources of workstation
computing on campus.
“Because of the budget limitations we’re currently
experiencing, we’re not always able to increase
the number of workstations available in our labs,”
Henry says. “Remote login allows us to make use
of workstations for more hours each day, so we
can give students greater access.”
Henry notes that the College of Engineering and
Computer Science turned to HP Workstations
running Windows® XP Professional 64-bit
(available through downgrade rights from Genuine
Windows Vista® Business) after standardizing first
on HP UNIX® servers. “Our rep then introduced
us to HP Workstations, and we appreciate how
well designed they are. HP Workstations are built
like a tank,” he says.
They also thrive in challenging environments,
he says. That’s helpful during summers, when a
building’s air conditioning might be turned off
temporarily in order to save energy. “During
summer, the heat in our labs can get up to
85 degrees or more, but the HP Workstations,
which can accommodate work on factory floors,
just keep chugging along. We’re very happy
with the reliability.”
Does he have any regrets about launching remote
login capability? Only one. “If I had it to do over
again, I would have moved a lot faster,” he says.
“Now my mission is to expand the program to a
larger audience inside the college and then I will
demonstrate the potential for the campus
and other engineering programs.”
The college has more than 600 HP Workstations,
including the xw-series Workstations and the new
HP Z400 and Z200 SFF Workstations.
“We decided to try the Z-series based on the
performance rating of the CPUs. According to the
ratings we’ve seen, you get a 30% to 40% increase
in performance for a very small difference in
price. Our students and faculty are definitely
pleased with the speed and graphics capability.”
The college now configures HP Workstations
with Genuine Windows® 7 Professional, 4 GB
of RAM, and an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 450
graphics card. For engineering courses, the
software image includes SolidWorks and CATIA
3D CAD software, and Fluent computational fluid
dynamics software.
Cal State Northridge purchases its HP Workstations
through Method Interface, a nearby HP Authorized
Partner, and also maintains direct ties with HP.
“We get great local service and support, along
with the backing of HP,” Henry says. “HP stands
by its products and wants us to succeed.”
To learn more, visit www.hp.com
Contact the HP Reference2Win Program, 866-REF-3734 for more information.
© 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products
and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an
additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Vista are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.
UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.
1
Certain Windows Vista product features require advanced or additional hardware. See www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/hardwarereqs.mspx.
Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor can help you determine which features of Windows Vista will run on your computer. To download the tool, visit
www.windowsvista.com/upgradeadvisor.
2
Windows XP Professional is preinstalled on this system and includes end user rights and media for Genuine Windows Vista Business. You may only use
one version at a time. You must back up all data (files, photos, etc.) before uninstalling and installing operating systems to avoid loss of your data.
3
Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware and/or a DVD drive to install the Windows 7 software and take full advantage of
Windows 7 functionality. See http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/ for details.
4AA2-1062ENW, July 2010
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