The TU Dortmund Machine Elements department teaches and conducts research in designing and calculating “traditional” machine elements, developing methodological and technical resources to help design engineers, and handling organisational aspects of the development process. The Machine Elements department provides both basic and advanced courses in product development for mechanical engineering, logistics and industrial engineering students, as well as students who will go on to teach mechanical engineering and production engineering in upper secondary education.
The goal of the project was to overhaul the desktop PCs in TU Dortmund’s computer lab to increase efficiency and improve availability. The Machine Elements department wanted to virtualise these computers, not least because this would automate many of the manual tasks performed to administrate and manage the workstations. The newly designed, homogeneous IT infrastructure would allow innovations to be implemented more quickly. In addition, new IT services would be deployed more easily and efficiently. Besides streamlining administration, the project would also optimise the cost structure.
By virtualising the workstations in our computer lab, we were able not only to cut manual tasks to a minimum, but also to shrink costs. Our computer lab is now more cost-effective than ever, and it’s also well-prepared to meet future requirements.
Dr Bernd Künne, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Machine Elements, TU Dortmund
In collaboration with Bechtle, TU Dortmund chose to overhaul its workstations by installing HP thin clients in conjunction with a Dell PowerEdge R720 server. Thanks to its high-density memory, flexible I/O and advanced processors, this server is ideally suited for a virtualised environment and data processing. It is also easy to administrate in complex environments by automating administrative tasks throughout the entire lifecycle, from deployment and updates to monitoring and service. To virtualise the network, Bechtle implemented Citrix, a central platform from which all the computer lab’s thin clients access their applications and operating systems. Using Citrix XenDesktop, the computer lab is now able to select the right deployment model for each workstation user, thereby reducing costs and increasing the benefits of desktop and app virtualisation for most users. Virtual desktops and apps are stored and administrated centrally, which lowers the risk of data loss and unauthorised access when transferring data to end devices. As a result, access is secure and remains the intellectual property of TU Dortmund. Moreover, sensitive and private data are protected. And because the system is administrated centrally, new applications can be made available on each workstation from a central platform.
TU Dortmund’s Machine Elements department now has high-efficiency, future-ready IT infrastructure in its computer lab. Virtualising its systems has not only automated the majority of management tasks, it has also eliminated expensive PC upgrade cycles. Computers no longer have to be replaced every three years, as compute tasks have been moved to the data centre, which extends the lifespan of workstation equipment. Previous computers were replaced by affordable thin clients, lowering acquisition and operating costs. New applications can be installed centrally and deployed to clients through the virtualised environment. As a result, the Machine Elements department is able to make optimum use of its existing resources while reducing administrative tasks and improving the reliability of its IT operation.