Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: A Deployment Guide for Education

Applies To: Windows 8.1

This guide shows you how to address the challenges associated with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives in academic environments using a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) powered by Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows MultiPoint Server 2012.

One of the challenges for educational institutions is managing the wide diversity of devices and user types. Given such diversity, establishing and maintaining a standardized technology learning platform can be difficult. Although it may be possible to purchase new devices running the Windows 8.1 operating system or upgrade existing devices to Windows 8.1, other institution-owned devices may be unable to run Windows 8.1 (such as older hardware or devices running Apple iOS or Google Android).

In addition, BYOD initiatives are increasingly popular in institutions because they allow faculty to use their devices to perform administrative roles aid with curriculum. BYOD initiatives also allow students to use their devices (in and out of the classroom) as a part of the educational process. BYOD initiatives help institutions by reducing the up-front cost of devices while allowing faculty and students to take advantage of technology for education.

However, BYOD initiatives can create problems for IT pros who support the faculty and students. It is almost certain that the devices will have broad diversity. Although it may be possible that the faculty or students may have devices running the Windows 8.1 operating system, other personally owned devices may be unable to run Windows 8.1 (such as older hardware or devices running iOS or Android).

You can address these challenges by using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) powered by the Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 operating system. With VDI in Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows MultiPoint Server 2012, users can remotely run Windows 8.1 apps as though they were running on their local device, including video clips, movies, streaming video, and other graphically intensive applications. Users can also directly access USB devices connected to their device (such as smart card readers, USB flash drives, or scanners) from within VDI.

Note

Although many of the topics discussed in this guide are applicable to VDI in Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows MultiPoint Server 2012, this guide focuses on VDI in Windows Server 2012 R2. For more information about Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 planning and deployment, see Windows MultiPoint Server 2012, and other Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 resources listed in this guide.

The following is a list of assumptions about the institutionally-owned devices described in this guide:

  • The devices may or may not be domain-joined.

  • Users log on to their device by using an institution-issued account (and possible have an associated Microsoft account) instead of using their own Windows account.

  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise can be deployed on the devices (if desired).

  • Windows-based devices that need to support Microsoft RemoteFX will be running Windows Vista or later operating systems.

  • Devices running operating systems other than Windows (such as iOS or Android) will require an app that supports the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and RemoteFX.

The following is a list of assumptions about the personally-owned devices described in this guide:

  • The devices are not domain joined.

  • Users log on to their device by using their own Windows account (and possible Microsoft account) instead of an institution-issued account.

  • None of the devices will be running Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

  • Windows-based devices that need to support RemoteFX will be running Windows Vista or later.

  • Devices running operating systems other than Windows (such as iOS or Android) will require an app that supports the RDP or RemoteFX.

In this guide:

See also