ISTE11 NEWS: Virtual desktop for schools

ZeroDesktop, Inc., developer of Web Desktop solutions for public and private cloud computing, today announced ZeroPC Private Cloud (, providing education and businesses serving 1,000+ concurrent users per entry-server or 3,000+ on an advanced-server with a full-function yet cost-effective virtual desktop that extends the life of their outdated computers. For schools that don't have a server infrastructure, ZeroPC also provides on-demand hosting service. The ZeroPC is a virtual desktop that users can securely and instantly access content using any computer with any Web browser. ZeroDesktop will demonstrate ZeroPC at ISTE 2011, Philadelphia (Booth #2760).

The ZeroPC Private Cloud (previously Startforce) provides the industry's first "disposable" virtual desktop for the education market. ZeroPC enables IT administrators to set up general kiosk-mode desktops with predefined look-and-feel, applications, files and programs that students access in classrooms, labs or libraries without requiring user login credentials, and that can be shared by many users. If a student accidentally deletes desktop icons, files or folders, or modifies desktop settings, the desktop can be reset to its original format by simply refreshing the browser tab to dispose of the changes.

IT managers can deploy and manage a large number of ZeroPC virtual desktops with confidence. For a typical 1000+ concurrent-user deployment, traditional VDI upfront costs, including multiple servers, large amounts of storage space and numerous licensing fees, cost $250K to $450K to deploy, plus costly maintenance fees. Similar deployments using ZeroPC's virtual desktop cost $45K to $65K with less server hardware, storage and bandwidth resources required. ZeroPC centralizes management of applications and content, and streamlines manageability of 1,000+ computers, saving IT resources, and lowers total of ownership by more than 7x compared to traditional VDI solutions.

ZeroPC Web Desktops require only 350KB of server-side storage space per user, resulting in storage cost savings. The maximum concurrent users supported by an entry-server (single quadcore) dramatically increases to 1000+ users with ZeroPC versus traditional VDI's 50-100 users. There are no plug-ins, downloads or installation on the client side, and users can access ZeroPC Web Desktops from any Web browser anywhere.

ZeroPC's Web-based VDI technology utilizes true Web technology and delivers the Web desktop to the client workstation using standard HTTP/S protocol and AJAX techniques. Communication with back-end servers is handled through asynchronous requests, significantly reducing connection bandwidth requirements. Traditional VDI uses proprietary RDP and ICA protocols with persistent server connections to transfer pixels and mouse clicks between the server and proprietary player. The result is poor performance and enormous bandwidth consumption, plus approximately 10GB+ software images required for each user due to backend hypervisor and Windows architecture.

Santa Clara Unified School District's Director of the Information Technology Group, Mary Phillips states:

"We explored virtualization to see if we could decrease PC costs and maintenance issues. However, when we added up all the licensing and infrastructure costs associated with traditional VDI, the investment was excessive. We selected ZeroPC because it is a cost-effective solution, versatile and innovative enough to meet our needs. We are able to revitalize 5-7 year-old outdated or virus-infected computers by using a small, locked-down version of Windows XP image and running ZeroPC virtual desktops through a Web browser. We virtualized more than 30 Windows apps such as Read180, ALEKS and other learning applications using InstallFree, an application packaging software."

"Simply stated, we created a private cloud and delivered virtual desktops using ZeroPC, packaged the application software using InstallFree, and deployed this solution to labs and classrooms throughout the district," continued Phillips."We have now met our goal of repurposing old computers and maximizing resources by being able to centrally manage virtualized applications and content. We envision deploying this solution to more than 1,000 desktops within the next few months."