Unidesk Makes Learning Mobile, Flexible and Collaborative for Colleges and Universities

Unidesk Makes Learning Mobile, Flexible and Collaborative for Colleges and Universities

Managing virtual lab applications and faculty desktops is now simple and cost-effective for colleges and universities, enabling stronger faculty-student collaboration and BYOD.

Case Study: Unidesk Powers Mercer University’s Campus-Wide Borderless Classroom Initiative →

Benefits for Students, Faculty, Staff, and IT

Students access educational applications through any device.

Professors maximize creativity with desktops that provide full personalization.

IT has only 1 Windows image to patch and delivers apps 80% faster at half the cost.

Leadership attracts students with virtual labs that offer anywhere, anytime access to educational resources.

A Better Way to Deliver Educational Apps

Colleges and universities must offer access to a wide variety of Windows applications. Unidesk can deliver any app to any number of virtual machines with one installation. Here are the technical reasons why Unidesk application layering offers the same “container” benefits as application virtualization, with none of the shortcomings.

  • No special expertise required. IT teams in higher education are lean. You can't afford to spend hours or days to package a single app. With Unidesk, you can layer any app with a standard install in just a few minutes. No scripting, sequencing, or stacking required.
  • Greater app compatibility. Any app can be layered with Unidesk. Standard office productivity apps, complex educational apps, printer drivers, you name it. Unlike virtualization technologies that isolate apps in protective bubbles, layered apps appear locally installed for full interoperability. With their registry keys, files, and data in the usual places, your apps will be able to cross-communicate as expected.
  • Lifecycle management. Effortlessly manage the lifecycle of your apps from deployment to retirement. Even “undo” patches to quickly resolve issues simply by assigning an earlier version of an app or Windows layer. Get other things done as entire classrooms or labs are rolled back to their previous working states.

Tennessee Tech University

"Instead of having to build a custom image for each lab, Unidesk lets us concentrate on which applications we want to deliver. We can layer even complex apps like MATLAB, SPSS and Office in a few minutes, then pick which layers we want on each desktop. No more install issues to worry about. No more extra images to manage."

Jeremy Ey
Systems Administrator & End User Computing Architect, Tennessee Tech University

Personal Desktops for Faculty & Staff, Clean Desktops for Students

Professors need to customize their desktops with unique plug-ins and applications. That's how they provide an engaging curriculum and a better educational experience. But managing persistent virtual desktops for faculty and staff and non-persistent desktops for students has required more storage, gold images, and IT overhead.

Not anymore. With Unidesk personalization layers, faculty and staff get persistent desktops that save all of their changes – profile settings, plug-ins, even user-installed apps. Students can use non-persistent desktops that give them a fresh, clean experience each time they login. Best of all, IT can provision and manage both using the same storage-efficient Windows and application layers.

Mercer University

"With Unidesk layers, images go away. We have just 1 OS layer for over 1,000 desktops, even with our mix of non-persistent VMs for labs and persistent VMs for faculty and staff. A single, clean Windows 7 64-bit operating system OS layer is the gold standard for our entire environment."

Shane Milam
Executive Director of Technology Infrastructure Service, Mercer University

VDI That’s Less Costly Than New PCs

Microsoft has chosen Unidesk as its management partner for Microsoft VDI and Azure RemoteApp. Together, we cut the licensing costs of Windows desktop and app delivery in half compared to traditional VDI, making virtual desktops more cost-effective than buying new PCs.

Colleges and universities can take advantage of their Microsoft educational agreements to implement VDI that’s scalable, flexible, and easy to manage, stretching tight budgets farther in the process.

Microsite 2015 Shared - Cost Comparison Chart

500 User Example Physical PCs Microsoft VDI + Unidesk on Hyper-V VMware Horizon Citrix XenDesktop
Hardware $400,000

500 PCs, $800 per unit


7 hosts, 10 TB storage


7 hosts, 10 TB storage


7 hosts, 10 TB storage

Software $15,000

500 licenses PC management software


500 Microsoft RDS CALs & 500 Unidesk licenses


500 licenses Horizon Enterprise & 1 license vCenter Server


500 licenses Citrix XenDesktop & 500 RDS CALs

Total (with reused PCs) $415,000 $320,000 $418,750 $437,500
Mobility & BYOD - $50,000

500-user VDA subscription


500-user VDA subscription


500-user VDA subscription

Thin/Zero Clients - $37,500

Replace 25% of PCs, $300 per


Replace 25% of PCs, $300 per


Replace 25% of PCs, $300 per

Total (with Mobility) $415,000

$830 per user


$815 per user


$1013 per user


$1050 per user

Cost Comparison Between Physical and Virtual Desktops, Including Software and Hardware

usf health

Customer Blog: Higher-Education CIO on Acheiving VDI Mobility For 50% Less than the Cost of Physical PCs

Read the blog from Clackamas C.C. CIO Dion Baird

Microsite 2015 Shared - Every Platform every Cloud

Citrix? Microsoft? VMware? Cloud? Yes.

Many organizations deliver key apps through Citrix XenApp. Unidesk eliminates image management inefficiencies common in XenApp environments. By leveraging Unidesk integration with Citrix Provisioning Server, you will only patch Windows and apps once, instead of once for every XenApp silo and vDisk. And with Unidesk Elastic Layering and Session Container innovations, you can expand XenApp to 100% of your apps and all users by giving all users - for the first time - their own unique apps and persistent personalization.

For Citrix XenDesktop and VMware Horizon, Unidesk is simply the fastest and easiest way to virtualize every app and provide every VDI user with a personal user experience.

Unidesk works with all other end user computing, hypervisor, and cloud solutions as well, so you can keep your options open. Use Unidesk to:

  • Eliminate image sprawl in Citrix XenApp or Microsoft RDSH server farms.
  • Expand existing XenApp infrastructure to all apps and users with VDI-like capabilities.
  • Simplify app delivery in VDI environments with Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon.
  • Implement virtual desktops at much lower cost with Microsoft VDI on Hyper-V.
  • Leverage Azure to deliver Windows apps from the cloud.

usf health

Customer Webinar: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine Meets App Mobility Needs of Students with Unidesk

Watch the Webinar On-Demand

Unidesk Higher-Ed Success Stories

Unidesk Higher-Ed Video


Higher-Ed Customer Testimonial: University Wisconsin Oshkosh