Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) was implemented as a solution for Waterloo Region District School Board’s needs as it is not only scalable, but it is built on the familiarity and compatibility of Windows 10. A customized AVD solution was implemented for the School Board that tailored to their specific application set and infrastructure. The implementation addressed an initial set of use cases that included high-performance GPU technical workloads, standard Office Suite applications, and administrative applications.
The service was first piloted with an internal staff implementation, where the benefits of AVD were discovered. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Softlanding was engaged to speed up timelines and ensure a successful deployment across all schools. The Waterloo Region District School Board chose a graduated rollout of AVD that would increase the number of classes transformed over three months. This strategy helped to ease the service into the hands of the students, teachers, and IT staff leading to better adoption rates. Further, to support change management, Tech teacher champions were identified and worked to train their colleagues on the adjustments and transformation occurring within the organization.
Prior to the implementation, classes were not able to operate without access to physical labs. This solution enabled all students to have equal access to tools such as AutoCad, Adobe Creative Suite, and the Microsoft Office Productivity Suite in a hybrid learning situation. As of November 2021, more than 5200 students use the virtual platforms scaling up to 150+ host pools, giving them access to resources without booking physical access to computer time.
The solution proved to be great for students, teachers, and IT staff, and a long-term adoption plan was created to increase the use of AVD across the Waterloo Region District School Board.