Whew, that’s out of the way.
I viewed/attended a webinar almost exactly two years ago, presented by Citrix about Scottsdale Community College and its mySCC system that provided virtual desktops and virtualized applications to its faculty, staff, and students. I was blown away by what I saw, and knew I wanted to build something similar.
I work for a large public university and we’d dabbled with Citrix Presentation Server for several years, but only in a very targeted manner, providing remote applications to researchers and grad students needing to run apps like SAS, Matlab, SPSS, and the like.
Part of my duties at the time included managing several hundred PC & Mac workstations in computer labs around campus, along with the various file, print, web, and other servers needed to support the labs. I also managed the Citrix Presentation Server, a service we’d inherited from another group because someone believed that, as a platform for providing quirky and often difficult to maintain applications, it would make more sense for a group of “desktop” admins to work with it than a group of “server” admins. It worked out well, and that service has grown and flourished under my group’s management.
But what I saw Scottsdale doing was so much more than what we were doing, or even thought we could do at the time, and I remember rushing into my boss’ office, showing her the promotional video for the service, and telling her we absolutely, positively, had to talk to the people at Scottsdale responsible for mySCC and do something like it for our students.
Thus began a journey that would morph over time to include a vision to provide more than just “lab software anywhere, anytime” (although it will still do that) and would eventually, after hitting every imaginable roadblock along the way, be fused with a project to build what our industry, to the chuckles of geeks watching keynotes around the globe, calls a “private cloud.”
My plan is to use this blog to document some of the steps we took to get where we are today, discuss the decisions we were faced with and why we made them, and, I hope, contribute to the conversation about the growing and changing topic.