The computer labs at the CFPCA are a vital resource for students. The CFPCA offers courses in fields such as communications, digital music recording, media production, design, animation and more. The labs provide students with computers powerful enough to run the software they use regularly in those fields.
Software applications on the lab computers include Avid Media Composer, Avid Pro Tools, the entire Adobe Creative Suite, Logic Pro X, Vectorworks, Autodesk and 3ds Max.
When COVID-19 shut down the Wayne State campus, students were unable to go to the computer labs in person.
Chris Gilbert, Application Technical Analyst at the CFPCA, said that students didn’t have computers powerful enough to run the software they needed for school. “We’re finding that a lot of students buy $200 laptops,” Gilbert said. “That’s good if you’re just writing a paper, but when you’re doing a CAD drawing, it’s not really going to work.”
Since students couldn’t run the software on their own devices. So, Gilbert and the rest of the IT team needed to find a way to make the apps accessible to students.
VDI and VPN fail to deliver
Gary Cendrowski, Director of Technology for the CFPCA, listed the reasons why a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) didn’t work.
“With VDI there’s not enough GPU power,” Cendrowski said. “Between that and the lag, the bootup, and the cost, it didn’t work. And then with Adobe, you can’t run Adobe on a VDI. You can’t run (Autodesk) Maya on a VDI. You could do some vector stuff but very little.”
Gilbert explained similar shortcomings with a virtual private network (VPN).
“With VPN, the students don’t have a powerful enough computer to handle all the stuff we’re throwing at them,” Gilbert said, “For example, with video editing, the students are doing 4k — even up to 8k — and their MacBook Pros aren’t going to be able to handle that.”