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Digital Inclusion, Education IT, Technology

World’s largest virtualised desktop deployment in Brazil’s schools

Brazil is to install 356,800 virtualised desktops to schools in all of the country’s 5560 municipalities, allowing millions of schoolchildren to access information technology across the country.

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The project, undertaken by the country’s Ministry of Education, is expected to be the world’s largest ever virtual desktop deployment. Uerful and ThinNetworks are selected to provide the virtualisation software and hardware respectively.

The virtualised units offer the features of a full PC including high performance video. Using standard low cost video cards and USB/2-way-audio hubs, they are procured at less than US$50 per additional seat, not including monitors and keyboards.

The project turns each computer into up to 10 independent workstations through desktop virtualisation. Unused computing power is shared between the virtualised workstations, each having its monitor, mouse and keyboard. This enabled the Brazilian government to supply unprecedented number of workstations to its schools, while achieving 60 per cent savings in up-front costs and 80 per cent in annual power savings.

Additional savings are expected in the administration and support costs of the entire implementation.

The project also comes with minimised environmental impact. By virtualising the desktops, CO2 emissions are expected to be reduced by 170,000 tons annually, and the hardware waste is reduced by 80 per cent – a dramatic cutback in environmental footprint.

The hardware is designed to work in harsh conditions with little supporting infrastructure, allowing deployment in schools located in remote indigenous villages where infrastructure is minimal and electricity is unreliable.

A competitive bidding process was conducted for all three phases of the project, with the first being the installation of 18,750 workstations in rural areas, which has been successfully accomplished.

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