A new cloud-based computer system is now available to members of the Goshen College community. This system allows students to access software purchased by the college from their personal computers as well as from campus computers.

This change uses what is known in the tech industry as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which is something that Goshen has been working to implement for years. By enacting this new system, Goshen College joins several other colleges and universities, including the Harvard School of Public Health, Villanova, Michigan State and Indiana University that have already implemented similar systems.

The adoption of this system is grounded in a broader vision according to Michael Sherer, Director of Information Technology, who sees the future of computing as one where “you can access any data, from any device, from anywhere.” As Sherer sees it, Goshen’s recent shift to cloud-based technology is a step toward that vision. The ITS Department hopes to create an atmosphere on campus that equips students with up-to-date tools similar to those they will encounter in the workforce.

The VDI system was utilized successfully for this year’s Fall Check-In process, allowing staff members to access the software necessary for the check-in process without the hours of setup that have burdened staff in the past. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure aids staff members, but students and faculty alike can benefit from this system, regardless of discipline. Emma Koop Liechty, a junior graphic design major, is excited to start using this system because “[VDI] will be a lot easier to do late-night design homework from my dorm room,” while sophomore math major Lydia Miller said, “having easier access to Mathematica software no matter where I am is definitely going to make me more productive.”

Faculty and commuter students can now access information stored on office computers from home because the cloud-based system is not limited to on-campus computers.

Sherer notes that the new VDI system comes with “a number of advantages and, as we are discovering, some challenges too.” According to Sherer, additional new servers should arrive to campus soon and will solve some of the “teething problems” this new system has had, including difficulty supporting streaming video and a server failure last Friday.

In order to access the new cloud servers, students can visit http://service.goshen.edu/support/.