AWS Public Sector Blog

Modernizing remote work and learning with Amazon AppStream 2.0

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As schools return for their academic years amid a global pandemic, many questions persist around how best to enable both teachers and students to learn remotely, including accessing materials and applications in a secure and suitable form. Similarly, staff and administrators must have a reliable system for handling confidential information. For some, the answer is found in virtual private network (VPN) connectivity and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Streaming applications over the internet instead of having them physically installed on devices and desktops can save costs and address security concerns.

InterVision, a strategic service provider and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Partner, helped one of their higher education customers quickly and securely scale remote application delivery to students and faculty using Amazon AppStream 2.0, a solution that provides highly available remote user access while reducing the management time and costs compared to traditional solutions. Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a browser-based application hosting solution that operates out of the AWS Cloud, which delivers reliable accessibility and security for critical user applications without latency or the need for a VPN connection. All users need is access to the internet.

Amazon AppStream 2.0 delivered to higher education

Mt. San Jacinto Community College District (MSJC) needed to quickly support a remote workforce after COVID-19 pushed faculty and staff to perform roles from home. To continue providing educational services to students, MSJC reached out to their most trusted partners to discuss, design, and assist their IT team in implementing the solution they needed. InterVision was one of the first calls made.

The college used five critical applications to support their faculty and staff: Colleague UI, OnBase, Galaxy, SARS Anywhere, and SQL Services Reporting Services. These applications consisted of a mix between browser-based (thin client) and desktop-based (thick client) applications—but all of them were only accessible from the campus location. The IT staff were exploring using VPNs to connect users to campus servers remotely, but they worried about maintaining governance, compliance, and cybersecurity best practices. One of the older applications had remote desktop protocol (RDP) limitations as well, which meant this application couldn’t perform adequately with a VDI or VPN solution.

InterVision consulted with MSJC’s IT team and shared a variety of options. They determined that AppStream 2.0 represented the best solution for delivering their five critical applications in an intuitive design for both IT members and end users, provide compliance with data governance requirements, and be feasible to deploy in just a few days.

MSJC had a pre-established partnership with InterVision and had developed trust. InterVision, MSJC, and AWS worked together to determine the best autoscaling policies to control costs and ensure all resources were consistently available. Within just two days, they had completed a production environment deployment of their five applications on AppStream 2.0 using InterVision’s prescriptive Cloud Migration Lifecycle Assurance (CMLA) program. Over the next few days, MSJC trained more than 300 employees, allowing their staff and faculty to use the critical applications immediately for their roles and in the classroom.

After the project’s initial completion, MSJC was pleased with the results and have been evaluating what other applications should be moved to AppStream 2.0.

The technologies used included: Amazon AppStream 2.0, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), AWS Transit Gateway, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), AWS security groups, AWS elastic network interfaces (ENI), Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and Domain Name Service (DNS), and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

Benefits of AppStream 2.0 for academic institutions

With AppStream 2.0, individual applications are installed on a Windows server hosted on the AWS Cloud, meaning that all data is centrally stored for pay-as-you-go pricing, cost controlled in a scalable solution, and accessed in a role-based format for increased security. Using Amazon AppStream 2.0 means users experience:

  1. No need for a VPN
  2. Streamed applications over the internet (not a VDI solution)
  3. Support for complex, customized application deployments
  4. Decreased latency with the computing power of the AWS Cloud
  5. Identity access management for single sign-on (SSO)
  6. Comfort with using the cloud among apprehensive IT staff

Learn more and get started

InterVision’s expertise in delivering AppStream 2.0 through the AWS End User Computing competency and InterVision’s Cloud Migration Lifecycle Assurance (CMLA) program provides midsize, enterprise, and public sector organizations a comprehensive approach to cloud migration, operation, and optimization. Learn more about InterVision.

Learn more by visiting the AWS Organizational Resiliency & Continuity Help Center.

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