How the University of Sao Paulo Mobilized Their Students, Faculty, and Staff

Back when I was in school, we didn’t have smart phones, tablets, or laptops. We were at the very humble beginnings of using computers for the more mundane tasks like writing papers (IBM PCs, with two floppy drives, one for the application and the other for storing your data). Using a computer was limited by time, location, and device. How different is it for college students and staff today? I suppose it can vary depending on institution, but one of the world’s leading universities, University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, is providing leading edge mobile solutions to the 100,000 plus students, faculty, and administrative staff.


Together We Can Mobilize Your Researchers

The University of São Paulo (USP) is a global research machine. One of South America’s most prestigious public universities, they produce more doctorate degrees annually than any other university in the world and rank in the top 5 in the number of scientific articles published.



USP was struggling to meet service levels and coordinate backups across its sprawling environment of over 150 environments. Costs were escalating, and individual departments could not scale quickly enough to support the growing capacity and performance requirements of their users. If USP wanted to remain at the forefront of leading institutions, they would need a fast and flexible IT infrastructure that could stay a step ahead of users’ needs, including corporate, educational, and research. They would call it “Cloud USP”, an initiative that would result in providing a scalable computing platform for researchers, teachers, and students to conduct their work and incorporate all the university’s corporate systems.


In 2012, USP embarked on a project that would consolidate the university’s 150 data centers into six and bring all of its corporate, educational, and research environments together in a massive private cloud built on FlexPod and NetApp Flash and hybrid storage. They were able to meet their aggressive six-month deployment schedule, and Cloud USP quickly became one of the largest private cloud deployments in Latin America.


NetApp storage and FlexPod has played a key role in the success of the Cloud USP project. The university uses 15 petabytes (PB) of NetApp® storage across six data centers and can support up to 1.5 million IOPS across its scale-out storage clusters. Two capabilities were particularly important for Cloud USP storage infrastructure:

  • The ability to deploy hybrid arrays with both solid-state disk (SSD) and hard-disk drive (HDD) functionality
  • Seamless integration of the NetApp Virtual Storage Console (VSC) with Apache CloudStack software

This results optimal performance while meeting costs with the ability to simplify and streamline the manageability of the entire infrastructure.


Untitled.pngMobilizing Their Researchers with FlexPod and Citrix: Reference Architecture

Now, instead of taking a year or more to provision IT resources for research projects, it takes just hours, sometimes minutes. Research can begin earlier and finish more quickly, reinforcing USP’s position as one of the world’s leading universities. Cloud USP accelerates research breakthroughs by supporting secure and reliable mobile access to vital educational tools and research from anywhere in the world. From field teams studying tropical diseases in the Amazon to scientists stationed in Antarctica, researchers from USP are now able to immediately upload, share, and analyze data in the field. “If you want to study tropical diseases, you have to go where they’re really a problem,” explains Antonio Roque Dechen, EVP of administration and professor at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture at USP. “We have an advanced research unit 5,000 kilometers away in the Amazon studying these illnesses where they occur. In the past, they would have to bring the data from the Amazon back to São Paulo. But today, they can go anywhere in the world and immediately be working with their data from the cloud.” Citrix, FlexPod and the shift to cloud: have we finally seen the tipping point?


Mobility goes beyond higher education: Oil and Gas Exploration and Manufacturing Industry Solutions

Other industries benefit from mobilization of their workforce and enabling what Citrix likes to call the software defined workspace. NetApp and Citrix work together to provide solutions for oil and gas, healthcare and manufacturing. In some of these cases, it isn’t just about mobility, but also providing high performance visualization capabilities. Take the Oil and Gas industry for example. Geoscientists around the world need to visualize massive datasets from teams in remote locations to better understand the earth’s subsurface. Feeding data to workstations is challenging because teams are increasingly spanning organizational and geographic boundaries. How do you improve collaboration without exposing sensitive data?


Enabling this towwwest.png happen requires either a local copy of the dataset, which can be difficult and potentially risky to provide, or remote visualization. Up to now, remote visualization solutions have been complicated to deploy and manage and haven’t provided the quality or responsiveness that users expect.  To solve this problem, NetApp teamed with NVIDIA, Citrix and Cisco  to bring best-in-class technologies together for a fully integrated and validated desktop virtualization solution with advanced visualization capabilities.FlexPod Datacenter with Citrix XenDesktop and NVIDIA GRID addresses the critical need for secure, remote 3D access to geology and geophysics applications and data for geographically dispersed, cross-disciplinary teams to improve collaboration and accelerate decision-making.



What about manufacturing? A great example here, where again, Citrix and NetApp are providing WhiteWater West, a global leading water park attraction design firm, high performance and 24x7 availability as part of their Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktop delivery platform which runs 60 applications and currently supports 600 staff members, including those who need rapid and remote access to engineering and CAD applications and data. In addition, on-demand scalability is required to quickly take on new projects and leverage new business opportunities, such as the recent acquisition of a new  advanced manufacturing milling machine, which enhances the company’s composite manufacturing capabilities resulting in faster production times and reduced production costs.


As it turns out, we’ve got solutions in a broad base of industries. Healthcare, financial services, and public sector, to name a few more. We’re continuing to innovate with Citrix to provide mobility to the masses, and I can’t wait to share more customer successes with you as they develop.