Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Vanderbilt Managed Desktop Program?
The Vanderbilt Managed Desktop Program (VMDP) was created to:
- reduce the total cost of ownership of Vanderbilt's client technology systems
- offer expense transparency
- offer a scheduled desktop replacement cycle
- streamline processes around desktop/laptop support, purchases, and operations
- enhance security
- offer formal Service Level Agreements (SLA details)
Who initiated the program?
The Vice Chancellor of Administration charged IT with implementing the Chancellor’s initiative to expand the Division of Administration's managed desktop program across the Administrative areas of Vanderbilt.
Why did Vanderbilt do this?
To provide a platform for well-communicated, well-documented and well-demonstrated consolidated and standardized support where the norm serves the needs of the majority.
When did the program begin?
Personal computing support functions within the majority of University Administrative areas began to transfer to Vanderbilt University Information Technology in December 2012.
How does VMDP improve functionality, security, compatibility?
- Improved functionality– Departments will be using the same core productivity and communication software, reducing complexity.
- Improved Security– By eliminating legacy technologies, departments will use modern operating systems and productivity suites with managed security patching.
- Improved Compatibility– By managing and testing software upgrades before they are deployed to the community, many compatibility issues can be avoided.
What is in scope for the Program?
The procurement, installation, support, and life-cycling of desktop hardware; and management of the configuration of the operating system and standard software suite.
How are competing priorities handled?
Service Level Objectives (SLO) and agreements (SLA) will provide the framework for prioritizing activities. Support staff will focus on first call resolution through remote control capabilities and as always the first priority is the customer.
What items does IT support?
IT supports the desktop and the standard software suite. Limited support for peripheral hardware such as keyboard, mouse, monitors, printers, etc. The support structure for mobile devices is considered “best effort.”
What about old computers we keep around for software/hardware compatibility with legacy apps or spares? Can those be kept in an “unsupported” status?
IT acts as the sole provider of support for all computers in your areas. This includes computers used for training, kiosks, spares, special applications, etc. Under VMDP, computers will either be under support or removed through disposal processes.
Where can I get more information?
The VMDP website is continuously being updated. Check back here often for more information. Contact IT for desktop support issues. For questions or concerns about the program, please email them to email@example.com.
Will IT support my personally owned system?
There is no support provided for personally owned systems.
What about after-hours support?
IT desktop support provides phone support from 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM, and after hours support for emergencies only. For details refer to levels of service.
How long does it take to get a new machine?
Procurement of replacement machines for those eligible for life-cycle replacement is managed by the IT Desktop Support team. Systems are replaced on a four-year life-cycle.
Requests for new hire should be processed by the hiring manager, immediately after the employment offer is accepted, for the best experience.
What is the cost for VMDP?
The annual cost per machine for life-cycle and support is $1,000. Options for virtual desktops are also available. If a desktop or laptop is under management, the tablet and smart phone devices owned by that user are supported “best effort” at no additional cost.
Where are desktop support staff located?
The VMDP desktop support technicians are located in suite 143 of the Hill Center and are dispatched to customer locations as necessary.
Personal Computing Hardware
Who will IT procure desktop hardware from?
The current preferred hardware vendor for PCs purchased by IT is Dell.
If we don’t like Dell, can we buy something else?
A limited range of devices has been selected to maximize savings and minimize complexity in the environment.
What about Apple?
The program is focused on Microsoft Windows based systems, however, Apple systems are in scope and are fully supported as well.
Does support include printers?
Connectivity and configuration for local and networked printers are included, however, hardware support is provided as “best effort.” Departments who require printers other than those provided by the CampusPrint program are encouraged to purchase a support contract.
How can I get a faster system?
Right Sizing systems, based on role definition, will be developed over time. The ITDesktop Support team makes the best estimate to match new systems role needs at time of replacement. If business units decide that the system being selected is not adequate, the department can choose another model within the standards, but may be required to cover the cost difference or any upgrades.
Does this include kiosk systems?
All departmental computer systems are managed under VMDP, except where explicitly excluded.
What about local backup systems?
Code42 CrashPlan, a cloud-based backup solution, is the university’s preferred option for backing up data on university-owned desktops and laptops. To install CrashPlan on a university-owned computer, please contact your primary IT support provider.
Personal Computing Software
Is IT going to force us to learn new software versions?
To provide consistency and desktop security, the standard software suite will be kept up to date with the latest versions of the software. After appropriate testing, plans to upgrade software versions will be communicated and additional information and training resources will be made available.
What is the Core Image?
The Core Image consists of the Microsoft Software Suite included in Vanderbilt's Microsoft Campus Agreement
- Microsoft Windows,
- Microsoft Office Professional,
- Microsoft Office Skype for Business,
- Internet browsers including Internet Explorer/Edge, Chrome and Firefox and
- common helpersoftware (e.g., Adobe Reader, Java applets, etc.)
Software upgrades and updates are included in the cost of VMDP.
How will my applications be installed?
IT will sequence as much as possible to allow remote installation through light touch / no touch technologies .
Through the combination of desktop management and configuration management, software will be installed remotely and seamlessly
How fast will software versions be upgraded?
IT will manage the core image to eliminate obsolescence and complexity in the environment. Core image software will be evaluated for update within six months of any major release.
Why can’t I have different screen savers?
Screen saver programs are notorious attack vectors for viruses, spyware, and other malware.
Some of my software requires admin rights to run, how will this work?
Technology is evolving to allow applications to have the appropriate elevated user permissions to run, without extending the elevated user permissions to the user's entire account. In the interim some users may have administrative rights with their account.
What about my legacy software?
Legacy software will be supported where appropriate. Technologies such as application-virtualization and desktop virtualization will provide opportunities for extended life where security concerns need to be mitigated.