The Baldwinsville Central School District – located outside of Syracuse, NY – is the third-largest suburban public school system in Onondaga County, covering approximately 75 square miles and serving over 5,500 students. Due to the pandemic, Baldwinsville was faced with the challenge of enabling a hybrid distance learning/campus learning model for their students, which would require students to have seamless access to all of the applications they need regardless of where they were located on any given day.

As if that wasn’t challenging enough, things were complicated by the fact that their licenses for the Desktop as a Service (DaaS) product they were using were expiring. 

“That actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” said John Cerio, Network Administrator at Baldwinsville Central School District. “We had been using VMware Horizon 7, and everything was incredibly difficult to manage already. Scaling that to meet our more widespread needs for distance learning would have been very challenging.”

The Challenge

Baldwinsville already had a 1:1 program, so every student has a Chromebook. But there are still a handful of applications that every student needs to utilize for their coursework – from Adobe’s Creative Suite to Microsoft Office and more – that they were not able to access on Chromebooks.

“We had hoped that VMware’s DaaS solution would solve that for us, but to be honest, it just never worked the way we needed it to,” said Jim Froio, LAN Support Technician at Baldwinsville Central School District. “For our students, the application performance was poor, which creates a frustrating user experience. And from an IT perspective, the complexity is just through the roof. So it wasn’t a good experience for anyone involved.”

“Ultimately, we realized that a virtual desktop approach simply wasn’t a good fit for us. We knew there had to be a simpler, more cost-effective alternative – so it was time to make a switch,” said Cerio.

The Solution

Cerio and Froio realized they had an opportunity to right-size their approach to desktop virtualization and instead focus on providing a seamless digital workspace that gave their students access to all of the apps they needed, on any device. Which is when they turned to Cameyo.

“Cameyo’s digital workspace solution enables us to give students access to the full desktop version of all the applications they need, on their Chromebooks, securely through the browser,” said Froio. “And Cameyo’s cloud-native approach dramatically simplified our environment both from a deployment and an ongoing management perspective.”

The Benefits

Right from the beginning, Baldwinsville began recognizing the benefits of Cameyo’s simple, secure, and cost-effective approach to delivering digital workspaces. Key benefits they’ve experienced thus far include:

  • Reduced Cost – “In just the first year, and talking about licensing fees alone, Cameyo is saving us $50,000 compared to VMware,” said Cerio.
  • User Experience – “Our students get to use the full desktop version of the software that they’re already used to, without having to learn anything new. It simply opens up in a browser tab instead of being locally installed on the device. And the application performance with Cameyo is nearly the same as if it were installed locally – it’s a fantastic user experience for our students,” said Cerio.
  • Reduced Complexity & Management Time – “Cameyo has been a game-changer for me. It was incredibly easy to deploy and get up and running – a matter of days instead of the weeks it took to deploy our previous DaaS solution. And the ongoing management is so simple. With VMware, there were just so many pieces to manage. You had load balancers, gateways, license servers, and more – and that was all before you could even bring the first virtual machine online. With Cameyo, all of that complexity is gone,” said Froio.
  • Security – “I can’t tell you how refreshing it is that Cameyo has multiple layers of security truly baked in at the foundation, as opposed to it being something extra we have to pay for. And the Cameyo Port Shield technology is amazing. It gives me peace of mind to know that all of our RDP ports are constantly protected in the background,” said Cerio.

ROI, and Then Some

Baldwinsville notes that saving $50,000 in the first year alone is just the beginning of the ROI they’ll see from Cameyo. 

“Another piece of the ROI equation is how Cameyo enables us to invest solely in Chromebooks moving forward, instead of also needing to purchase PCs so that students could also access the needed Windows apps,” said Cerio. “We added 1,400 Chromebooks this year as a result.”

“There’s also the time savings aspect to consider. Cameyo has reduced the amount of time required for ongoing management by at least 50% already compared to VMware,” said Froio. 

“And the amount of time spent managing infrastructure wasn’t just reduced, it was nearly eliminated,” said Cerio. “I spent at least 80 hours a year managing infrastructure with VMware. With Cameyo that has been reduced to almost nothing.”   

The Conclusion

“Cameyo not only saved us a ton of money compared to VMware, but it is incredibly easy to manage, and is more secure. This works better than anything we’ve ever had, and Cameyo is now going to play a key role in our long-term plans for moving everything to the cloud,” said Cerio.

“It’s also worth noting that Cameyo’s support team is top notch. Every step of the way, with any questions we had, the support team was right there to walk us through it. And they didn’t just try to quickly fix things so that they could close the ticket – they really took the time to make sure we were fully trained and understood how to configure everything ourselves. Our experience has been phenomenal,” said Froio.