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MyCloud: A Personalized Computing Experience Using Desktop Virtualization

Cleveland Public Library

Innovation Summary

Working with Citrix and in partnership with HP, Cleveland Public Library has developed MyCloud, a free service that gives users of library computers the power to create their own computing experience, just as if they were using their own laptop or desktop computers.

Innovation Leader: Bob Carterette, Director of Information Technology & CLEVNET, bob@cpl.org

Problem Statement

Patrons using library computers must cope with and work around a wall of “no’s” and “cannot’s.” No, you cannot save files on the computer. No, you cannot bookmark. No, you cannot set preferences. Patrons struggle to save their files to flash drives before their sessions time out. After each use the computer is wiped clean for the next user. Upon every return trip, the user starts from scratch. When the experience of the person who relies on technology at the public library is so vastly different than the experience of the person who owns a computer, then the digital divide remains, albeit in a different context. How can the public library provide its computer users with an experience that approximates one that comes with ownership? Why shouldn’t the users of library computers be able to come in to the library, open a computer and find their desktop and all of their files, bookmarks, and preferences just as they left them at their last visit?

Innovation

Through a laptop-like thin client, the user can access a high-performance, customizable virtual desktop dedicated to that individual, giving that person an experience comparable to having their very own computer. When the user logs on to MyCloud, all of their bookmarks and preferences are as they left them and their files are stored securely in Cleveland Public Library's private cloud, accessible only by the user. The personalized computing experience, promoted at Cleveland Public Library as MyCloud, is built in partnership with Citrix and HP, using Citrix's XenDesktop technology and HP's converged infrastructure to build a platform capable of supporting thousands of dedicated virtual desktops. The thin clients can be checked out and used anywhere in the library for both collaborative and quiet work experiences. The virtual desktops can offer a full range of software applications, including Photoshop and other powerful applications.

Progress

In development since January 2011, MyCloud has been tested and is ready for public use. Cleveland Public Library will debut the service in June 2012 when it opens the new TechCentral at the downtown Main Library. Located here will be the MyCloud thin clients and up to 123 computer workstations that include PCs, Macs, and Linux operating systems. Patrons can also check out tablets, eBook readers, and other technology from Tech Central’s Tech Toolbox.