Monroe County Library System used to have a collection of stand-alone Windows XP computers. They worked fine but were a challenge to manage—there were virus, privacy and security issues. For example, on those Windows computers, sensitive information—such as passwords user id’s and browser history — would be left behind after a patron left. Also, those computers didn’t have centralized management, so the IT staff would need to physically travel—sometimes driving up to two-hours—to address even the smallest of issues. Beyond just the travel time involved, making changes to the computers was a time consuming affair. For example, to add a web link to the desktop, the staff would sometimes drive a full one hour to the branch in order to add the link which took about 15 minutes for each computer because the system needed to be rebooted to be able to make a change.
As they began to consider new solutions for their public computers, the county’s IT team and library technologists wanted to ensure that patron privacy was respected and they wanted a solution that could be managed remotely and easily. On top of this, they also needed to keep an eye on the budget—spending only what was needed to run a public computers with reliable performance. The team began looking at virtualization based solutions due to the central control they provide, but as they considered solutions, they didn’t see any that matched all their criteria. Until they found Userful.