Pivcon Management Platform Case Study: Monroe Community College

Organization Size:

In Fall 2011, Monroe Community College (MCC) enrolled over 17,500 credit students supported by more than 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff with an academic learning environment of over 2,000 desktop computers spread across two campuses and two extension centers.

Organization Profile:

Monroe Community College is a unit of the State University of New York (SUNY) and is one of only 20 community colleges out of over 1,800 across North America selected for board membership with the prestigious League of Innovation in Community Colleges.  Founded in 1961, MCC prides itself on providing an affordable, quality education for more than 37,000 students in the Rochester, NY area.  MCC offers over 90 academic programs across two main campuses, two specialized centers and various community sites.

Business Situation:

MCC's Communications and Network Services (CNS) department, within the Educational Technology Services division, was tasked with replacing their aging classroom image deployment and management system.  The system had become slow and unreliable, did not work well with the latest modern operating systems, and required identical hardware for each image to work well.  MCC needed a new platform that would allow them to quickly and reliably deploy multiple images in their multi-campus academic learning environments.  The new platform would rely less on a proprietary means for automating common tasks in a Microsoft Windows® environment while being both scalable and flexible enough to meet the current and future needs of this leading academic institution.  CNS was an extensive user of virtualization technology in the data center, and desired a solution that provided the benefits of virtualization.  VDI was explored, but did not fit the bill as CNS also needed the performance and compatibility of native hardware due to the extensive deployment of high end audio/visual, 3D engineering, and other demanding software applications required by MCC's curriculum.


After reviewing numerous products and proposals, including VDI and Software Streaming solutions, MCC selected the Pivcon Management Platform (PMP) as its product of choice starting with the Fall 2010 semester.  PMP provided support for Microsoft Windows® 7 in both the Native Virtual Hard Disk and pure virtualized environments, which allowed them to leverage their existing infrastructure, required no new data center hardware investments, and significantly reduced their deployment timelines, while greatly increasing the reliability of the deployments.    The solution also opened up the opportunity to deploy non-Microsoft operating systems to support special curriculums where needed.


With more than 2,000 computers now running under PMP in the academic learning environment, MCC has realized a number of benefits.  These benefits greatly increased reliability and significantly reduced deployment timelines.  MCC leveraged their existing data center infrastructure, reduced the complexity of their network infrastructure to support image deployment, and increased the capability to modify images in the field without the need to fully deploy a new image.  Simply put, MCC didn't need to upgrade or invest in new servers, storage, or network gear due to the low data center requirements of the PMP platform.

PMP provides many of the benefits of VDI, while maintaining native hardware performance and compatibility that allows for the deployment of the demanding applications needed by their academic programs.  Further, the PivotalPeering distribution technology provided very fast deployment times leveraging their installed base of desktops while dramatically minimizing the demand on data center resources.

Aside from the technical benefits, MCC's CNS department has realized higher productivity and job satisfaction from its staff.  Labs became more stable and received significantly better feedback from faculty and lab support staff.   The new reliability, speed, and capabilities also allowed for operational changes.  PMP allowed MCC to perform entire lab upgrades to production critical environments mid-week, in very small time windows, with confidence that the room would be up and running for classes in just a few hours.  With the previous legacy imaging system, these upgrades were scheduled during school breaks and weekends as it simply wasn't possible to complete an upgrade within the small time windows available mid-week.  Consequently, after the installation the need for compensatory time and overtime for image deployments and classroom upgrades was largely eliminated.

Further, as is common with all Pivcon deployments, Pivcon worked very closely with MCC and MCC's computer provider to maximize the benefit and have the PMP software pre-loaded at time of manufacture.  MCC now simply unboxes and places the computer in the classroom and the computer is already known to the PMP system, immediately starts provisioning, and is ready to go shortly thereafter.  This capability allows for deployment of new labs utilizing less senior employee resources than in the past.

In the Data Center, MCC benefited greatly from the PivotalPeering technology.  The PMP solution required approximately 75% fewer data center resources than the previous solution as the vast majority of the distribution load is handled across the peers in the PMP deployment, and not the servers.  PivotalPeering, which is unicast based, significantly reduced the involvement of senior networking staff by eliminating the need for multicast switching, routing, and related troubleshooting that the previous multicast based system required.

About PMP:

The Pivcon Management Platform (PMP) is, in simplest terms, a desktop image deployment, provisioning and ongoing management system.  Bridging the divide between conventional desktop imaging technologies and the trend towards Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, PMP allows the distribution of virtual disk images to desktops via lightning-fast, peer-to-peer technologies and then provisioning them for use under either on the native hardware or as virtual machines.  This approach is designed to leverage your institution's existing desktop node infrastructure while enjoying many of the benefits of virtualization.

PMP was designed from the ground up to meet educational institution needs by a team with over 20 years' experience managing computer classrooms in an educational learning environment.  The system was carefully designed to meet the needs of students, faculty, information technology staff, and management.

PMP provides a reliable and scalable desktop management platform requiring minimal server and network hardware while allowing for maximum flexibility with minimal staff time. Currently supporting Windows® 7 Native VHD Booting and Oracle VirtualBox® virtual machine images, PMP clients can support multiple bootable images on a single computer while providing an easy way to turn older hardware into thin clients and kiosks with minimal management.

Key Benefits:

  • Minimal hardware and network requirements
  • High reliability and scalability
  • Rapid and reliable image distribution via PivotalPeering peer-to-peer implementation
  • Powerful management features
  • Multiple images on one computer
  • Support for multiple operating systems including Microsoft Windows® 7, Linux, and Unicies.
  • Automatic hardware inventory collection
  • Native performance with virtualization benefits
  • Managed supervisor that can provide Kiosk / Digital Signage Network services w/o need for images.
  • Supports clients with only occasional connectivity

MCC Contacts


Monroe Communtity College
Unit of the State University of New York
1000 East Henrietta Rd.
Rochester, NY  14623 


David Lane
Acting Assistant Vice President
Communications and Network Services

Donna Pogroszewski
Director / CSO
Communications and Network Services