Virtual Desktop Infrastructure for Greater Good Of Humanity

This is one of those stories that makes me believe that what I do on a day-to-day basis has greater purpose than simply serving large corporations to generate more capital. I believe we have the power today with the technology to solve the toughest human and social problems. That’s my hope.

The story you are about to read is from my Teradici’s friend Robert Philkill who had the opportunity to go to Sabah, Malaysia, and be part of an amazing technology feat. Robert thank you for sharing this fantastic and moving story with all of us. Also make sure you watch the video at the end of the article.

VMware and Teradici have recently been awarded a contract for the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MoE) to deliver VDI to Malaysian students. As you may know, Malaysia’s geography consists of two main parts separated from each other by the South China Sea and includes numerous islands as well.

In order to prove out the desktop virtualization technology from VMware and Teradici, we were asked to deliver our technology to a “worst case site” in Sabah. The goal here was to ensure that VMware Horizon View and Teradici PCoIP zero clients could be deployed with minimal on-site setup or modification to the classroom environment.

The Mission

Longogon Village PCoIP Deployment – Middle of no where end of road, land that time forgot.


Background of where I was

The state of Sabah is one of Malaysia’s 14 states on an Island of Borneo, that has three countries. Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. An interesting fact is that Brunei is one of the richest countries per capita in the world because of Oil.


This was a deployment in a very rural part of Malaysia. It is so off the grid that you can only get there by boat. Getting there from Kota Kinabalu (name of a very famous mountain). Took me 5 hours on a paved road. Followed by 3 hours by a very extremely challenging dirt and mud road in an old school Toyota landcruiser that took us to a murky brown river that housed crocodiles. Then we traded some pineapples and other supplies ( I am not making this up ) for an hour-long boat caravan with 25 Samsumg NC241 Zero Clients, a HP DL380 server, networking gear, racks etc.

As you will see the boat is not a yacht.

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The water had rapids in much of the hour-long trip to the village. It rains often and water was moving very swiftly.

Electricity is provided by solar and a diesel generator. This plays nicely for the low energy requirements of the zero clients. Internet is provided by a VSAT  2 Mbps if you are lucky. The reality is the link was extremely flaky.


Above is the rack post installation in the class room running a full VDI solution.


Success Criteria

The no negotiable requirement was to prove that VMware and Teradici’s PCoIP can be easily, quickly and successfully with little or no issues be deployed in the most remote location in Malaysia. I am happy to announce we met the success criteria.

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Above is the children validating in-front of MOE the teachers and the village chief the Teradici solution is meeting and exceeding their expectations.

It took about 10 minutes of simple instruction to get them to taking a 15-minute exam utilizing our Teradici solution. All the while the teacher could monitor each student from her dual screen monitors. We spent time training the teacher how to use the system and she got it right way.

The Tera 2 chip in the AIO Samsung NC241 that provided the world-class experience for the students and really impressed the MOE Government. MOE sent a lead IT director from the Malaysian office of education for the VDI initiative on this critical deployment.


The children were amazing. 36F0CF4C-86FF-4D59-B437-92CB511D04E1

These children have NEVER seen a computer before or even touched a mouse except the ones that cats eat. The children lit up like nothing I have ever witnessed before.

Education for them is a privilege that not a single child takes what we did for them this week for grant it. Their appreciation was so great that they sang me their school song. I am not ashamed to admit it really brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart.

The children in this school have to live on campus Monday through Friday. This is because the only way to school is by boat. They are at this school to learn so that they can compete at a global level. The government of Malaysia understands very clearly that ALL the children are their future and are investing in Teradici to insure that each of their futures is so bright they have to wear shades.

This whole experience was amazing for me as a father and a human being. I have been humbled by this experience and am proud to be part of the Teradici family. This was a win for our entire company. Together we just changed the world for many children with our technology.


VMware also published an article related to this deployment entitled “Closing the Digital Divide in Education with VMware Horizon View and Teradici PCoIP Zero Clients“.

…and finally the VIDEO that is worth watching in case you don’t have the time to read the entire story.

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at


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    • Brett Wolfson on 11/04/2013 at 2:43 pm

    Wow, this is what I would love to do.

    • Robert Philkill on 11/11/2013 at 2:49 pm

    It was an optic changing event. it is all about the children, and enabling them to have a bright future. The entire project was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  1. Robert, thanks for sharing your story. BTW – let me know next time you are in Palo Alto.


    • Tom Hickey on 10/30/2014 at 3:56 pm

    Robert, Nice to meet you today in Seattle. Very inspiring to say the least. Its all about the children no matter what continent! Thanks for your work!

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