Kingston University will use technology from RES Software to help manage a mixed Windows XP/7 infrastructure for at least the next 12 months.
The software will allow the university's 27,500 users to access XP applications that cannot initially be migrated to Windows 7.
Daniel Bolton, system architect for Kingston University, said: "We are not just going to rip out and replace workstations and put in thin clients [running Windows 7] – it would be too expensive. We expect a blended environment for the next year at least, where XP will still be the primary OS on the desktop.
"However, we want users to be able to access resources via a Windows 7 hosted desktop," he added.
Bolton plans to do this by giving users a Windows 7 virtual desktop with all the applications that the user requires, and use RES' Virtual Desktop Extender to display the local applications that won't initially be migrated to Windows 7 for legacy reasons.
Bolton hopes that this will "seamlessly" allow users to manage and access the applications they require.
Kingston University aims to start the rollout of 3,000 desktops to a virtual infrastructure this summer, and the infrastructure will use Quest vWorkspace and Microsoft App-V virtualisation software.
Bolton claims that the cost benefits of running a hybrid environment for the next two to three years are significant due to the quantity of the legacy that needs replacing.
He also hopes that RES' Workspace Manager will help users cut down on their log in times.
"Currently, a log in can take up to 15 minutes, and a lot of the time this is due to profile bloat," said Bolton.
"Roaming profiles traditionally grow and grow the more they are used, and can get corrupted and messy. This causes delays when signing in," he added.
"With the RES' application management solution we can capture the relevant parts of a profile that the user requires and essentially compose the user's desktop. The software tracks every setting the user changes, so the next time they log into a new desktop, it will roam with them. This significantly cuts down on the log in time".