Propel Insurance Uses Liquidware ProfileUnity To Enhance Amazon WorkSpaces
Propel Insurance in Tacoma, Washington, grew into one of the Northwest’s largest independent, private insurance agencies by creating innovative services. To support its ongoing growth, the company continues to innovate its IT infrastructure by converting to virtualized, cloud-based servers and desktops. This transition included dropping traditional PC desktops and foregoing virtual machines from VMware or Citrix; instead the company committed to Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) delivered by Amazon WorkSpaces. Using Amazon WorkSpaces provided a key advantage in that Propel Insurance would not need to support server hosts. However, the IT staff at Propel Insurance went a step further, leveraging Liquidware solutions in order to architect its optimum desktop image and infrastructure strategy.
According to Propel Insurance's IT staff, Amazon WorkSpaces persistent desktop model left them with a desktop management challenge. When desktop images need to be updated—for example to install a software update or change settings—Propel’s administrators were not able to apply changes to a single base image that could be delivered to all DaaS users. Instead,user desktop images had to be updated individually, which required staff to delete existing images and build completely new ones. That process proved time-consuming, even for relatively minor changes. In addition,users had no desktops while maintenance was being performed, which caused the IT team to squeeze a lot of maintenance into nights, weekends and other off-hours to minimize user downtime.
Propel Insurance typically needed to do some form of comprehensive desktop image maintenance at least once a month. At 40 minutes per desktop for nine different desktop images, that maintenance undercut the reduced support time that was a goal of moving to DaaS. Because Propel IT staff had additional objectives to reduce maintenance time, the company looked at Liquidware solution, particularly ProfileUnity.
Two standard features in ProfileUnity—FlexApp and Application Rights Management—enabled Propel Insurance to consolidate its base image set from nine to just two, while also greatly reducing the time required to update and support the desktop images. FlexApp instantly delivers applications to any Windows desktop environment, independent of the Windows operating system version. ProfileUnity also makes it easier to prevent users from accessing applications they are not authorized to use.
The company not only saved time on routine maintenance as they wished, they also improved desktop performance by reducing bloat in their user profiles. In addition ProfileUnity was instrumental is assisting the company to enhance their desktop disaster recovery strategy. Using ProfileUnity to keep user profiles and applications separate from the base desktop image keeps the base image smaller, and thus more portable. Now Propel Insurance replicates all its user desktops at an Amazon data center in Virginia.
When Propel Insurance converted to Amazon WorkSpaces one of its main motivations for doing so was to reduce required desktop support. ProfileUnity has enabled Propel to meet that goal. Now the company can take full advantage of the flexibility its DaaS architecture provides.
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