The Banks Group

Liquidware Labs Helps the Banks Group Mine Gold in VDI Desktops

The Banks Group, which develops land for a variety of uses including surface coal mining, renewable energy and residential and commercial property, uses Dell R720 servers and runs its server and VDI workloads on Nimble Storage. When the organization needed to migrate desktop services from Windows XP, the Banks Group IT staff decided move to a VDI architecture that would not only enhance the end-user experience, but also be much more manageable and flexible.

Having previously used Citrix to provision some server-based applications, they wanted to provide their users with a “better-than-before” experience that would not require the team to manage endpoints at regional and field locations. In addition, the organisation wanted mobility, scalability, consistency and robustness from their next generation desktops as well as to mitigate the recurring CAPEX expenditure involved in hardware refreshes every five years.

In consultation with the SITS Group, Liquidware Labs Acceler8 Partner and Center of Excellence designee, the IT staff leveraged the entire Liquidware Labs solutions set – Stratusphere FIT, ProfileUnity and Stratusphere UX. The SITS Group conducted the Banks Group’s audit with Stratusphere FIT, which identified applications and how often they were invoked. The audit also demonstrated memory, IO loads and some network latency. After a dedicated-VDI-host proof of concept (PoC) that used ProfileUnity to facilitate pilot users’ migration from Windows XP to Windows 7, the IT team needed to secure board approval for the expenditure. During this wait, the 24 PoC participants were impatient to return to the virtual desktops.

Upon board approval for the VDI environment, the initial user group was composed of design engineers using AutoCad. The next stage of the project was to migrate the Graphics and Landscape teams as well as staff using laptops. VMware Mirage manages those desktop images in their environment, while more than 85 users were migrated to VMware View. The IT team leader monitors his users’ experience with Stratusphere UX, which reveals what is happening at an application level and also provides a robust tool set for diagnostics and troubleshooting.

The Banks Group achieved the mobility, scalability, consistency and robustness they had targeted as objectives for its VDI project. In addition, the organisation benefited from the SITS Group’s assistance in helping make good business, technology and technical choices and in running user-clinic sessions during the PoC.

To read the entire Banks Group story, click on the pdf image above.