‘Twas the last week before Christmas and Santa’s head of IT, Eric the Elf, was quietly satisfied. He’d had a busy year carrying out a long overdue refresh of ‘End Elf Computing’ at the North Pole.
By Curtis Brown 10 0
|‘Twas the last week before Christmas and Santa’s head of IT, Eric the Elf, was quietly satisfied. He’d had a busy year carrying out a long overdue refresh of ‘End Elf Computing’ at the North Pole. Of course, the users (including the Boss) may not recognise the amount of work put in by Eric, to make the solution scalable, reliable and able to deliver – but nor should they be – a quiet user is a happy user! Such is the lot in life for a busy IT elf.|
So what did Eric have to do?Eric had to upgrade a considerable number of users from old Windows XP machines to something new and had spoken to Xtravirt about how to not just ‘rip and replace’ the desktops, but to move to a more flexible working environment. He had to think about the following:
- VIP Users: Obviously Santa, being the boss, is THE VIP user. He’s also pretty mobile and network connections can vary while he’s on his travels.
- Toy Factory Users: These need a reliable platform to handle desktop style applications. Downtime is a problem, particularly in the last quarter of the year.
- Christmas Admin Users: These are also largely desktop based, but require a secure client – after all, these elves look after the list of who’s been naughty and nice. They’ve recently moved this application to a browser based system, but have other smaller packages too.
What was the solution?Eric decided VMware Horizon would work best for his organisation, and worked with Xtravirt to ensure the design and transition went smoothly. It was decided that a virtual desktop approach would suit the Toy Factory and Christmas Admin users, so a Horizon View solution was deployed. The Toy Factory users accessed non-persistent virtual desktops via zero clients. If they hit a software problem, it was easy to fix by simply logging off and back on again, with the virtual desktops refreshing themselves. The zero clients, being relatively simple and quite rugged devices, proved more reliable too. The Christmas Admin users went down a similar path, however they were given security tokens for two-factor authentication. They liked the security aspect, but what they liked more was that their desktop sessions weren’t set to log off immediately on disconnect, which allowed them to move between devices in different locations and still access their running session. While some applications were installed straight into the Virtual Desktop image, Horizon Workspace was deployed to provide applications assigned as needed. Because Santa’s List application was SAML (Security Assertion Mark-up Language) compliant, the application was published via Horizon Workspace based on membership of the Christmas Admin group, leveraging Horizon Workspace Single Sign On capabilities. Christmas Admin users could log onto View using their token and access their key application in a secure manner without the need to keep entering passwords. Older applications, were re-packaged using VMware ThinApp for deployment through Horizon Workspace to the virtual desktops.
|For Santa, and a few other VIP users, Eric deployed Horizon Mirage. Now Santa has a shiny new Windows 8.1 touch screen laptop, with his data protected over the internet via Horizon Mirage. If his new laptop falls off the sleigh, Eric can recover the data to either a replacement laptop to be picked up later, or to a virtual desktop, allowing Santa to quickly access it over Horizon View using View’s web browser access from a Web Café, or via the View client on his mobile phone.|