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Gauging Success

By Jennifer Zaino  |  Posted 05-23-2007 Print

Along with keeping the Citrix servers identical for ease of support, Wilson's standardization plan lets any server in the farm accommodate everyone, from one-application infrequent users to multiple-application power users. All software goes through a governance process to justify its use, and is moved to production via an install process that clones the application across the entire Citrix server farm. No matter which server a user connects to, all that person's authorized applications are accessible.

One reason the virtualized desktop approach works for Amerisure is that the company's computing environment is relatively stable—its software is mostly well-behaving 32-bit Windows applications that are compatible with Terminal Services and needed few if any code revisions to run in a Citrix environment. The company did have to address some network bandwidth problems initially, but today, every user gets a clearly defined amount of bandwidth to start, and network bandwidth is being expanded with fiber.

But it can be a challenge to convince users to trade in their fat clients for thin ones. Amerisure addresses this by pointing out the positives: Citrix's "roaming profiles" feature lets users set individual preferences for the look of their desktop sessions, so they can maintain some personal control; and virtualization paves the way for an effective remote work strategy.

The payoff? When bad weather forced about a quarter of Amerisure's employees to stay home recently, no productivity was lost because most signed on remotely. What's more, Wilson says, the first thin client refresh won't be necessary for at least six to nine years—the company will save $3 million to $4 million by bypassing several refresh cycles and avoiding the business disruptions that typically accompany upgrades.

Ask Your Applications Team Lead:
What are the characteristics of all corporate-approved applications, including performance, availability and compatibility requirements?

Ask Your Senior Business Managers:
What objections might business users raise about giving up PCs for thin clients?


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