DWA installatie – en energieadvies

  • Enables location-independent use of centralized graphical AutoCAD application.
  • Increases flexibility by simplifying the addition of new work locations.
  • Virtualization from server to desktop decreases system administration.

DWA installatie – en energieadvies (DWA) is an ambitious installation and energy consulting firm that develops building installations for cooling, heating and isolation, among other things. More than 100 employees support projects in the area of environmental awareness, sustainable construction and energy efficiency. The DWA headquarters is located in Bodegraven in the Netherlands.

The challenge-Enable employees to work together from different locations

DWA selected Citrix® XenApp™ years ago to enable employees at its subsidiary in Rijssen to use the work time tracking application running at the headquarters in Bodengraven in the Netherlands. However, all other applications were still running and administered on local PCs. After the company expanded with a new subsidiary, the manual administration of the numerous local applications on the PCs became much too time consuming, and the XenApp environment became heavily loaded and needed to be replaced or upgraded. “However, our management was searching for a way to realize a new vision: that remote locations should no longer be logically separated subsidiaries but should function as integrated work locations.

In the new situation, employees must be able to work in location independent project teams. This brings DWA geographically closer to customers and gives employees more flexibility to work in another city. Recruitment of technical staff becomes easier because employees can work in the East and West part of the country,” said Christian Houmes, system and network administrator at DWA. “We were looking for a centralized solution to implement this work location independent vision, enabling employees to work together in project teams from different locations. The new environment should be scalable to more locations in the future, while reducing complexity and lowering the workload for our small IT staff. There were two special points of attention that posed a challenge. The first was centralizing the graphics-intensive AutoCAD application which should perform well over the WAN connection. The second challenge was centralizing the StabiCAD application—used for the registration of drawing designs, calculations and more—and enabling access from multiple locations.”

Implementing Citrix desktop virtualization

DWA explained the challenge they were facing to the CITC Groep, a Citrix Gold Citrix Solution Provider, and decided to do an assessment of the existing infrastructure. The result was a technical design of a completely new network consisting of logically virtualized components. The organization decided to centralize and virtualize all applications with XenApp. Six physical PCs were installed in the datacenter to provision Autodesk® AutoCAD® and StabiCAD® to all work locations. Citrix® XenDesktop™ brokers these six PCs on-demand to a concurrent number of ten designers working from multiple work locations. Using a golden image, the workloads of the centralized XenDeskop PCs are newly created on-demand and provided with applications using the application streaming feature of XenApp.

All servers—including the XenApp servers and XenDesktop delivery controllers—are virtualized and are hosted on Citrix® XenServer™. This way, the complete server infrastructure consists of only three physical Dell® PowerEdge® servers and a Dell SAN.

Local teams work together with a centralized graphical AutoCAD application

There was no need for DWA to do a TCO analysis. “Centralizing applications and data was an absolute necessity, as the situation was becoming no longer workable. Version control of local data and AutoCAD drawing designs that were edited from multiple locations was almost impossible. It happened repeatedly that employees were editing in each others’ CAD drawings resulting in the loss of the changes made during the work session,” added Houmes. “With Citrix XenDesktop, the designers operate the 3D application AutoCAD from the work locations. Even StabiCAD now runs flawlessly. There is no longer the need to copy files many megabytes in size over the WAN connection as we use the graphical AutoCAD environment remotely with good performance. We are even able to use the application from home and version issues of data files have come to an end.”

Images are provisioned dynamically to the physical PCs using Provisioning Services, a component of the Citrix desktop virtualization solution. This enables DWA to provide the engineers on-demand with a Windows® XP desktop running a virtualised and streamed AutoCAD 2005 or a Windows Vista® desktop running a virtualised and streamed AutoCAD 2010. The organization can respond flexible to changing business needs with efficiency advantages as a result. “The times that a designer needed to call a colleague to find out the latest version of a drawing design now belong to the past. Work location is irrelevant for a project team to work together on graphic intensive data and drawings.”

Freedom and control come together

The employees from DWA demand more freedom and flexibility on the desktops, and there is an increasing need for laptops. XenApp and XenDesktop make it possible to give each employee a relative inexpensive laptop and freedom, because the over 70 applications are run centrally and under control. Each employee just needs a browser to select a published full desktop on XenApp with all applications or a remote desktop on a PC using XenDesktop, running AutoCAD with StabiCAD. Sometimes employees also run other applications on the XenDesktop-enabled desktop. These are virtualized and published by XenApp, and presented on the remote desktop. Only Microsoft Office is streamed with XenApp to the laptops to be able to work offline.

“We not only save on hardware costs for desktops, we also do not have to visit work locations with CDs containing files or applications. The time needed for system administration is reduced and we can provide employees with new applications or virtual desktops on the fly. The centralized nature of the solution enables us to work anywhere and it is extremely scalable to add additional work locations in the near future,” concluded Houmes. “And Citrix XenServer reduces the number of physical servers, to bring flexibility and cost savings to the datacenter. Citrix has virtualized us completely.”