Citrix XenDesktop Delivers Disaster Recovery Solution for Desktops

  • CIO needed to ensure key employees remain productive in the event of a local disaster.
  • “Citrix XenDesktop performed well even though the desktop image was being executed and delivered from a remote data center.”

As a privately owned hedge fund sponsor, this investment firm provides its services in the public equity and fixed income markets of the United States and is located in the Eastern United States.

Challenge

The CIO needed the IT department to ensure that 16 key employees could remain productive and have access to critical business systems in the event of a local disaster. The firm is located at the heart of a major city and the CIO wanted a contingency plan in place should employees simply find themselves unable to get into the office or if something more serious, such as loss of the building, occurred.

To house in a secondary data center, the firm rented space located across state lines. This data center served as a backup location for critical IT infrastructure. The site was intended to remain idle, and to simply be ready to take over if the primary systems went offline.

The majority of the firm’s end-user community used desktops on a daily basis and needed access to critical accounting and investment applications if the primary site experienced any outages or employees were not able to have direct access to their physical desktops.

Solution

The IT staff evaluated and ultimately deployed Citrix desktop virtualization as a desktop disaster recovery solution. The Citrix XenDesktop infrastructure was hosted in a secondary data center located in another state. A physical server running VMware hosted all 16 of the virtual desktop environments required. The IT department used the standard Windows XP desktop build as the base for the XenDesktop images. Office productivity, accounting, and investment applications were installed directly into the image. The IT department also made a weekly copy of each user’s personal profile and copied it over to the secondary data center. All files and data were kept on the network, alleviating the risk that comes with having data stored locally.

From the initial request, it took the IT staff a total of 4 months to deploy the complete disaster recovery solution for its employee base. A network engineer on the IT staff noted that “Citrix XenDesktop performed well even though the desktop image was being executed and delivered from a remote data center.” The company has not yet experienced any outages requiring employees to fully use their virtual images, but is confident that they are ready should such an event strike.

Results

The IT staff was able to deliver on the initial request from the CIO and now has a disaster recovery solution in place that will enable key employees to remain productive in the event of an outage. The cost of the solution was easily justified by the value of guaranteed productivity even in the event of a local IT outage.

They are now evaluating local use of Citrix XenDesktop for employees running aging desktop hardware. This may include deploying local infrastructure and using thin clients at the endpoint for daily usage. As a result of the initial XenDesktop deployment for disaster recovery, this firm has gained valuable knowledge and built up the confidence that will help it deploy the solution locally for everyday production usage.