Citrix Desktop Virtualization delivers Virtualized Desktops Statewide and Helps Department Repurpose $250,000 in Annual Hardware Costs

  • Government agency had been spending up to $600,000 per year on new desktops
  • Struggling to meet the demands of a more than 100-to-1 ratio of employees to IT technicians
  • Less than a full year into XenDesktop, 30 percent the budget is now freed up on exciting new, innovative projects

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) – whose mission is to protect, maintain, and improve the fish, game, and aquatic plant resources of the state, and manage their use and development in the best interest of the people and economy of Alaska – includes more than 1,200 employees working across the state in nearly 40 offices and in the field.

Challenge

According to Corey Kos, the department’s infrastructure manager, ADF&G spent up to $600,000 per year on new desktops before implementing the department’s Citrix solution. The need to manage a constant refresh cycle for aging hardware created a drain on both IT staff resources and the annual budget. With an information technology (IT) staff of just 13, ADF&G was struggling to meet the demands of a more than 100-to-1 ratio of employees to IT technicians.

The road to ADF&G’s virtualization story, Kos admits, did not start with Citrix. In fact, their initial foray into desktop virtualization was unsuccessful. “The system we started with was difficult to manage and once we got to 20 seats, we found that its performance was not scaling well. We were about to give up when we were presented the opportunity to test a proof of concept with Citrix,” Kos explained. The initial attempt to virtualize desktops left some skeptical.

Solution

With Citrix, virtual desktops are delivered to the department’s existing PCs, extending the life of their hardware. Since all the data, applications and processing lives in the datacenter, everyone has a rich, high-definition experience, no matter what the end user’s device. Also, IT staff can now centrally manage desktops in Anchorage, Fairbanks or Kodiak – all from their main office in Juneau.

“The ability to manage the department’s desktops and applications centrally in the datacenter is a tremendous time savings for our IT staff,” said Kos. “And now that 30 percent of our budget is not tied up in the hardware refresh cycle, we have the opportunity to move forward on exciting new projects to innovate the way ADF&G works and improve how we fulfill our mission.”

The Future

In 2009, ADF&G sold more than $27 million in licenses, stamps and big game tags. One current project under development will deliver applications via XenApp to inexpensive point-of-sale kiosk stations at top vendors in Alaska. With these kiosks, citizens will have the ability to easily self-apply for fishing and hunting licenses in stores and relieve some of the strain on the licensing offices.

ADF&G are also looking to XenDesktop to make their field offices truly mobile. XenDesktop with integrated on-demand app delivery provides the ability to deliver ADF&G’s applications – most of which are custom – on demand, giving users the flexibility to access their applications from any location on any device. “We have client server applications that are Java-based and most of our custom applications are for data entry or for biologists to run reports, and look up licensing information,” explained Kos. “The ability to have those applications with them out in the field would allow them to access real-time data to how much fish and game have been caught. If a fishing quota has been met, they can make recommendations as soon as that last fish is caught.”

ADF&G has launched a pilot multi-tenancy project, in which other state government departments can use its virtualization capabilities for on-demand access to applications. “We’re letting other departments leverage what we already have,” said Kos. “They’re using the expertise we already have, with no need to spend time and money on reinventing the wheel.”