ABB Schweiz AG, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, is a leading global supplier of power and automation technology with 145,000 employees and operations in approximately 100 countries. The Schweizer Landesgesellschaft (Swiss national company) based in Baden is also involved in this global network. ABB carries the global responsibility for numerous products and systems within this affiliated group.
To keep pace with globalization and take advantage of new opportunities in emerging markets, ABB decided to open a global engineering center in Bangalore, India. To meet the project’s schedule, ABB’s Switzerland-based IT team needed to provide users in India with access to many business applications, including Siemens Solid Edge and Autodesk E3.series CAD applications, in only seven months. The central engineering databases for these systems were hosted in Switzerland. “The company’s internal network infrastructure presented a bottleneck in this situation, of course,” said Yavuv San, Discrete Automation & Motion Local Division IS manager of ABB in Switzerland. “Our WAN links are generally not designed for extensive construction plans whereby each processing step is transferred from Switzerland to India and then back again.” Building a local database in India would have taken too long and generated significant data traffic on the WAN.
ABB already used Citrix XenDesktop to make standard applications such as Microsoft Office and SAP available to several distributed sites, but CAD apps posed higher resource requirements. HDX 3D Pro technologies built in to the XenDesktop virtualization solution makes it possible to provide even high-end applications over WAN connections with as little as 2 Mbps of bandwidth per user.
To optimize network performance, HDX 3D Pro compresses image data before it is sent over the network to the user. In connection with NVIDIA GPU technology, HDX 3D Pro can also use the computing power of server GPUs for the accelerated rendering of CAD graphics. This minimizes bandwidth requirements and ensures high-performance access for users even over the WAN. “Our CAD users in India confirmed that they can work productively with the Citrix technology. Within a relatively short period, we had found a solution that best fit our needs,” says Manuel Killer, the division’s project manager responsible for computer-aided technologies. HDX 3D Pro also offers advantages for the LAN, since the solution requires about 90 percent less bandwidth than other available products on the market.
XenDesktop with HDX 3D Pro eliminates the need for a special graphics processor on local CAD workstations, allowing ABB to support engineering professionals on standard notebooks. At the same time, the solution supports professional graphics peripherals such as large displays and the Connexion 3D Space Mouse commonly used with CAD apps. “We were able to prove that application usability is not limited by the solution,” says Killer. This flexibility in user hardware also brings new flexibility to ABB’s users, who can now work wherever the need arises, on the road or in the home office, on any device.
The Citrix solution enables ABB to start up its new global engineering center on time. The XenDesktop infrastructure provides the company with not only the required application performance, but also a high degree of safety. Sensitive design data always remains in the protected datacenter and is never stored on unsecured devices. In addition, ABB will benefit from the flexibility of the solution. Several months after the pilot project, when a new R&D team was set up in Poland, the IT organization simply extended the infrastructure and made the CAD workstations available from Switzerland for the additional users.
ABB continues to expand the value of its XenDesktop implementation, which allows the company to combine efficient centralized management with personalized virtual desktops while pooling physical workstations to reduce endpoint costs. “Before we deployed desktop virtualization to our engineers, we had to deal frequently with the peculiarities of heterogeneous client devices. By contrast, our Citrix virtual desktops provide users with a single platform, high performance and also the flexibility to work anywhere,” says San. ”Ever since we commissioned our installation, it never failed. It just works.” added Manuel Killer.
Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles—empowering people to work and collaborate from anywhere, easily and securely. With market-leading solutions for mobility, desktop virtualization, cloud networking, cloud platforms, collaboration and data sharing, Citrix helps organizations achieve the speed and agility necessary to succeed in a mobile and dynamic world. Citrix products are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Annual revenue in 2012 was $2.59 billion. Learn more at www.citrix.com.
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