From virtual desktop to a mobile office - EWE further develops their desktop virtualization strategy with Citrix

The kitchen manufacturer ewe / FM has further developed its desktop virtualization strategy to improve its IT administration and to support its business processes. With the flexibility to access desktops and applications from any location, the conditions for a fully mobile IT workplace were created simultaneously.

Ewe Kitchens Wels began in 1967 with the production of fitted kitchens and has been the most creative and innovative company with exceptional and thoughtful cuisine concepts. With the addition of the brand FM cuisines from Freistadt in 1986 and the independent premium brand Intuo which has been successfully on the market since 2009, both kitchen manufacturers have the same goal: to create kitchens that inspire.

At the production sites in Wels (ewe) and Freistadt (FM) Kitchens are produced for customers with the highest standards of quality, ergonomics and design. Each kitchen is a unique piece - Dimensions, materials and many other features to be adapted individually to customer requirements. This is made possible by highly flexible production facilities, and are amongst the most innovative in Europe.

The IT department of ewe / FM contributes significantly to the technological leadership of the company: "In order to support production processes, we have optimized our information flows in recent years, step by step and today cover with an integrated SAP environment virtually all business processes down to the shop floor control, "explains IT manager Gernot Eder.

The IT manager has limited time to spend on routine tasks such as desktop management: "Our human resources are limited - and our goal is clearly to achieve competitive advantages by optimizing our business processes. If we are very preoccupied with the ongoing administration of workstations, we cannot add value to other areas of the business."

Desktop virtualization

Three years ago ewe / FM has pursued a consistent strategy of desktop virtualization. Together with IT partner Bull, the company built a virtual desktop infrastructure based on Citrix XenDesktop to provide IT jobs two central locations. Therefore, the company was able to considerably reduce the cost of desktop management. New software versions and operating system updates were not required by individuals but only on central servers. The existing PCs to the IT jobs could also be replaced by thin clients, or be retrofitted with the solution LISCON Managed Desktop (LMD) to Linux-based thin clients.

As part of company-wide migration to Windows 7 ewe / FM developed its virtual desktop infrastructure more technologically and strategically. "Our aim was firstly to make the administration even leaner and more efficient - and at the same time comply with the wishes of our users for more flexible access options," Gernot Eder confirms.

Updating the Citrix environment was planned and implemented with the support of technical specialist partner, Bull. An important part of the update was the latest XenDesktop release. With the enhanced FlexCast management architecture of XenDesktop, administrators of ewe / FM now only require two consoles to manage the entire environment efficiently. The new Citrix Studio brings together all the functions for setup and configuration of your environment and so considerably accelerated the implementation of the current XenDesktop environment. The new Citrix Director provides the IT department support and sophisticated analysis tools to provide real-time troubleshooting.

A virtual desktop for all IT positions within the company

When setting up the new infrastructure the project partners created a centralized desktop image for the entire company: "This alone has resulted in reduced administration." says Gernot Eder "instead of four desktop images we have now only a central image for all." The software environment was further consolidated and standardized. As well as ensuring the heterogeneous AutoCAD installations in the company are up to date. All kitchen planners at ewe / FM now work consistently with the version AutoCAD 2012.

All client applications - are now integrated directly into the desktop image - including AutoCAD and other Microsoft Office and SAP GUI applications With the Citrix Provisioning Services, the default image is streamed to all virtual desktops.

"We have made some adjustments in the development of the infrastructure in order to further optimize the interaction of the individual components," says Gernot Eder. For example, the write cache of virtual desktops has now mapped completely in memory of XenServer hosts. Thereby all changes when working with the virtual desktops is no longer stored on local hard disks, but directly in the RAM of the server. Results are significantly higher throughout with noticeably improved performance for the end user.

A further measure to maximize the speed: The antivirus is no longer set up on each individual virtual desktop, but directly on the hypervisor level. This is made possible with the Kaspersky Security for Virtualization solution. Therefore it is sufficient to install a virtual security appliance per host server to protect all virtual machines on this server. "This relieves the hardware resources enormously and prevents waiting times on the user side, since the regular antivirus updates no longer need to be loaded to approximately 50 virtual desktops per server," explains Gernot Eder.

Virtual desktops enable flexible working

Increasingly access to the virtual IT workstations at ewe / FM now takes place from outside the office. The company implemented Citrix NetScaler VPX virtual, which means that secure web access to desktops and applications are provided centrally. All communication between client and server is encrypted throughout and user access is also protected by a multi-step authentication process.

Whether in the home office or on the go - the employee of ewe / FM can access all necessary applications using the Citrix solution today from anywhere. The Citrix HDX technologies ensure this can also be graphics-intensive applications such as AutoCAD. In addition, XenDesktop offers the ability to access from outside of a physical desktop in the office using the "Remote PC Access."

"With XenDesktop we are able to make every IT user in the company completely independent, regardless of the location available," Gernot Eder summarizes "Even external partners and service providers such as translation agencies can very easily be integrated into our systems. All in all we are creating the flexible working conditions that we need for our very dynamic business with Citrix technologies."

The IT manager is already planning the next steps. In the future, we plan to integrate mobile devices into the virtual workplace concept of ewe / FM.

About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leader in mobile workspaces, providing virtualization, mobility management, networking and cloud services to enable new ways to work better. Citrix solutions power business mobility through secure, personal workspaces that provide people with instant access to apps, desktops, data and communications on any device, over any network and cloud. This year Citrix is celebrating 25 years of innovation, making IT simpler and people more productive. With annual revenue in 2013 of $2.9 billion, Citrix solutions are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

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With XenDesktop we are able to really make every IT workplace in the company completely independent, regardless of the location available.
- Gernot Eder

Head of IT

ewe kitchens society m.b.H

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Key Benefits

  • Efficient management of desktops and applications
  • High performance graphics-intensive applications
  • Secure access to IT jobs from any location
  • Fast adaptation to changing business requirements
  • Easy to integrate external users and mobile devices

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