GIE IRIHS (Computer & Network for Innovation in Social Housing) is derived from the consolidation of IT departments of three companies specializing in the social rental management (Officials of housing residences, Roof and Joy and Residences Youth Association) which manage around 35,000 units, mainly in Paris and the Paris Region. GIE IRIHS consists of 6 people who meet the computing needs of about 250 computer users (employees of public housing companies and hundreds of caretakers).
Faced with managing workstations spread over the three administrative offices (and a hundred guardian lodges), GIE had sought initially to group the computers of the three companies into a single structure, based in Issy-les -Moulineaux. So GIE has chosen to set up a centralized infrastructure based on thin clients.
After comparative tests between the Citrix solution and those offered by the rest of the market, the Citrix solution was chosen. The comparison between the performance of others proposed and ICA protocols showed that it was much more optimized, faster and used less server resources. Sylvain Graveron, Systems and Network Director of GIE IRIHS explains: "The centralization of all business applications has enabled us to save time in maintenance and updating desktops and minimize our movements. Today, we can quickly add users without increasing the burden of GIE, and we solved the data access security problem, these being centralized." he adds. "Passing a fat client to a thin client, users were not concerned as it had a familiar working environment. They not only have an identical environment, but have more power than before and can access the Internet securely.
There are several reasons that triggered the migration to the latest version XenApp:
"We took advantage of this migration to question the choice of Citrix and conducted extensive testing with another solution on the market. We concluded that no other solution offered the Citrix performance, unbeatable on bandwidth consumption and the use of CPU time," said Sylvain Graveron. "We are able to offer our users the multimedia application support they need. The user feedback is excellent. The display is more powerful and users benefit from all the features of printers, such as the assembly of copies requesting the activation of advanced functions, which was not possible in earlier versions."
To manage remote access, GIE also deployed SSL VPN solution Citrix Access Gateway. The number of connected users is not limited, removing the fear of connection peaks as was previously the case. Finally, selecting the version of XenApp Platinum, GIE benefits from the single sign-on solution Citrix Password Manager, whose implementation is expected in 2010.
GIE initiated virtualization application servers to make them less dependent on the physical architecture. "We have conducted tests to compare the performance of the Citrix solution with the classical solution of the market. Without any special setting, we found that the performance of applications in XenApp environment are two times faster with Essentials for XenServer and by keeping the same number of users per server," says Sylvain Graveron. "With Essentials for XenServer, we will consolidate our servers HS20 blades 5 3 HS21, which will offer us significant gains in media machine and physical server administration. Essentials for XenServer is actually optimized for XenApp servers."
Although the business of social rental management remains the same, practices are evolving in recent years. GIE has seen the proliferation of mobile users and the development of telework to avoid wasting time in transport and optimize the work time in the part-time. Furthermore, more and more users require laptops and specific application requirements.
This trend comes against the current efforts to renationalize the GIE. "Unable to increase the numbers, and not wishing to develop the so-called fat client workstations, we plan to virtualize the desktops of some users. Management remains centralized, but we took advantage of local resources for the devices," explains Sylvain Graveron. "The influenza A epidemic and the implementation of a business continuity plan, we needed to explore ways to allow our employees to work from home during a pandemic or natural disaster. This is also why we were interested in the Citrix desktop virtualization solution XenDesktop 4 which provides the ability to virtualize all types of workstations, individually, depending on the user's needs. We decided to take advantage of the offer of the "Trade-Up" offered by Citrix.
XenDesktop 4 will make maximum use of workstation resources, and even a virtual heavy post without consuming a lot of bandwidth, which is particularly interesting for applications using very 'greedy' like CAD," said Sylvain Graveron.
"The user will find all of their work environment, will benefit from superior performance and will free completely from the OS used the post, at least that is the goal we set. We are looking at the range of solutions offered by Citrix at every facility that allow us to provide the best possible answers to our users. Over time, we have developed an excellent relationship with the technical and commercial teams at Citrix and Honey, who accompany us every day to help us achieve our goals," concluded Sylvain Graveron. "The best judges are the users: when applications do not work, we are informed very quickly! Since the establishment of the new Citrix solutions, users benefit from a superior service quality and continuous application availability. The GIE teams save time in the administration of the platform, time that can be devoted to users."
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