How Citrix NetScaler unifies the network for a highly mobile, distributed workforce

Nijhof-Wassink uses Citrix to deliver a single point of access to all applications for all lines of business from one IT platform.

Every organization needs to deliver seamless access across all computing resources to all users.

Nijhof-Wassink is an international logistics services provider, specializing in bulk transport by road, rail, and water, with a fleet of about 400 trucks. Headquartered in Rijssen, the Netherlands, Nijhof-Wassink has more than 1,100 employees in 20 branches throughout Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Hungary. The company provides intermodal logistics, fuel distribution, road transport, warehousing, and terminals, in addition to specializing in storage, cleaning, and other services.

Operating from a single centralized location, the Nijhof-Wassink IT team—NWG Services—streamlines the delivery of computing services from three data centers across the Nijhof-Wassink Group, which includes the Nijwa Groep, a Volvo truck dealer for new and used trucks; VB Trailerbouw, a manufacturer of trailers for trucks; and SilFit, a remote monitoring system for silo-stock control.

With lines of business (LOBs) in multiple locations, Nijhof-Wassink faces significant complexity in delivering seamless access to all users across all of its computing resources. Its highly mobile workforce needs to use mobile devices to take pictures from unloading locations, upload them to the Nijhof-Wassink Transport Management Suite (TMS) and have them appear automatically in transport orders. It’s crucial for users to be able to securely access their apps from any place, at any time, and on any device—without needing to ask IT for help.

To address these needs, NWG Services sought to replace its patchwork interface, which varied across LOBs, with a consistent experience via a single point of access. NWG Services also needed to ensure real-time tracking of delivered goods via mobile devices and to accelerate the performance of drivers’ mobile apps. For this, NWG Services needed the virtualization capabilities of Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop, which required that it upgrade from its legacy Citrix Access Gateway (CAG) solution.

Nijhof-Wassink’s strategic decision to deliver all apps virtually through XenApp and XenDesktop provided the opportunity to upgrade to a NetScaler VPX virtual application delivery controller (ADC) and the Citrix StoreFront app store.
NetScaler enables NWG Services to deliver a single point of access to all applications for all LOBs from one IT platform. Now, Nijhof-Wassink’s users have a stable, secure, and flexible IT environment that is fully customizable for the varied needs of all the companies under the Nijhof-Wassink umbrella.

High availability

By deploying NetScaler VPX in two data centers, Nijhof-Wassink has benefited from more reliable client-server connections, achieving 100-percent uptime. NWG Services chose NetScaler VPX to accommodate its server-virtualization platform because the platform stretches across two data centers and NetScaler VPX provides greater redundancy than a hardware device would.

Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway provides a single URL for users to access virtual apps from the StoreFront app store and replaces a system that relied on multiple URLs and resulted in many users requiring help-desk assistance. Now, users can log in more than twice as fast as before, in an average of less than 30 seconds; and this improved user experience has resulted in 30 percent fewer support calls.

A key feature of NetScaler VPX for Nijhof-Wassink, with its multiple sites and geographically distributed services, is NetScaler Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB), which automatically routes logins to the correct data center. Whether accessing the transport-management suite used across the Nijhof-Wassink organization or specific Nijwa Groep applications, users no longer have to select a data center or use a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPN.

Instead, they can securely access the StoreFront with a single sign-on (SSO) from one URL through NetScaler Gateway. The ability to rely on a single URL and a single Citrix client has helped NWG Services deliver a seamless user experience and reduce help-desk costs by almost a third. GSLB helps ensure availability for XenApp and XenDesktop while providing additional layers of protection, fault tolerance, failover, and optimization while routing secure client-connection traffic across data centers based on availability, health, proximity, and responsiveness.

Improved User Experience

NetScaler VPX saves IT support significant time because they no longer have to help users log into the environment. With the NetScaler and StoreFront solution, users just enter their email addresses—from any device or location—and they’re done. User feedback has been positive, largely because users can easily log in by themselves without having to interrupt their workflows with support calls. Even with new devices, users can just go to the company website or download the Citrix plugin to access the environment.

Nijhof-Wassink is in the process of implementing NetScaler Management and Analytics System (MAS) for deep visibility and analytics of the company’s Citrix data. NetScaler MAS will allow NWG Services to get a more in-depth view of the network and applications of its entire NetScaler environment. NetScaler MAS will also allow NWG Services to centrally manage all of its NetScaler appliances and instances with automated provisioning. Everything needed to proactively manage its network is provided in the NetScaler MAS dashboard, enabling administrators to monitor all active applications and drill down for more granular information as needed.

With HDX Insight, included in NetScaler MAS, NWG Services will be able to debug and monitor user sessions for improved service-level agreements (SLAs). This will help the NWG Services team resolve issues such as user delays when accessing applications and poor performance experienced by users who require virtual applications. In addition, they will be able to easily view the health of applications and monitor ICA traffic—through the network, the NetScaler solutions, and the individual application servers—to quickly uncover details on ICA-session latency by client, ICA round-trip time, and application health all through a single pane of glass through Citrix Director.

Improved performance in an easy-to-manage solution

With NetScaler VPX, Nijhof-Wassink benefits from the flexibility and the scalability of a virtual appliance. It is easy to add NetScalers quickly when using VPX because you don’t have to visit datacenter anymore; you can deploy them on demand.

An important advantage for Nijhof-Wassink is the flexibility enabled by the NetScaler solution. NWG Services can deploy NetScaler VPX on industry-standard hypervisors—on demand—anywhere in the data center. Administrators can upgrade virtual hardware with just a few clicks and can easily swap out hosts for new ones with faster memory and processors. They can also deploy new NetScaler solutions within minutes without even visiting the data center.

Deliver apps and data with the security, reliability, and speed trusted by thousands of networks worldwide. Start by trying NetScaler VPX free for 90 days and NetScaler MAS for free now.

About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) aims to power a world where people, organizations and things are securely connected and accessible to make the extraordinary possible. Its technology makes the world’s apps and data secure and easy to access, empowering people to work anywhere and at any time. Citrix provides a complete and integrated portfolio of Workspace-as-a-Service, application delivery, virtualization, mobility, network delivery and file sharing solutions that enables IT to ensure critical systems are securely available to users via the cloud or on-premise and across any device or platform. With annual revenue in 2015 of $3.28 billion, Citrix solutions are in use by more than 400,000 organizations and over 100 million users globally. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

Because of Citrix NetScaler load balancing, user login time dropped from one minute to less than 30 seconds. Also help-desk calls for users dropped 30 percent.
- Gerrit Otten

IT Manager

Nijhof-Wassink Group

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