Perfetti Van Melle India (PVM), a subsidiary of the one of the world’s largest confectioneries, is the market leader in the Indian sugar confectionery business. Key brands in India include Alpenliebe, Center Fresh, Mentos, Happydent, Chlormint, Marbels, Big Babol, Coffitos, Center Fruit and Mentos Gum. PVM has four branches and three manufacturing units, and operates the largest distribution network in the Indian confectionery business.
PVM embarked on a consolidation program to centralize all its operations because managing desktops across operating units spread throughout the country had become an increasingly expensive and difficult proposition. IT managers struggled to ensure compliance and updates for the desktop environment. Management of OS rollouts and updates for every PC in the organization’s distributed environment, and new security and compliance standards also challenged the IT team.
While PVM was using a number of centralized applications—SAP, e-mail, Sharepoint and File Transfer Protocol (FTP)—it needed to build an IT infrastructure armed with the ability to respond to growing business needs.
“In 2007, we decided to consolidate all the applications. Citrix XenApp was a key part of this centralization initiative. We initially deployed XenApp to deliver SAP, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office. Then we added more and more applications, such as secondary sales and secondary claims, to the established Citrix infrastructure,” recalls Basant Chaturvedi, CIO, Perfetti Van Melle India.
PVM then implemented Citrix® Access Gateway™ to enable anywhere, anytime secure application access to sales users and top management users over the WAN. This solved the slow performance of applications through the VPN client and ensured adherence to corporate compliance regulations and procedures through Citrix SmartAccess policy-based control over user access and action.
Since all employees began to access their application environment at the central location, the system needed more bandwidth and faster speed to ensure the instantaneous connectivity and high performance that users had come to expect from local installation of applications.
In addition, “Compliance pertaining to data security was becoming a major concern besides the issue of privacy about data being stored on PCs and laptops and this too had to be taken care of immediately,” said Chaturvedi.
PVM selected Citrix® XenDesktop®, Enterprise Edition to stream a single operating system (OS) image to all devices using provisioning services. The solution delivered a complete Windows® desktop experience as an on-demand service to all PVM users in all locations, whether at the office or mobile. XenDesktop quickly and securely delivers individual applications or complete desktops while simultaneously providing a high-definition user experience.
“Instead of installing new OS versions, new applications and new user profiles for any number of individual PCs or desktops for users, with XenDesktop we were able to package each OS, app and user profile as a single image in our datacenter and dynamically assemble virtual desktops for every one of the users. This meant that when we needed to apply patches and updates, we could do so just once from our datacenter. Not only did this methodology require far less storage space than was previously used to handle the same number of desktops, but centralized data control meant higher security compliance throughout our entire company,” Chaturvedi noted.
XenDesktop also made the entire login process simple and secure, allowing access from any connected web browser.
“When a user logged in from either a thin client or a PC, it generated in real time a base image from the datacenter. That means if we wanted to roll out additional desktops, we could do so with just a few clicks. Once the user has logged in, XenDesktop feels like your standard local desktop, only with fewer hassles,” Chaturvedi added.
Moreover, if the user gets disconnected, nothing is truly lost because XenDesktop has the entire back-up of the PC or thin client covered: The next time the user logs in, it is exactly the way he left it.
There was still the issue of performance. All the web-based applications such as Sharepoint, secondary sales, secondary claims, and the Internet were rendered slower since there were numerous channels and gateways routed through the security applications deployed on the centralized servers. Added to this was the desktop virtualization programme, which was also going through the VPN router—resulting in slower response time.
“The choice at hand was to either increase bandwidth or optimize the existing bandwidth thus ensuring a way to deliver applications to users at faster speeds. That’s when we began evaluating the Citrix Branch Repeater solutions.”
Upon deployment of Citrix® NetScaler Branch Repeater™, there was a throughput increase of three to ten times across the existing bandwidth. Moreover, since the solution is completely network transparent, no adjustments to the existing infrastructure were necessary.
The configuration of Branch Repeater was also simple: Citrix HDX™ WAN Optimization technologies automatically use the appropriate compression and acceleration technology on the data flow based on the network environment. The optimal processes are chosen through real-time determination of WAN performance.
“We realized that the large amount of data accessed at the central site was choking the bandwidth, but Branch Repeater effectively took care of that issue. Its unique compression technology reduced the link congestion, which significantly increased the data throughput and accelerated the application responses,” noted Chaturvedi.
Not only did Branch Repeater dramatically increase throughput, it also sped up application access by 40 percent and boosted download speeds by two to three times at all the company’s locations.
The major benefit of deploying XenDesktop was the huge return on investment.
“Application virtualization using thin clients instead of full fledged PCs has resulted in tremendous cost savings. By purchasing thin clients instead of conventional desktops, we reduced hardware costs by 40 to 50 percent. We also eliminated the need for individual device configuration, installation and daily maintenance. Help desk staffing and the cost of user downtime were also significantly reduced.
“We worked out a model where we configured 50 desktops using thin clients, and calculated that after three years the CAPEX and OPEX savings were 50 to 60 percent.
If the number of virtual desktop users increases, the savings also proportionately increase,” Chaturvedi added.
Through XenDesktop and Access Gateway, the IT team has gained flexibility. “These products provide flexibility as we open new locations. Should the launch of a new office be delayed for any reason or should the employee opt to work while on the move or from home, he can connect to our Citrix environment over the Internet and secure data delivery ensures that he is productive immediately,” Chaturvedi said.
Adding new desktops has also been simplified. “If we need to add 100 desktops, they can be provisioned in seconds without the need for additional IT staff. At the same time, help desk support, data backup processes and security applications can centrally support all desktops, which significantly reduced the total cost of ownership,” Chaturvedi explained.
Downtime was practically eliminated because any disconnected user can simply log back in, even from a different machine, and find his desktop the way he left it. This is a major benefit, especially in the sugar confectionery business where a wide variety of daily reports are generated and used immediately.
When PVM took the thin client route, it also saved a considerable amount in energy consumption. The cooling requirement was also significantly reduced.
“For a company like ours, with a majority of our products aimed at the younger generation, we would like our IT deployment play a part in greening the planet. If we are more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions, and if this comes about by the use of thin clients in our organization, I would term this as an extremely tangible benefit,” Chaturvedi added.
With PVM’s expansion plans running full steam, there is a constant need to increase scalability. With XenDesktop, the company can efficiently and effortlessly scale up. As more users come onboard, PVM can provide increasingly faster access to information and work flows. “Now creating a user ID and configuring the profile is done in a matter of five minutes,” Chaturvedi noted.
XenDesktop delivers a virtualized desktop to each user which provides an instant personalized experience. Applications are always up to date—available to any device on any network, anywhere. By using XenDesktop, PVM can centralize data for easier management, ensure reliability and create a virtual support environment from the central datacenter.
With the Citrix solution, PVM delivers secure applications to employees working at various locations and even to those who are mobile.
“As the security need increases, and data privacy and security requirements remain priority, we are able to manage it all from the central datacenter. All the security policies are controlled within our central location and, since our IT team is the custodian of our data, remote users are able to access only the appropriate levels of information and actions—such as read-only versus downloading data or printing to the desktop,” Chaturvedi noted.
“We have had phenomenal success with Citrix products and now we are expanding to the regional level on that success with desktop and server virtualization. Citrix is changing the way we look at managing our IT infrastructure and opening new doors for our confectionary business, and we are working on a pilot project with XenApp for even more efficient application delivery,” Chaturvedi concluded.
Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leading provider of virtual computing solutions that help companies deliver IT as an on-demand service. Founded in 1989, Citrix combines virtualization, networking, and cloud computing technologies into a full portfolio of products that enable virtual workstyles for users and virtual datacenters for IT. More than 230,000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to help them build simpler and more cost-effective IT environments. Citrix partners with over 10,000 companies in more than 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2009 was $1.61 billion.