Over 400,000 residents in a 4,000-km2 area and more than 1,800 km of provincial roads
The Province of Alessandria covers an area of 3,600 km2 in Italy. Approximately 400,000 people live and work within this area; there are also educational establishments, streets and parks that are managed by an organization which, like any public administration, is constantly required to improve its efficiency and speed of execution.
With this in mind, the Province of Alessandria embarked on the process of digital transformation some time ago, in which the ‘journey to the cloud’ plays a key role, along with the concurrent streamlining of infrastructure and datacenters in particular.
“During the spring of 2020,” recalls Fabrizio Gualco, DB Master for the Province of Alessandria, “we found ourselves in the position where we had to replace two local NAS that contained unstructured data from our offices. This meant that at the start of the pandemic we were seeking a secure and sustainable cloud-based option within the framework indicated by AgID (Agency for Digital Italy) for all public administration entities.”
Before the pandemic, the Province of Alessandria had already conducted several pilot projects both in the cloud environment and with application virtualization solutions, using Citrix in particular. First, an architecture was developed that was designed to operate with the provincial police department’s file server. This was followed by the connection of several local offices belonging to the province, as it has one of the largest areas of coverage in Italy.
“We were very impressed with the cloud and with Citrix technology,” explains Gualco, “to the extent that when the R1 Group team (Citrix partner) suggested that we consider the Citrix ShareFile solution as a replacement for the two NAS that were being phased out, we agreed and decided to tackle the technological evolution on which the project was based.”
Spring 2020 saw the start of a scouting and analysis phase that lasted until December, when decisions were made regarding support services and provision. The migration phase (infrastructure and servers) was completed in April 2021 and from May several employees began working with Citrix ShareFile.
In the following months, data was gradually transferred to the cloud, without any critical issues or significant disruption to users or citizens.
Using the Citrix ShareFile cloud computing platform allows the Province of Alessandria to move the organization’s data assets off its own LAN, maintaining control and ensuring security.
The Citrix solution allows employees to access data remotely, facilitating an increase in provincial staff productivity from wherever they are working and irrespective of the type of device they are using, as it is extremely easy to access unstructured data and it promotes collaborative working.
At the same time, the adoption of cloud infrastructure improves the operational efficiency of the ICT systems, generating significant cost reductions and making it simpler and more cost-effective to update software, improve security, protect data and accelerate the provision of services to businesses and citizens.
“Today, users have full data availability from any location and from any device, including smartphones,” explains Gualco, “whereas in the past, it was impossible to consult anything outside of our offices. Citrix ShareFile has not only facilitated remote working during the pandemic, but it has also provided a level of flexibility and efficiency that means we’ll never look back.”
“We have also taken a major step forward in terms of security,” agrees Luigi Di Carluccio, Web Master and Security Representative. “Not only because data and access are more protected, in accordance with all standards, but also because infrastructure management is now outsourced. This means we are no longer fully dependent on the IT department, which now has more freedom to devote resources to projects offering high added value.”
“We have lots of ideas for future developments involving infrastructure and applications,” adds Di Carluccio. “Workstation virtualization would definitely offer us even more flexibility than we currently have and would release us from the very close link with hardware that unfortunately still exists for us.”
For that reason, the Province of Alessandria, R1 Group and Citrix are maintaining an open dialogue and are jointly embarking on a process that will bring about the flexibility, sustainability and resilience that are required by both AgID directives and the employees and citizens served by the Piedmontese public organization.
Compared to the alternatives on the market, the Citrix solution provided a more comprehensive response to our requirements, but above all, it opened the door to virtualization, offering us a broader range of longer-term prospects.