SECURE DIGITAL WORKSPACE
YPF is the main oil company in Argentina, with a 43% stake in the production of oil and gas in the Argentine market and 58% in gasoline. It employs more than 72,000 people directly and indirectly.
In terms of energy production, it has 92 production blocks located in basins around the country and 48 exploration blocks. They are positioned as a leader in the production of non-conventional resources in Latin America with the development of Vaca Muerta, the second shale gas and fourth shale oil formation in the world.
They produce energy through three industrial complexes located in La Plata, Luján de Cuyo and Plaza Huincul. That is how they generate fuels, petrochemicals and lubricants providing a comprehensive range of products, with a strong commercial presence in retail, agriculture, industries and LPG. They have a logistics network of more than 1,500 service stations in Argentina, which is supplied by 1,500 trucks that reach the most distant parts of the country.
YPF has a plant of 16,000 users to which they provide technology services, and access to applications and internet. Most of them are in Argentina, and they also have offices in Ecuador and Brazil, which represent 1% of the staff. In Argentina they have a presence in the provinces of Chubut, Santa Cruz, Neuquén, Mendoza, and in the city of La Plata (province of Buenos Aires), which act as headers of the region. In the city of Buenos Aires, where the company has its central headquarters, they have an intelligence building in Puerto Madero.
It is a structure organized into regional headquarters that serve the users of their province and surrounding areas. In each headquarters, there are systems staff who provide services in that location and in the customer care service stations, which consist of a network of 170 owned and 1300 outsourced locations.
“The biggest problem we had was that the connection was established via VPN and when the data was encrypted it generated a higher latency than the link could stand. Which is why we could barely run mail and a few other applications,” explains Alejandro Gustavo Belli, Operations and Infrastructure Services Manager of the Systems Executive Department, Control, Environment, Health and Systems Vice Presidency (CEHS) of YPF Argentina.
In order to solve their communication problems, YPF decided to run a pilot test with the application virtualization technology. “We started doing a test of the concept using Citrix XenApp, which allowed us to publish applications to the users and provide higher levels of security without using a VPN connection. We were able to run business applications and then we started using IBM NetView, which allowed us to see the status of the communications,” adds Alejandro Gustavo Belli, Operations and Infrastructure Services Manager of the Systems Executive Department, Control, Environment, Health and Systems Vice Presidency of YPF Argentina.
By implementing the solution provided by Citrix, the oil company started uploading its business applications onto the virtualized infrastructure. In that way, it incorporated niche solutions such as Open Wells (an application for the oil business), their own commercial management developments and the Exprodat software from ArcGIS, which allows the company to get information from the exploration areas to obtain the best results.
“In remote areas that were in the field, we used satellite links that allowed us to run very limited transactional applications. Once we started using XenApp, we could start using tools and applications that until then could not be used. For example, the intranet, the Excel business applications, which were previously batch processed and are now done online,” explains José Luis Crespo, Software and Hardware Infrastructure Manager of the Systems Executive Department, Control, Environment, Health and Systems Vice Presidency of YPF Argentina.
One of the challenges that Systems management had to undertake was the popularization of mobile devices within the corporate structure, as many of the applications that ran in the virtualized environment could be used from smartphones and tablets.
“We are now distributing MDM (Mobile Device Management) for mobile equipment with a YPF application to have more control and know what devices are connected. In those devices we implement Citrix XenMobile Enterprise and those that need to share information from different places use the ShareFile system to share information.
It allows us to download basic security policies to the devices, take control if they are stolen and it serves to provide us with more security in the mobile environment,” said José Luis Crespo, Software and Hardware Infrastructure Manager of the Systems Executive Department, Control, Environment, Health and Systems Vice Presidency of YPF Argentina.
The ShareFile implementation responded to the needs of users from various areas of the company, who need to securely share information with their suppliers. “We needed to provide file sharing with outsiders avoiding the use of services like Dropbox or Google Drive. When DWS told us about this technology, we conducted a laboratory test and it produced excellent results. This is why we already incorporate it as a company standard,” mentions Christian Savignano, End User Infrastructure Coordinator, Operations and Infrastructure Services Department.
Thanks to the infrastructure virtualized with XenApp and XenMobile, the YPF users share information in a centrally managed environment. “When there was a takeover or merger, the information was shared by email, which was unsafe. Now with ShareFile I share files with an expiration time. The user works with the information and it is saved on the server. That is becoming increasingly popular in YPF,” asserts José Luis Crespo, Software and Hardware Infrastructure Manager of the Systems Executive Department, Control, Environment, Health and Systems Vice Presidency (CEHS) of YPF Argentina.
Having a safe platform is the first step in building a collaborative environment. In order to achieve this in a short period of time, YPF relied on the ShareFile solution, which optimizes Internet connections. “The performance of the ShareFile solution is very acceptable. To prevent calls to the support area, we put together a basic user manual. But we found that the use of the application has not been an impediment, as we have received no complaints. For the types of connections we have in Argentina it is more than satisfactory and the users are happy with the service they get”, says Christian Savignano, End User Infrastructure Coordinator, Operations and Infrastructure Services Department.
With the new infrastructure, support is provided in a centralized manner: "We were able to reduce the employee costs in remote sites or far from headquarters,” as defined by José Luis Crespo, Software and Hardware Infrastructure Manager of the Systems Executive Department, Control, Environment, Health and Systems Vice Presidency (CEHS) of YPF Argentina.
YPF has a network of developers who work outside the company’s IT infrastructure. By creating virtual desktops, the company can offer the same levels of security as within their own locations.
The company’s plans include staying within the infrastructure created with Citrix technology, in order to increase the number of applications it provides to its users under virtualized environments and to grow those that can be accessed via smart devices. “The idea is to keep growing along with Citrix. We are very mature in some products and we want to continue implementing these customer-facing products. We are intensive users and we always require improvements and changes,” concludes José Luis Crespo, Software and Hardware Infrastructure Manager of the Systems Executive Department, Control, Environment, Health and Systems Vice Presidency of YPF Argentina.
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