Buskerud County found simpler administration; fewer web servers, with Citrix Netscaler

The Buskerud County covers Hurum, by the Oslo fjord in southeast, and Drammensfjorden to Hemsedalsfjella and Hardangervidda in the northwest of Norway. The county is responsible for social areas such as education, transport and regional development, public health, culture, dental and cultural heritage. The IT department is responsible for delivering innovative working tools in the safest and most effective way.

The county has a large department in Drammen that delivers hundreds of programs to 2,500 employees spread over large distances. The IT department works as an operating organization and must meet given SLAs from various service requestors across the county.

The Challenge: Securing deliveries in two zones

The county has used Citrix software since 1998 to deliver applications to their employees. Perhaps the biggest challenge of service delivery in the public sector is to ensure that sensitive information is handled with the utmost security. The norm is that this be resolved with a two-zone-division of the IT environment. Only authorized personnel should have access to information in the safe zone, remaining gain access to an open zone.

"With the emergence of cloud computing, web-based applications provide far greater expectations for flexibility, one must have a steady hand to ensure that programs are delivered in a way that enables end users", says Kåre Orten in the county council's IT department.

Citrix reseller First Point brought local expertise to put in place an infrastructure that provided more opportunities, this led to the implementation of Citrix NetScaler. The need was to replace a previous Access Gateway installation, sharpen security, provide more opportunities in a cloud-based world and get more technical value out of budget funds.

The Solution: In with NetScaler

Since the solution was introduced in spring 2013 NetScaler secured all traffic in and out of the network.

"NetScaler, our physical zone, divides the network layer for online services. We do not want to have some web servers in the DMZ, but have also rolled out two NetScaler devices running virtual services on top. With these we have control over all traffic in and out of our systems. We've gotten better security on top of the security that was already good, we are very satisfied with the assistance and knowledge received from First Point around NetScaler," says Orten.

The norm is that Citrix NetScaler speeds up the delivery of applications and workspaces fivefold through advanced L4-7 load balancing and traffic management. Safety is enhanced with an integrated application firewall, and the savings on hardware are big.

The platform will ensure that Orten and his colleagues should be able to provide more opportunities with a "bring your own" mindset.

"With NetScaler and upgrading the XenApp environment, we will certainly deliver programs anytime, anywhere and to the device users prefer. The rich functionality of NetScaler helps to ensure this, especially for those who work with programs that contain confidential information. We have put in place a very good solution for zoning. "

The Result: Simpler administration, fewer web servers

"NetScaler is a key platform in our infrastructure. We have already removed the security hole and got an environment that is considerably easier to manage. User Experiences are also improved, "said Orten.

By NetScaler load balancing, we see that the resources in the server farm are exploited far better, traffic directed to the machines now always has availability. Moreover, the county received tools that provide far better overview of all network traffic.

"By NetScaler standing in the front, it sends us unencrypted communications on the inward systems. With this and SSL, offloading on Web servers decreased by 70 percent, and we need fewer servers in the farm than otherwise needed. "

These purchasing savings will be felt on the procurement budget. Orten also highlights that NetScaler helps eliminate downtime with less need for redundancy when systems are down for conducting maintenance. The project is also followed with prying eyes from the other two counties in the BTV cooperation and Orten and his colleagues envisage that others will connect with the county and bring benefits from Buskeruds installation.

"We have rolled out an employee portal where everyone will have good access to their online tools. All traffic around this customized solution will go through NetScaler. We now have a solution that provides far more opportunities, and we have barely scratched the surface around all the gains the features of NetScaler provides. The possibilities are far more, almost unlimited. The next step is to use NetScaler for single sign-on, "said Ortenberg.

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NetScaler is a key platform in our infrastructure. We have already removed the security hole and got an environment that is considerably easier to manage. User Experiences are also improved.
- Kåre Orten

Buskerud County Council's IT department


Key Benefits

  • Easier management
  • Increased flexibility and security
  • More opportunities for employees
  • Money saved on purchasing

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