More flexible access options for users, faster provision of new services and less administrative expense for IT: The medical devices manufacturer Dürr Dental has implemented a comprehensive digital workplace strategy with IT partner IF-Tech AG. The Citrix and Nutanix technology-based solution particularly came into its own following the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost anyone who has visited the dentist will have been treated using Dürr Dental SE’s products at some point. For more than 75 years, this company has been one of the most important partners for dentists worldwide.
Dürr Dental SE¬ was founded in 1941 and produces system solutions for dental practices and laboratories in the areas of compressed air, suctioning, imaging, tooth preservation and hygiene. CEO Martin Dürrstein is the third-generation director of the family-owned company. In total, more than 1,200 people are currently employed by Dürr Dental, approximately 450 of whom work at the company headquarters in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany. In 2019 the company posted a turnover of more than 270 million Euros, making it one of the global market leaders in the dental sector.
Today, customers in 138 countries place their trust in Dürr Dental’s engineering know-how. With its system solutions, the company sets the benchmark for technological innovation and delivers the right solution for every requirement. Many standards in modern practices can be traced back to the developments of Dürr Dental. To guarantee maximum quality, the company’s production is based almost exclusively in Germany.
Dürr Dental is now represented by subsidiaries and locations throughout the world and has employees in 42 countries. All of these users require secure, round-the-clock access to numerous applications. Dürr Dental can only be counted on as a reliable partner if this is guaranteed locally on a 24/7 basis.
For this reason, the IT leadership made plans for the introduction of a modern, digital workplace concept, in which desktops and applications are made available as central services. The important requirements for this “Workplace-as-a-Service” model were streamlined administration (to the simplest level possible), a high degree of automation, maximum scalability and assured performance. In addition, the concept needed to offer a high level of reliability and be open to the integration of Cloud solutions.
Together with the experts at IT service provider IF-Tech AG, Dürr Dental created a solution concept for the digital workplace of the future. The decision was made to implement Citrix Workspace and a hyperconvergence infrastructure from Nutanix as the technological basis. “The combination of the two solutions met our requirements perfectly,” says Ralf Durst, Head of Group IT at Dürr Dental. “Citrix Workspace was set up rapidly, when it came to the central provision of digital workplaces as part of the corporate IT strategy. The solution fundamentally simplifies the lifecycle management of our desktops and applications and also offers high-performance functionalities for endpoint management and content collaboration. We liked Nutanix from the start as well, mainly because of the simplicity of the architecture, the scalability and the small footprint. Thanks to the excellent interaction between the two platforms and the close collaboration between Nutanix and Citrix, the administration also turned out to be extremely efficient for us.”
The project partners implemented two Nutanix clusters as the basis for the operation of the virtual desktops and business applications. Thanks to Citrix virtual apps and desktops, traditional Office applications, the central ERP system as well as a whole raft of special applications were also made available.
In order to make the environment as accessible as possible, the two clusters were distributed between two computer centres. As a result, each cluster bears 50 percent of the load. If one of the two systems should be temporarily unavailable, the other cluster can then carry the whole load. Thus, Dürr Dental users will still have access to their workplaces even in the case of an unplanned outage. In the case of increased performance requirements, the IT department can scale up the Nutanix infrastructure on a flexible basis at any time and simply add on additional resources – even during ongoing operations if necessary.
Dürr Dental uses services from the Citrix Cloud for the provision and management of the virtual desktops and business applications. This means that the company does not have to worry about the management and updating of specific system components. Citrix automatically updates them. Changes to the actual digital workplaces only need to be carried out once and are then immediately active for all workplaces.
As well as the virtual desktops and applications it provides, Dürr Dental also uses Citrix technology to manage around 400 mobile end devices. With the Endpoint Management Service from Citrix, the company ensures the standardised configuration of its smartphones and tablets and the safe separation of private and business content. Business apps such as email and web-browsers run in protected containers on the end device and communication with the requisite resources in the data center is always encrypted. Access is controlled via centrally-defined guidelines. In the event of the loss of an end device, the contents can be deleted remotely by remote wipe.
In addition, Citrix Content Collaboration offers users the option of synchronising data between different end devices and to share data with other users. “The solution was very well received by all departments,” says Ralf Durst. “Users no longer have to send confidential documents as email attachments, they can now just send a link. The actual document remains in a protected storage zone in our data center and can only be downloaded by authorised users.”
Desktops, applications, documents – the new digital workplace provides Dürr Dental employees with secure remote access to all IT resources wherever they are. From advisers holding business meetings from their home office, to technical sales reps offering on-site support, everyone has access to all the necessary information at all times. Citrix gateways in the computer centre ensure that sensitive data is comprehensively protected.
In their daily working lives, many of Dürr Dental’s employees already rely on the flexible access options of the Citrix infrastructure. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, this took on even greater importance. “Around 500 employees had to switch to working from home at very short notice,” remembers Ralf Durst. “Thanks to our Citrix and Nutanix-based solution concept, we were optimally equipped to cope with this situation and continue working with minimal disruption. We passed the Corona test with flying colours!”
The Head of Group IT is therefore fully satisfied with the new workplace strategy. “IF-Tech AG gave us the best advice and came up with the ideal solution for our needs with the concept based on Nutanix and Citrix. Because of the standardisation of our digital workplaces, we were able to map around 90 percent of the users on a shared desktop. This meant that the administrative work and the total costs per user were reduced considerably.”
Plans are in place to integrate the remaining 10 percent of users into the new concept in the near future. These are primarily CAD developers and other users of graphic-intensive software. For these workplaces, Dürr Dental plans to use virtual desktops with graphics acceleration based on Citrix HDX 3D Pro and NVIDIA vGPU. The new technology concept has also demonstrated its value here. Nutanix offers special systems for graphic intensive VDI workloads that are equipped with high-performance NVIDIA GRID cards. These can be easily added to the clusters already in place and can be managed as efficiently as the rest of the infrastructure.
The decision to use Citrix and Nutanix ticked all our boxes. We can now provide secure digital workplaces worldwide, we have reduced our administrative costs and we have the option of scaling up our infrastructure as required with minimum effort. And the integration of further Cloud resources is possible at any time thanks to the flexible architecture.