Virtualisation brings savings, simplicity and flexibility

Wednesday, 25 June, 2014 | Supplied by: Nutanix

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Hornsby Shire Council is replacing its traditional Windows XP/SAN environment with an advanced virtual desktop environment based on the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform and VMware View. This change has become necessary as it prepares not only to meet current IT requirements but also to build a foundation for a more mobile future.

Hornsby Shire, located north of Sydney, is one of the largest councils in the state of New South Wales and is known for having a ‘switched-on’ community with an active base of IT-savvy residents and council employees.

“The key benefits of virtualising soon became clear - cost savings, simplicity and flexibility,” said Craig Munns, information, communications and technology manager at Hornsby Shire Council.

Munns and his ICT team manage the computer network comprising 500 desktops, 100 laptops and 80 printers used by around 750 personnel across 20 sites in the shire. These are deployed in diverse locations from council administration buildings and depots to libraries, childcare centres, sports centres and other community facilities. The council uses a suite of cloud-based business software applications and other specialist applications used by individual council services where necessary such as engineering, mapping and graphic design systems.

The council reconsidered its traditional PC-based, Windows XP environment and legacy SAN in May 2014 as the leases were due to expire in a few months. “This created an opportunity to consider what new solution could not only meet our immediate IT needs but also support our needs over the next 10 years,” said Munns. “Our options included moving to a like-for-like environment, using a SAN-based VDI solution, or VDI based on VMware, and an all-in-one appliance offering combined server, memory and storage.”

The council chose the Nutanix/VMware solution as it would reduce outgoings by approximately $100,000 per year in IT costs alone, as well as being easier to manage and more flexible. “Being a scale-out system we can buy more capacity as we need it, which fits our budget strategy perfectly,” Munns said. “We ran a proof of concept and the solution was quickly embraced by staff. Although the Nutanix technology is next-generation it proved to have the maturity and stability to fit our VMware environment.”

The rollout was expected to be completed by June 2014.

One of the key benefits of the Nutanix platform has been the simplicity it has brought to the council’s IT environment resulting in lower support costs and faster implementation.

“Having the storage and compute functions in one box, and the single pane management, means we don’t have to manage multiple environments,” said Munns. “This was particularly important for us given we have a relatively small IT team with many business requirements to satisfy.”

In addition to the Nutanix solution and VMware View environment, Hornsby Shire Council’s new IT architecture also includes a UniDesk virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) management solution.

“For the last couple of years we have seen more and more mobile devices being used by staff. They are using both Apple iPads and Android devices … [We are now] able to give everyone instant access to their desktop, no matter what device they are using or whether they are in the office or out in the field,” said Munns.

Phone: 02 8520 3138
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