Water district to expand virtual desktop infrastructure to enhance user experience, reduce storage costs

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MARLBOROUGH, MA, June 16, 2011 -- Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) of Fort Worth, TX, is expanding its non-persistent virtual desktop deployment with persistent virtual desktops. The new system will support water district employees and consultants who require a modern, user-configurable desktop experience.

The persistent and non-persistent desktops will be provisioned and managed by Unidesk® VDI management software. The district will be able to more easily distribute, patch, and manage applications and Microsoft Windows operating system updates, while maintaining each user's profile settings, user-installed applications, and plug-ins.

The water district has successfully used VMware View™ virtual desktop brokering software for three years and it will continue to give TRWD employees and consultants secure, high performance access to their virtual desktops.

The water district found that its virtual machines were being slowed by remnants of old software and IT administrators were challenged by having to manage one or more images for each department. David Dunaway, TRWD Information Technology Infrastructure Analyst, said adding Unidesk's desktop layering technology to VMware View will simplify the VDI environment. "We can respond faster with the latest software; so, for example, when our engineering department goes into 'flood mode' answering emergency calls, we know they will have the latest desktops at their disposal. And our users will be happier because their desktops are fully personalized," he said.

TRWD began using desktop and application virtualization technologies three years ago to "go green," reduce hardware costs, and share resources among employees. The first virtual desktops were thick-provisioned as full clones, each desktop consuming a full copy of the Microsoft Windows operating system and common applications. As the virtual desktops became more popular, however, rising SAN costs quickly became an obstacle to expansion. The IT staff also found desktop management and support costs were not lower because dozens of different images had to be created and managed to meet the varying application needs of TRWD staff.

The IT organization shifted to non-persistent virtual desktops and implemented cloning technology to minimize storage costs and simplify OS management, but it was difficult to manage TRWD workers' customizations.

With the new virtual desktop management platform, every part of the desktop is virtualized and managed as independent layers, eliminating the cost and complexity of integrating point tools for application virtualization, profile management, PC configuration, and storage de-duplication.

This enables IT to ensure user configurations are preserved while desktops are kept clean with the latest IT-assigned updates.

Storage savings are also a key benefit. "By sharing a single layer of Windows and applications like Microsoft Office across many virtual desktops, we're seeing the same storage reduction with Unidesk that we saw with our non-persistent desktops based on a single cloned image. Yet, now, each user's persona is preserved," said Dunaway.

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