Desktop virtualisation

Point to Point makes the virtual desktop a physical reality for Leicestershire PoliceAs adoption of Virtualisation continues to gather pace in the industry Desktop Virtualisation is still the subject matter that organisations are most interested in understanding. Many organisations have experienced the benefits that server virtualisation has to offer in the datacenter and are keen to understand if the same benefits of simplification, management and cost can also apply to the client estate.
    
The benefits
The concept of Desktop Virtualisation removes the desktop operating system and applications from the end user’s device, and places this in the datacentre where it is centrally controlled and managed by IT. The objective being to address the challenges that have developed alongside traditional rich client desktop strategies. Adopters of the approach are finding that their desktop environment is easier to support, more secure, capable of delivering a better and more consistent end user experience and costs less to maintain.
    
For many organisations Desktop Virtualisation is also helping IT to support wider business initiatives as it enables access from anywhere which many seem to be adopting in order to support more flexible working methods and to reduce office infrastructure.
    
As specialists in Desktop and Application Virtualisation for well over a decade Point to Point has been working with virtual desktops since their inception, and have delevoped a reputation for our knowledge and expertise with Virtual technologies. During this time we have been involved with some of the most complex UK projects for this technology, with one of our most recent high profile customers being Leicestershire Constabulary.

This project is of technical importance for two key reasons:

1. It was the UK’s first production implementation of Citrix XenDesktop and therefore an early adoption of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.2. The use case for Virtual Desktop was novel as this was deployed as the basis of a mobile data solution, based on in vehicle access to the corporate desktop from mounted, but removable, devices.

Real business change
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the implementation though is the way that this has enabled real business change and benefit to be achieved in the Force.
    
Following a work study undertaken in 2007, major improvements were identified which could increase an officer’s efficiency. It was found that 35 per cent of an officers working life was spent at the police station, with access to mobile data being considered part of the answer to this challenge. The objective was to allow officers access to applications while out on the job thus reducing the amount of time spent in the office.
    
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure was selected for the infrastructure as it gave officers the same experience to working from their desk. Also as no physical data is actually stored on the device, sensitive information remained secure from threat of theft. Having compared different products on the market, Citrix XenDesktop was chosen for the project as it most clearly matched the demands of the force, crucially ensuring performance across the mobile 3G and GPRS networks. Using these networks, officers can securely access core systems from anywhere, allowing them access to crime reports while out of the office and the ability to input data onto the system at the scene. Leicestershire are in fact the only police force in the UK with the ability to record a crime at the scene of the incident.
    
Success
The project has been a great success, being described as “The most significant step forward in police communications since the introduction of the personal radio” (Mike Goodwin, Assistant Chief Constable) not only has the mobile data project improved on the thirty-five per cent of an officers time spent on administration, Leicester have also experienced a reduction in the crime reporting process from three days to twenty minutes, and an increased confidence in Policing throughout the community.
    
Whilst this example happens to be a police force the benefits realised through the adoption of virtual desktop apply, and should be of interest, to any organisation with a desktop estate, namely; Simplified support, Improved security, Access from anywhere, Estimated improvement in productivity by 30 per cent, Reduced Cost of Ownership
    
Point to Point operates an independent policy in our approach to Desktop and Application Virtualisation. This is based on our close partnerships with industry leading vendors, allowing us to deliver “best of breed” solutions. We are one of Eight Citrix Platinum partners in the UK, an accreditation we have held for almost a decade, a Microsoft Gold Partner and VMware VIP Enterprise Partner enabling us to give an agnostic view of these technologies, and assist you in selecting the most appropriate solution for your business.  

For more information
If you would like to learn more about how Point to Point can assist you in this area please refer to our website www.ptop.co.uk or you can e-mail any queries to marketing@ptop.co.uk