3 roads to Azure Virtual Desktop – Part 3Rob Metcalf
In this series of articles we’ll look at three of the Azure Virtual Desktop migrations we’ve delivered to our clients, exploring the different reasons organisations are turning to the platform and the business benefits being realised as a result.
3. Empowering users and modernising IT
The right time to refresh
When datacentre renewal approaches, it offers businesses the opportunity to consider whether their existing solution is working for them, or if it’s time to look at doing things a better way. When an insurance company approached Atech they had reached this inflexion point, and in order to modernise parts of their IT an exit from their datacentre hosting contract would most likely have to occur. Real estate, warranty renewals, server refresh, licensing and management were all creating a drag on the IT team and operation costs for their two data centres were mounting. Naturally, they were looking to public cloud services as the potential answer, hopeful this would provide a more dynamic platform from which to modernise and grow.
Beyond the big cost and operational motivators, the organisation had some unique technical challenges that would also need to be carefully considered. Firstly, their network was complex, demanding connectivity with global offices as well as third party systems. What’s more, the company were using around 20-30 important applications that would need to be integrated into a future cloud solution – either cloud-hosted or using SaaS alternatives. The company was also running a large virtual desktop solution deployed across many physical servers, which they desperately wanted to simplify. This environment was causing most of their issues. It was highly complicated, over-provisioned, and not offering proportionate benefit to the costs being incurred. For many businesses, cost optimisation is a big driver in modernisation projects. It is not uncommon for a mission-critical system like virtual desktops to become an operational money pit in this way.
To help form a new plan we began by ascertaining how the company were using their existing virtual desktop platform, the features they required and those they didn’t, then matched it to how they could achieve a superior solution in Azure. Through this exercise, the client discovered there were significant cost savings, functional growth and infrastructure simplification to be realised using Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Using AVD meant they could eliminate all of their on-premises infrastructure and with it the cost and management overheads associated with acquiring, operating and supporting legacy hardware and software. But what really stood out was the chance to fund the solution as a pay-monthly subscription that could be flexed in line with their business. Having been used to the headaches of capacity planning and periodic upgrades that would sometimes unexpectedly eat up capex, this was a game-changer for their budget.
A joined-up user experience
In addition to cost optimisation, user experience was high on the priority list for our client as they began their modernisation journey.
The company had experienced an outage with their existing virtual desktop solution, affecting productivity and disrupting business operations. This was caused by legacy operating systems conflicting with newer versions of Microsoft 365. It was imperative for them to get the new solution up and running as soon as possible to ensure this kind of problem didn’t happen again. In fact, with this experience fresh in their mind we expedited the migration to bring it forward by four weeks.
Our client had a widespread workforce, with users across the globe including Germany, USA and Argentina, so being able to control global workspaces centrally – and deploy them quickly and easily – was a huge advantage. With AVD they were able to configure employee virtual workspaces with the apps and access they needed and deploy quickly via a single link. Because AVD provides a native Windows 10 experience, users are always treated to the best computing experience, with rich application access and a full-featured OS.
Finally, this particular business also needed to collaborate closely with the outside contractor and customer environments. Due to the way they work with third parties, it was necessary to be able to share elements of their workspaces. Of course, all this needed to be done securely, with one important control being fixed IP-only access. With employees working from multiple locations, AVD provided a way of meeting this criterion whilst still enabling flexibility for their own workforce.
Planning a modernisation project?
If you’re looking for ways to modernise your environment, we can help advise how Azure Virtual Desktop can play a part. To discover more of its features, and why so many of our clients are choosing AVD, take a look at this blog. Or, for a more in-depth chat, speak to one of our experts.