Eurofred is a commercial company with big warehousing capacity and high value added in terms of its delivery, customer service and after-sales service. It is a notable leader in the distribution of domestic, commercial and industrial air-conditioning equipment, thermal solar energy, and commercial, hotel, and ice-cream and bakery refrigeration machinery. Founded in 1966, it forms part of the Eurofred Group and is present in several European and South American countries. In Spain, it is the market leader in air-conditioning. To achieve high rates of expansion, the key has been to focus on client needs and also on logistics centers equipped with the most innovative technologies for rapid product delivery.
As a consequence of continued growth, Eurofred developed heterogeneous and non-standard IT equipment with regard to its operating systems, software and hardware. This meant the organization's own computers were not compatible. It had to distribute software to a multitude of geographically dispersed centers with very scarce IT resources. It had email servers and other services but needed repositories for information storage. From this emerged a need for centralized equipment that allowed the whole organization transversal access to data, without forgetting the poor available bandwidth and that the fiber-optic alternative was beyond the budget. The installation of a new ERP was a problem because there were different types of navigators and different bandwidths for connecting to central servers, depending on location.
An important aspect for users are mobile phones, particularly for the sales, after-sales and technical service departments. The rest are users who work in fixed locations, such as the Pre-Sales, Logistics, Customer Service, Finance, Administration and Systems Departments, among others. All these departments must have access to the same operational information and use the same tools. The challenge was to unify and homogenize platforms while keeping costs as low as possible.
In 2002 Eurofred decided to install the Citrix Metaframe. This immediately delivered a series of improvements: With the installation of the Citrix ICA protocol, the entire range of computers could be exploited, including some which were almost obsolete. Servers were centralized and homogenized, so that users could use these from the same type of interface, operating system, software, etc., therefore resolving the issue of software distribution and updates for each user. A drastic improvement in performance, particularly at work stations (PC). A private cloud was generated—one of the first private clouds—using resources unified through the client ICA, allowing immediate access to corporate information. All of this produced large cost savings in comparison with other technologies and without the need to increase IT personnel. Since then, every two or three years, there have been regular successive cost/benefit analyses, reasonable costs being the common theme, and which have always produced a decision to continue with Citrix.
The company's subsequent expansion to other countries has generated growth in user numbers, which doubled in the 2008-2010 period, while maintaining a systems department with few frontline people, in accordance with corporate policy with regard to cost control, also guaranteeing service levels.
Users often find themselves stuck in the middle between a work center and a warehouse which may be located at a distance. With the Citrix Metaframe and Access Gateway (VPN SSL) tools, teleworking and mobility needs are easily addressed given that any user may identify himself and access the system from any corporate work station independent of the place and equipment. Collaborative working procedures have also been developed between different users who can access the same files from different locations, regardless of the distance between each.
In 2010, the need to incorporate multimedia contents (audio, images, videos, etc.) arose. The Metaframe solution was not ready to process this content. Also, bandwidths continued to be very limited, with no resources to increase them: This situation was addressed by incorporating version 6,0 of XenApp thanks to HDX technology.
Teleworking has always been a Eurofred tradition, using its initial tools such as Infovía Plus for connection from home. With Internet advances, there was a requirement for greater external security for mobile users. In parallel, and just after starting to work with XenApp, it was decided to incorporate NetScaler. This was in order to guarantee external security in addition to fundamentally solving load balancing and process optimization issues.
This was an improvement with respect to the previous Access Gateway (VPN SSL). At the same time, the mobility issue was also a hot topic and it was identified that with a small adaptation of some additional NetScaler modules, XenMobile could be included and with it a secure form of connectivity (MDM) for mobile devices. So all users have access to all applications.
In 2012, with CloudBridge, which supplied compression and optimization of ICA sessions, communication line performance was doubled. Latency and remote printing (very important because the printing of manuals and downloads of large amounts of content were frequent) also improved.
Incorporating XenMobile in 2013 brought with it, above all for the sales force, better tools for planning, executing and recording client visits much more rapidly than had been possible up to this time. Now, with XenMobile and a tablet or smartphone, after each visit they spent barely five minutes recording and updating all the information gathered, which saved them having to deal with an accumulation at the end of the week.
Another attractive feature of XenMobile, not available with other solutions on the market, was that at the point of choosing a gateway for VPN SSL management, the Citrix solution was better because it arrived with already integrated solutions direct from the factory, which they were used to working with.
In the same way XenMobile allowed the creation of a private platform for the distribution of applications (MAM) to mobile devices, whether individual (BYOD), or company.
Currently, Indiseg is the chosen partner for the implementation and growth of the XenMobile Enterprise solution and is responsible for the update and support of NetScaler and XenMobile platforms.
In 2013, with the implementation of XenServer (using CTX, a Citrix partner) there was a technological leap forward toward the virtualization of servers, the main advantage being an important cost saving in comparison with other platforms, and which is accompanied by greater procurement flexibility.
Summarizing the key benefits for Eurofred.
Among future Eurofred plans is the possibility of migrating the infrastructure to more recent versions and the development of a corporate network with Podio.
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Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leading supplier of virtual computing solutions that help companies deliver IT services as an on-demand service. Founded in 1989, Citrix combines virtualization, networking, and cloud-computing technologies in a portfolio of products that permit virtual work styles for users and virtual data centers for IT. More than 260.000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to help them build simpler and more cost-effective IT environments. Citrix has more than 10.000 business partners in over 100 countries. Its annual revenue in 2011 was 2,21 billion dollars. More information at www.citrix.com/lac
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