Founded in 2002, Fareportal is one of the fastest growing travel companies in the world. With its headquarters in New York, the company ranks as the seventh largest online travel group in the US. It has seven offices across four countries and employs approximately 1.300 people worldwide.
Strategically positioned in New York, Las Vegas and New Delhi, Fareportal operates a 24/7 travel fulfillment and call center operation equipped with a state-of-the-art call center and telecommunication infrastructure, and is staffed with highly experienced multi-lingual travel professionals. The company’s four primary call centers handle over 500.000 calls per month.
The company’s expanded focus includes a wide range of solution offerings with travel offices, call centers, online sites, and mobile applications – a breadth of coverage that provides value to its business partners and customers alike.
Fareportal’s main delivery center is based out of Gurgaon, India. The Indian operations were witnessing robust growth and the company was steadily increasing its headcount. The growing size and scale of Fareportal called for an increase in office space. With real estate prices showing a sharp upward trend in Gurgaon, the company was faced with the challenge of matching its growth with that of its real estate requirements.
“In terms of human resources, we were witnessing a growth of 30 percent year-on-year. Our primary mandate was to keep pace with this growth and the growth that we were planning for the future. Our existing plain vanilla infrastructure of desktops (a mix of Dell and Lenovo) and servers consumed a lot of space and we knew something had to be done urgently,” said A. K. Singh, Director – IT at Fareportal.
In his capacity, Singh took care of, among other things, Fareportal’s IT infrastructure, compliance, all new deployments and roll outs. With the aim to reutilize the existing real estate, he decided to go in for desktop virtualization.
“Our other considerations for deploying a desktop virtualization solution were reduction in power consumption, enhanced security, ease of manageability and mobility,” he said.
Fareportal decided to weigh the various desktop virtualization solutions and options available in the market.
“We evaluated VMware, various open source solutions, and other out-of-the-box solutions such as pay-as-you-go or subscription-based models. Finally, we decided to go ahead with Citrix XenDesktop. Fareportal ran a PoC (Proof of Concept) of Citrix XenDesktop for around two quarters before deploying the solution.
“The overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), ease of deployment, the pace of deployment and manageability that the solution offered could not be ignored. Citrix XenDesktop met all our commercial aspects as well as the requirements,” said Singh.
The overall evaluation of the Citrix solution took Fareportal about six months, during which it figured out the various loopholes that could come up during the implementation. However, everything went off smoothly and the company deployed Citrix XenDesktop in a month’s time at its facility in Gurgaon. Citrix’s partner, AGC Networks, implemented the solution.
“It was a wonderful experience dealing with Citrix’s sales, technical, and solution architects’ teams. They could give us insights into the various aspects of the solution from end-to-end including licensing, manageability and deployment,” Singh said.
Fareportal has migrated about 30 percent employees on Citrix XenDesktop virtualized environment, and the remaining 70 percent would be migrated soon.
“We are transitioning our development environment on Citrix XenDesktop as of now. We plan to move the entire call center onto the virtualized environment,” Singh revealed.
For Fareportal, the most important advantage accruing from the deployment of Citrix XenDesktop has been savings on the real estate front.
As Singh said, “reutilizing the real estate is the biggest advantage that we have gained through Citrix XenDesktop. We don’t have to spend more on the real estate cost and can now accommodate more people in the same space.”
According to Singh, by leveraging Citrix XenDesktop, the company would have saved around USD 400.000 per annum in terms of real estate costs.
“Besides, we won’t be required to enhance the power capacity on the current infrastructure. As a result, power capacity, in terms of operating costs, will come down by as much as 25-30 percent,” he said.
Citrix XenDesktop has also provided Fareportal with better manageability and security.
“Going forward, we will be able to save considerable amount on support cost as well. Also, this is the most secure environment. As we are PCI compliant, we need to secure a lot of data end-points. Now we don’t have to worry about end-point security. We just have to look at the server aspect of it,” Singh said.
“Another significant advantage derived from the solution is the mobility that we can give to our users in terms of desktop environment which can be accessed anywhere from home, laptop or tablet,” he said.
Going forward, Fareportal intends to go in for a massive rollout of Citrix XenDesktop.
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