Flexible and mobile access to IT applications plays an increasingly important role for the everyday running of Soudronic AG. By setting up desktop virtualization the company's IT department has created the conditions for productive work on the move and can now provide user desktops on any device - including Apple iPads. Soudronic's remote workers can now also use Citrix ShareFile for synchronization of corporate data on mobile devices.
Soudronic AG, headquartered in Bergdietikon, is an international group of Swiss companies and the worldwide leader in metal packaging. The company now employs more than 500 people and has production sites in Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany and China. In order to remain competitive and to optimize business processes, Soudronic launched several major IT modernization projects. Firstly, the existing ERP system is being progressively replaced by Microsoft Dynamics NAV, on the other hand, the company focuses its desktop strategy from scratch. Since the existing client infrastructure at its headquarters in Bergdietikon was no longer suitable Soudronic opted for entry into the desktop virtualization.
"We have been very intensely involved with the technological possibilities of virtual desktops and we then decided to systematically implement the strategy," says Guido Peter, who is responsible for IT systems and support at Soudronic. "Our goal was not only to virtualise standard jobs or simply to relocate individual applications into the data center, but in the long term, virtualise all user desktops. We are even focusing on mobile usage scenarios from the very beginning."
The diverse user requirements and access variants were the most important reason to opt for the Citrix XenDesktop desktop virtualization solution. The product combines the FlexCast technology, different methods of central desktop and application deployment such as shared desktops, VDI desktops, local virtual machine, application hosting and application streaming. "It was particularly important to have a desktop virtualization solution that technologically opens all the doors for us and supports any type of user," Guido Peter summarizes. Following a proof-of-concept, which was carried out jointly with the IT partner Bechtle Regensdorf, Soudronic began the first phase of virtual VDI desktops for 150 users across the data center. The desktops run as virtual machines on physical servers, which are equipped with the virtualization platform Citrix XenServer.
For the employees of Soudronic the introduction of virtual desktops opened up some very flexible access options: The user can now securely access their desktop and all applications whilst on the road or from home via the Internet. Communication between the terminal and the server is encrypted by the SSL VPN component of Citrix XenDesktop, in addition, web access is through multi-factor authentication and SMS is protected via a secure passcode. To make the remote access for mobile users as failsafe as possible, Soudronic extended the XenDesktop infrastructure to Citrix NetScaler. The high-availability networking solution ensures that users still have access from the outside to the virtual desktop environment in the event of a Web Interface server failure. Soudronic's mobile users particularly like to use Apple iPads. "With Citrix technology, it was no problem for us to provide the virtual desktops for tablet users," says Guido Peter. "We had to install the Citrix Receiver and the connection to the XenDesktop only on the terminals in the virtual environment."
However, a challenge was the local secure storage of documents on the tablet computers. The company operates internationally and wanted to make various corporate documents available in digital form - and also make them viewable offline on the iPad. To fulfill this wish, the IT department decided to use Citrix ShareFile. The file-sharing service from Citrix can exchange files of any size securely over the Internet and automatically synchronize between different terminals.
In practice, the IT department was able to easily implement the requirements of mobile users. Digital business documents are maintained in a central folder in the ShareFile protected environment - the ShareFile clients on iPads automatically synchronize documents with each change. For safety reasons, the data transmission takes place exclusively via encrypted connections. And even with the loss of a terminal, the IT department retains control and can remotely delete all locally stored ShareFile data.
"Citrix ShareFile today enables us to easily and securely exchange data with any device," says Guido Peter. "Unlike consumer-oriented public cloud services, the solution provides us with the control and safety features that we need as a company. Share File complements our desktop virtualization strategy perfectly, for flexible and secure work anywhere."
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