Notting Hill Housing Group has implemented a virtual desktop system to reduce costs and save space, as well as reducing its carbon footprint. Installed and supported by Plan-Net, the new system is based on VMware VDI which delivers a virtual desktop which behaves like a normal ‘fat’ PC. Wyse thin-client terminals and Leostream, a desktop connection broker, were also used to direct access to the hosted desktops.
Plan-Net has supported the first round of installations for 100 of NHHG’s 550 seats, allowing NHHG to roll out the rest with minimal effort; the set-up time for new and upgraded users was as low as five minutes, resulting in little disruption to staff.
The new virtual environment has not involved any changes to applications or the desktop environment. Administrators can let users install applications, customise their desktop, and use local printers and USB devices. And users also get better support because helpdesk staff can perform tasks remotely that would normally require an in-person visit.
Andy Paynton, head of ICT, NHHG, said, “Although the initial cost for setting up each user was around £50 more than a traditional PC, the savings over the next five years will be £500 per head. And with the advanced power management solutions, we will also hit our eco-friendly targets.”
Paynton added, “Of course these benefits are important to NHHG, but perhaps even more important are the improvements for users. For example, a log-on time of around 25 seconds, compared to more than five minutes previously, has already led to a dramatic improvement in productivity. Add to this the ease with which support staff can provide upgrades, fix issues and improve usability, and the operational benefits are clear.”