Lewisham Homes has completed a project to install cloud, virtualisation and VDI technologies from VMware and Citrix and thin-clients from IGEL throughout its head office as part of a ‘ground up’ investment in class-leading enterprise IT.
Manni Etsetowaghan, head of IT, Lewisham Homes, said, “New IT infrastructure was needed as we consolidated office space to improve collaboration and separate out housing services from the council’s own IT systems. It meant starting from scratch so we’ve bought IT that is flexible, future-proof, supports the green agenda and allows us to deliver services efficiently to offer value for money.”
To achieve this, Lewisham Homes chose VMware for server virtualisation, Citrix’s XenApp for VDI, created a private cloud solution for application and data storage, and then linked everything together using a secure MPLS network. Furthermore, it is using VoIP telephony and installed a SIP server so it can run Skype for Business. Staff access a range of applications through Citrix, including housing, asset and finance management systems as well as Microsoft Office and SharePoint.
Lewisham Homes bought 250 IGEL terminals, optimised for voice and video and support the use of IP telephony and video-based training over the desktop. IGEL’s Universal Desktop Convertor software was also installed to convert existing x86-based Intel devices into universally-deployable IGEL Linux-based thin clients.
Odina Ifeoma, service desk manager, Lewisham Homes, said, “We’ve been able to recycle and transform about 20 older laptops for use in meeting rooms and reception areas rather than throwing them away. Clearly this saves money which can be used for front line services.
“As for the IGEL thin clients themselves, the ease of rollout is what I’m most proud of. It’s much easier to do compared to traditional PCs and we’ve been able to adjust settings per user, remotely deliver updates and set the devices to power up and down at certain times of the day to reduce electricity consumption.”
In order to achieve its goal of installing end-to-end solutions, Lewisham Homes worked with Citrix specialists CloudDNA. Etsetowaghan said, “CloudDNA helped with our requirements gathering and analysis, offered consultancy about Citrix and how best to deploy it, advised about the thin client selection, as well as audited our environment at the end.
“Overall, IGEL, Citrix and VMware support our strategy of the three ‘anys’ – access to systems from anywhere, on any device and at any time.”