[Case study] How a global financial services company achieved a single base image for 100,000+ virtual desktop users

Tariq MahmoodApplication Virtualization, Windows Migration

Application Delivery for Financial Services

Our client is a global banking and financial services company with over 100,000 employees in over 50 countries. The distributed nature of their workforce means IT must meet complex security, compliance, and workflow requirements while supporting a variety of end-user desktop capabilities.

Background

The financial institution has three standard end-user experiences available for its many user roles: 

  • A non-persistent VDI experience
  • A persistent VDI experience
  • A physical system. 

Users begin with the non-persistent system and are granted access to other experiences only if they struggle to fulfil their duties in the non-persistent environment.

The company delivered many of these experiences to its end users using a combination of environments. Before engaging with Algiz Technology, they had a large environment consisting of Citrix App Layering and Microsoft App-V. Unfortunately, IT had not been able to make all required applications available across the business.

Challenges

In an enterprise-wide modernization of the Citrix VDI environment, the company needed to move its applications from Windows 7 to Windows 10 to leverage its new Windows Server 2016 environment more effectively. This required IT to repackage its Windows application estate. Traditionally, App-V was their virtualization solution of choice. However, they could not virtualize approximately 30 per cent of their applications, with more than 40 per cent failing to deploy or raising issues during testing. 

For example, many applications had a prerequisite requiring a specific version of Java. The applications would need the ability to communicate or integrate with each other, but at the same time, use only the particular version of Java needed by each application – IntelliJ required the 64-bit Oracle 18_1_04 JDK, while NodeJS 4.2.2 required JDK 7u111.

A direct migration to Citrix didn’t give the company any significant advantages because challenges with their existing application management tools persisted across legacy and new systems. Native installs of the problematic applications would bloat the base image or need the client to maintain multiple base images, preventing IT from achieving their goal of a single gold image.

Even for the packaged applications, IT found many that could not run on non-persistent systems. As a result, IT created A second and third desktop IT stack using VMware’s AppVolumes and AppStacks as workarounds for delivering applications that couldn’t run in the primary non-persistent environment. This added significant overhead for the IT team, as they had too many base images to manage, compounding scaling challenges and licensing costs.

Solution

Due to its unprecedented application compatibility rate and ease of deployment, Algiz Technology introduced the client to Cloudpaging from Numecent to virtualize its Windows desktop application estate.

Our initial engagement consisted of packaging forty applications incompatible with Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. Given 30 days to package and deliver the applications, Algiz and Numecent packaged 100 per cent of the applications and deployed them within 20 days. The client then asked us to continue with over 500 legacy and modern applications across the enterprise.

“Whilst we had reservations about learning something new and integrating the technology into our existing systems, it won us over with its ease of use and the ability to cover 100% of our application estate with minimal overhead. It easily took on some of the hardest applications that we threw at it.”

End-User Workspace Leader at the bank.

Results

After successfully remediating all application compatibility issues using Cloudpaging, we integrated these new packages into their existing App-V delivery mechanisms, allowing them to maintain their existing workflows to mount and unmount Cloudpaged applications from their desktop environments. This reduced adoption friction from the organization’s helpdesk and other IT teams that would be interacting with the solution.

Using Cloudpaging, Algiz Technology and Numecent helped them consolidate their Citrix platform without compromising goals of single base image management, security, and the ability to deliver any application needed by users. Additionally, the bank could run its entire Windows application estate on a non-persistent multi-session operating system, drastically reducing the resources and Windows licenses consumed across the enterprise.

“The response from stakeholders has been positive. Delivering applications rapidly and reliably often feels like an expectation, but there is an appreciation that to have done this without any friction or impact to end-users is quite an accomplishment. The bank can relax, knowing every application needed will reach its users, and platforms won’t suffer from reduced candidacy due to a lack of ability to deliver applications.”

End-User Workspace Leader at the bank.

Key outcomes included:

  • Consolidation to Citrix for all application needs
  • Successfully virtualizing 500+ legacy and modern applications
  • No prerequisite conflicts
  • Enabled application deployment to any physical or virtual Windows desktop
  • Any version of a Windows application can run across their enterprise
  • IT achieved a single base image for more than 100,000 virtual desktop users

The enterprise also benefited from significantly reduced administrative effort and costs associated with packaging by using Cloudpaging, making the solution even more cost-effective.

“Could we have done this without Algiz Technology? Potentially, but working with Algiz got us there faster and with much more confidence in the product. They were vital in understanding our specific business requirements and helping to give us a frictionless rollout of the product.”

End-User Workspace Leader at the bank.

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Discover the platforms we considered, the questions we asked, and the tools we used to help this global enterprise virtualise and deploy thousands of applications to 100,000+ banking staff across the world.