Mouchel is one of the UK’s largest providers of consulting and business services in the highways sector. They are responsible for maintenance and operations on a substantial portion of England’s motorway and trunk road network. They are behind some of the most innovative technologies to combat congestion on our arterial road network. Mouchel Traffic Support (MTS) provides the innovative software and system solutions that have now become well established in parking management throughout the UK and Ireland.
The Business Challenge:
A Centralised Solution to Reduce Support Costs
Carl Brooker, Data Centre Manager at MTS, said: “We ran through the usual procedures of negotiating better rates with suppliers and finding savings, but we really required a more fundamental approach. That’s when we decided to completely re-model our architecture. A centralised solution seemed to make the most sense and so we approached Form.”
Aware of financial cost of procuring, managing and powering its desktop estate, MTS was also conscious of the cost to the environment. Also as MTS expands globally, supporting new office deployments is becoming an increasing priority. Providing secure application delivery in new offices around the world is key to MTS’s strategy and central to MTS’s Managed Services objectives when assessing the IT infrastructure.
Implementing a Citrix Application Delivery Infrastructure
Having considered a number of alternatives, including simply replacing the existing pc estate with higher specifications and implementing a Microsoft Terminal Services environment, MTS consulted Form IT Solutions for guidance and advice. Considering the challenges, cost implications and environment, Form recommended MTS invest in a Citrix-based solution.
“Form advised that Citrix could offer superior security and cost-effectiveness over other alternatives and we were convinced that this would be our best solution for us. We were very impressed with the standard of consultancy that Form’s technology consultants delivered. The Citrix solution that Form proposed as a result was a perfect match for both our short and long term objectives” explains Carl Brooker.
Citrix Presentation Server was deployed with Microsoft Windows Server 2003, onto twenty new HP ProLiant DL360 G5 servers, supplied by Form, each provisioning up to 80 users. These servers are shared across two physically separated data centres to provide full redundancy and resilience. Secure Gateway for Citrix PS provides universal SSL VPN access over ADSL and MPLS connections to the Presentation Server environment. More than 50 applications running on Presentation Server, such as MS Office 2003, and an SQL server-based Database solution, are securely delivered to approximately 3,000 users.
The Result and Benefits
By using Citrix technology as part of the solution, MTS’ IT division achieved its ultimate goal of cutting costs. Accelerating the rollout of new applications and simplifying administration with the centralised management and application delivery capabilities of Citrix Presentation Server has also enabled MTS to reduce the support overhead on our administrators.
Carl Brooker explains, “Reducing costs was not an easy thing for a business unit like ours to do. But, using Citrix together with other industry-leading technologies, we have been able to completely revise our architecture and put in place a more secure and function-rich environment for our users. Not only have we saved costs ourselves, but the new Citrix environment lets the whole group reduce expenses while improving efficiency and contributing to improved productivity. It was fundamental to have Form’s expertise and experience to assist us throughout this project."
Key benefits to MTS include:
• Centralised management helped reduce IT support costs by 20 percent
• Application virtualisation provides high performance on legacy PCs
• Reduced power consumption cut carbon emissions
To upgrade the existing desktop estate would have demanded huge resources and taken months. In the meantime, users had to access client/server applications using slow and unreliable legacy technology.
However, once the Citrix environment was installed and centralised, MTS was able to roll out new applications quickly and with minimum effort. As a result, MTS has avoided the expense of replacing its desktop hardware while providing high performance for users over any connection, such as the core gigabit pipe between its data centres, or the 2MB ADSL with MPLS backbone linking branches with the head office.
Flexible Infrastructure Accelerates International Expansion
While improving user experience and reducing cost were key areas of focus, the biggest objective for Carl’s team was supporting the aggressive rate of expansion the company was experiencing. “In one instance, we had just four weeks to open a remote office. To make this happen we needed applications delivered securely to the office infrastructure with poor communications links,” said Brooker.
The existing infrastructure allowed quick deployment, which meant all deadlines for office rollouts were met. "Given MTS’s expansion strategy, it’s imperative that new and existing users have immediate access to the technology and information they need to do their jobs. As a people business, we know how important it is to give your employees the best tools to get work done securely and efficiently. Citrix allows us to do that."
“While the cost savings have been impressive, the real value of our Citrix investment is how it has made us a more agile business, better placed to expand globally and more able to do this with less impact on the environment.”
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