Groupama Insurances virtualises the desktop with Centralis

London - 2 April 2012

VDI replaces traditional desktop PCs to drive efficiency across UK operations

Independent application and desktop delivery specialist Centralis is working with Groupama Insurances, to deliver a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). The UK insurance company is replacing its traditional desktop estate and fleet of laptops with VDI across five major locations in the UK under a phased programme that will lower its total cost of ownership (TCO) and environmental impact while increasing security, performance and flexibility.

The solution comprises VMware hypervisors, Citrix’s XenApp application management system and Branch Repeater and AppSense’s user virtualisation platform. Groupama also specified additional SAN storage as a support strategy and Wyse thin clients, which are compact and energy efficient desktop terminals. Groupama’s centralised server infrastructure in Croydon is supporting desktop presentation services for 350 users at its offices in Portsmouth and Manchester and is expected to significantly lower the cost of desktop management and support. Similarly, a substantial drop in desktop power and cooling requirement should equate to a reduction of about 140,000 kWh or 85 metric tons of carbon emissions per year.

“Finding the right technology and delivery partner was crucial,” says Paul Marshman, Customer Support Manager for IT Production Services at Groupama Insurances. “Centralis has extensive experience in VDI, a track record of successful delivery and the team was very enthusiastic and precise about how you could go about it. Centralis were able to untangle the complexity of the solution and the agreements, share the risk and, once VDI was successfully delivered, ensure a seamless handover of documentation and knowledge.”

As well as significantly reducing the time spent patching systems and eliminating the need for third-party software to prevent users from taking data out of the company, VDI has also enabled Groupama to deliver a much better end-user experience. Groupama and Centralis are now working closely to finalise design of a VDI for non-standard users that will reduce the number of laptops being used by flexible workers and road warriors, as well as the associated risk.

“Groupama’s team understood the Centralis value proposition and approach from the outset, which allowed us to collectively manage executive expectations and the business user experience closely throughout the pre-production pilot,” comments James Bunce, who leads the Centralis growth strategy for the banking, finance and insurance markets. “This joint approach to managing project risk and outcome enabled a very smooth transition to production and serves as a model for any organisation looking to benefit from the significant advantages that virtualisation technology can deliver.”

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