Candies and chewing gums major, Perfetti Van Melle India (Perfetti), has moved its entire virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) from Windows XP to Windows 7. The Windows 7 on VDI upgrade comes in the wake of Microsoft ceasing to support Windows XP with effect from April 2009 (end date of extended support: 4/8/2014).
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Perfetti had deployed VDI in late 2009. The company then had 150 users on the VDI on Windows XP. In May 2010, it moved a major section of its virtual desktops to Windows 7 after running a pilot for feasibility check. The present Windows 7 on VDI deployment is a continuation of that exercise. Currently running in 48 departments across eight locations, the Windows 7 based VDI project has 100 active virtual desktop users.
The migration to Windows 7 on VDI did not require Perfetti to make changes or upgrades to the users’ thin clients or to increase the bandwidth. However, it had to deploy physical servers with higher configurations to meet the additional resource requirements.
Explains Basant Chaturvedi, Head – information technology, Perfetti, “Since the thin clients function based on Citrix’s ICA protocol, only the snapshot of a user’s system is displayed on his screen. With all desktop virtual images running at the server, hardware upgrades were required only at the server level.”
The additional server deployment for the VDI with Windows 7 project included an HP BL460c blade server with 24 GB RAM (later upgraded to 48 GB) and two local hard drives of 300 GB each.
According to Chaturvedi, upgrading the VDI to Windows 7 was a move welcomed by all users. “Instead of expressing discomfort over using a new interface, the users appreciated the look and user-friendliness of the operating system,” he says.
Besides the shift to Windows 7 on VDI, the company also upgraded from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2007. Chaturvedi observes, “Office 2007 offers features such as optimized file formatting and calculation capabilities for a larger number of cells. When used with MS Exchange 2007, network utilization can be optimized. Further, it eliminated the need for a workaround while working with Office 2007 file formats.”
Unlike the move from Windows XP to Windows 7 on VDI, the migration to Office 2007 required some amount of user training, informs Chaturvedi. Obtaining the licensing was easy, as the company has an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, for volume-based licensing.
Perfetti currently has only a section of its users on VDI publishing Windows 7. It plans to extend the Windows 7 on VDI initiative to other users and departments going forward.