Virtualisation

Hammersmith & Fulham Council updates desktops to support flexible working

Cliff Saran

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is using Colt's Workspace as a Service to support more than 2,000 virtual desktop users based on VMware’s Horizon Suite.

As part of a long-standing requirement to reduce physical estate, Hammersmith & Fulham Council has adopted a smart working strategy supported by technology from Colt. 

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Desktop virtualisation is being used to provide flexibility to allow staff to work from any of the council's sites.

As part of the roll-out, the council is migrating from a legacy Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Citrix desktop environment to Windows 7 accessed through thin client devices.

Howell Huws, head of business technology at Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said a key driver was to update the desktop environment to Windows 7 and Office 2010, along with improving mobility and personalisation. 

“We wanted users to be able to log on to any machine from anywhere and have the same experience,” he said.

The council provides staff with thin client devices to access the Windows 7 environment, which Huws said helps to address the green agenda because the thin clients use a fifth of the power of the PCs they replace.

The council previously used PCs to connect to its Citrix environment. These not only consumed more power than the thin client devices, but also took longer to boot up he said: "Our old PCs would take three-and-a-half minutes to boot up. We can now start up in 43 seconds."

The thin clients also offer USB security control, which was not possible in the previous PC setup.

The council has deployed Wyse and Cisco thin client desktop devices and Wyse thin client laptops. “The thin client laptops are very popular. More than half of the [desktop] estate is based on thin client laptops. They are lighter and there is far less to go wrong,” said Huws.

The devices also fit in with the accommodation policy of Kensington town hall.

Altogether, the council has 2,700-3,000 thin client users, with 300 running Wyse laptops.


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