Scotia Gas looks to cut costs with AppSense thin-client manager

Software manages 1,500 Citrix thin client usersl Automatic protection against zero-day viruses

Utility company Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) has gone live with software to boost performance, reduce server software licensing costs and improve security across its Citrix thin client IT infrastructure.

SGN is a joint venture between utility firms Scotia and Scottish and Southern Energy. Its six-month implementation of AppSense's Performance Suite to manage 1,500 users across 60 sites was challenging, said SGNtechnical architect Angus McAllister.

McAllister, who implemented Citrix systems at Scottish and Southern Energy, said, "The technology has moved on. There was a lot to catch up on. There was a commercial constraint as well - we had to get approval from partners in a compressed timescale."

SGN chose AppSense because it needed the ability to prevent applications hogging CPU and memory resources, and to limit application execution, he added.

This is useful where, for example, a zero-day virus enters the system undetected - something that has happened to the company in the past. Appsense's application manager uses "trusted ownership checking" and will disable any executables that cannot automatically verify ownership by an administrator.

McAllister said the deployment has also enabled the company to cut costs by buying fewer server software licences from third-parties such as Microsoft.

AppSense Application Manager lets the company set usage restrictions based on users, client names and IP addresses. This reduces the number of licenses that need to be purchased by proving that only certain users can access an application.

"There is a good deal more work to do as applications come online, and to optimise and fine tune the technologies, but the reporting capabilities of AppSense are quite extensive. Our users get a consistent experience now," said McAllister.

Read more on Business applications