by Rodney Gedda

TransGrid switches on desktop virtualisation

Jul 06, 20113 mins
Computers and PeripheralsDesktop PCsEnterprise Applications

NSW electricity grid operator, TransGrid, will move as many as 500 of its desktop PCs to virtualised thin clients in an effort to reduce costs and extend the hardware refresh cycle to seven years.

The state government-owned corporation is looking to move to virtual desktops in two stages, with stage one involving a pilot of 50 desktops which will be replaced with thin client devices.

TransGrid’s ICT project manager, Brian Wood, is overseeing the transition to virtual desktops, which is part of CIO Henry Tan’s vision for a more modern, business process driven organisation.

Last year TransGrid started a data warehouse redevelopment project and in May inked a $7.2 million deal with Mincom for the supply of enterprise asset management solutions.

According to TransGrid, the core business drivers are an ability to provide an “enhanced desktop experience” to users; to reduce the TCO of the desktop environment including onsite support; to extend the desktop hardware lifecycle from three to seven years; and to provide “equal or enhanced” remote support functionality.

So far TransGrid ICT hasn’t specified a preferred technology product for the project, but it has the requirement that the solution must work with its Citrix remote access software and Wyse thin client hardware will be used as desktop replacements.

Stage one of the “Desktop Virtualisation Infrastructure” (DVI) project will be limited to 50 desktops across “a small number” of sites and is expected to take three months.

Other business requirements of the DVI project include centralised management of the user experience, including automated provisioning and moves adds and changes; integration with Novell Identity Manager to automate provisioning; roaming profiles of user data, applications and settings across the network; and allow for future access with notebooks, tablets, and smartphones.

The supplier selected for the project must have the ability to provide a “mixed environment” for TransGrid, including complete desktop virtualisation and traditional thin clients.

The project will be implemented by a successful tenderer in conjunction with TransGrid’s outsourcing partners and internal IT.

TransGrid’s technology architecture consists of Windows Server, Windows XP SP3, AppSense Management Suite, Novell Identity Manager, Microsoft Office (including Outlook, Visio and Project) and SQL Server.

There is also SharePoint and custom .Net applications, including Silverlight. A number of “legacy applications” using technologies like Microsoft Access and FoxPro are also inside TransGrid as are Unix-based applications like Mincom’s Ellipse and Oracle’s e-business suite.

The desktop infrastructure is capable of being upgraded to Windows 7, but that move is yet to occur.

TransGrid’s DVI project is expected to begin next month.

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