by Sneha Jha

Hosted Shared Desktops Help Thermax Stay Ahead of Competition

May 27, 2013 4 mins
Business Careers Computers and Peripherals

Energy major Thermax stays ahead of competition by protecting its intellectual property.


If energy major Thermax wanted to innovate and stay ahead of competition, it needed to protect its intellectual property. Hosted Shared Desktops helped it get there.The Organization: It’s hard to find a company like Thermax that piggybacks on innovation, so much so, that 30 percent of its revenues depend on it. The company’s thrust on innovation is a diktat from the top. Thanks to that, today, Thermax is one of India’s leading providers of energy engineering solutions. Headquartered in Pune, the Rs 5,375 crore company provides engineering solutions to a range of companies, in the areas of heating, cooling, power, water, and waste management, air pollution control, and chemicals. Thermax’ international operations are spread over Southeast Asia, the Middle East, China, Africa, Europe, and the US. The Business Case:  For a company that thrives on innovation, protecting intellectual property is an imperative. “There’s a probability of business risk if the engineering drawing models are copied or IP confidentiality is compromised. In this eventuality, the monetary loss to the business could run into millions of rupees. Moreover, it is a matter of our reputation. That’s why we wanted to proactively block any security leakage,” says Anil Nadkarni, CIO, Thermax. In addition, the company also wanted to upgrade its IT infrastructure and replace 1,000-1,500 traditional desktops. This twin need—to strengthen the company’s security posture and create a robust infrastructure—pushed Nadkarni to turn to a Hosted Shared Desktop (HSD) solution. 

Had we taken the traditional VDI route, each CPU would be able to handle only 15 VDI users comfortably. But with HSD, the same CPU can handle upto 50 users.

The Project: A fairly under-rated concept, HSD is a server-based virtualization solution where multiple users access a single shared desktop, unlike VDI, where every user has their own virtual machine. The beauty of HSD, says Nadkarni, is that it allows you to share your resources. “Had we taken the traditional VDI route, each CPU would be able to handle only 15 VDI users comfortably. But with HSD, the same CPU can handle upto 50 users. The USP of the solution is that all the resources are shared, and unused memory is allocated to multiple users as and when needed. But we have restricted HSD to 40 users per CPU,” he says.  Another benefit that tilted the scales towards HSD was costs. Unlike VDI, HSD doesn’t need a dedicated SAN, which is why it works out to be a much cheaper solution. After zeroing in on HSD, Nadkarni did a POC and found that his ERP was working too slowly on the virtual platform. He tweaked his ERP with the help of his OEM and then knit together a project team. In a few months, he rolled out the solution to 50 users from the boiler division in Chinchwad.  The company has migrated 850 users from the manufacturing facilities of Savli and Chinchwad onto the HSD platform. In addition, some sections of users from other parts of the country have also been added. The Challenges: But the project wasn’t devoid of challenges. In the initial stages of the deployment, Nadkarni struggled to get user acceptance as users were reluctant to share their personal space. To keep them happy, Nadkarni decided to provide 5 GB of personal space to every user for storing their private information. Thermax has also made most of its non-engineering apps available to users through this solution.  The Benefits:  Today, the project has strengthened the organization’s security posture. “Since the virtual desktop HSD solution transfers only the screen images to the end point and not data, security is ensured. We have also disabled USB ports and print screen options to secure our data further,” says Nadkarni.  Apart from that, the project has also increased employee productivity by 30-40 percent. Now that employees can gain anytime, anywhere access, they are able to accomplish more work, expedite decision-making, and be more flexible. Nadkarni is convinced that this will make his organization more attractive to potential candidates and improve the quality of the organization’s employees.  It has also made the organization BYOD-ready. The company has started encouraging employees to bring their own tablets to access their virtual desktops and work on various non-engineering apps from anywhere, anytime. “Once the HR drafts a BYOD policy, it will see a more aggressive adoption. Today, I am technically ready with a BYOD framework in place,” he says.  Not only that, it has also speeded up software deployment across the organization. “This is a centralized solution so rolling out software is much easier now. Recently, we upgraded our instant messaging software. We were able to finish it in five minutes,” says Nadkarni.    Send feedback to