Desktop-as-a-Service, the way it should be

Emerio, an NTT Communications company, drives Desktop-as-a-Service by creating a blueprint for flexible, high-performance desktops

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 26 August 2016
Desktop-as-a-Service, the way it should be

This article first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of The Record.

Emerio, an NTT Communications company, delivers a range of IT services. The company wanted to enhance its service offering to include Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) and take advantage of the growing market.

A key challenge of desktop virtualisation has been vendor lock-in from proprietary solutions, which leads to costs rising significantly over time. Other issues have included large upfront investments in storage, to provide the performance needed for a fast and reliable desktop service. Emerio wanted to avoid these challenges and develop a DaaS offering based on a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that offered reliability at a compelling price point for businesses of all sizes.

To find the right VDI software, Emerio ran tests on Citrix Xen Desktop, VMware Horizon and Wyse vWorkspace 8 from Dell. It was important to take into consideration that even though each solution has its merits, most customers may not have very complex requirements. “We found that Wyse vWorkspace was the right choice for its flexibility, manageability and cost-effectiveness,” says Gurprakash Sohal, vice president of Emerio in Australia.

Emerio also found HyperCache, an in-­memory caching feature, on the vWorkspace host server was an important advantage. With this feature, frequently accessed data such as the operating system image is held in the server’s cache, which helps prevent latency problems when large numbers of people launch their desktops at the same time.

Soon after implementing and running Wyse vWorkspace 8 for its DaaS, Emerio participated in an opportunity with a bank in Australia for a fully managed infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and DaaS solution. Bank personnel were accessing virtualised applications using remote desktop services (RDS) as part of Windows Server. The bank wanted to move to a full VDI solution to maximise security, simplify management and give employees a personalised virtual desktop. Against competition from providers offering alternative VDI software products, Emerio won the contract and proceeded to build the customer’s IaaS and DaaS infrastructure at its NTT data centre.

To avoid compliance issues, the bank needed the DaaS to be secure and carefully audited. Emerio met all the requirements, offering a single-vendor DaaS solution including software for compliance. This simplified the management process for Emerio while ensuring tight integration between all components. “We developed our IaaS and DaaS solution on an end-to-end Dell reference architecture proposed by Dell,” explains Sohal. “We had already used a number of Dell solutions and had a lot of confidence in the stability and performance of the underlying platform.”

At the heart of the IaaS/DaaS solution are Dell PowerEdge R720 servers with Intel Xeon E5-2630 and E5-2690 series processors. The servers, running on Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper V, support an IaaS and Wyse vWorkspace 8-based DaaS. Applications in the IaaS include Microsoft Exchange 2013 and Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise. Dell PowerVault storage arrays provide data storage for the IaaS and DaaS solutions, as well as additional capacity. A Dell PowerVault TL2000 tape library creates taped backups. All the hardware is covered by Dell ProSupport with Mission Critical onsite support service for rapid assistance in case of any issues.

Today, all employees at Emerio’s banking customer gain a virtual desktop and the same high quality end-user experience every time they log on. With the support of the end-to-end Dell platform, personnel using Wyse vWorkspace 8 can launch their virtualised desktops in less than 45 seconds and have fast access to all their applications and data.

The bank also wanted to refresh an ageing desktop based on HP T5565 and Dell Wyse T50 thin clients, which staff had for their RDS sessions. Besides finding new endpoints, Emerio was asked to provide a solution for personnel to access applications through touch-screen monitors in some areas of the bank’s branches. Emerio proposed Dell Wyse 5020 thin clients, running Windows 8 Embedded, for personnel to access the VDI, and a combination of Dell Cloud Connect portable cloud access devices and Dell MultiTouch P2314T monitors for the branches.

Emerio keeps the DaaS secure and audited for its bank customer using Dell Defender and Dell Enterprise Reporter software. The bank has peace of mind that using Defender for two-factor authentication heightens the security of its virtual desktops, while Enterprise Reporter enables real-time assessments of who has access to what applications and data across the environment. Emerio has the support of the built-in Dell vWorkspace Monitoring and Diagnostics feature to proactively manage the performance of the DaaS. The tool helps the team quickly resolve issues before they impact the bank’s personnel or any other DaaS customer’s employees.

With the success of its DaaS solution supporting the bank, Emerio is looking forward to winning more business in the expanding DaaS market. “We have seen a lot of interest from customers,” says Sohal. “We can seize new business opportunities and build long-term relationships with customers by developing our DaaS offering around Dell vWorkspace and a Dell end-to-end architecture.”

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