San Benito Medical Associates have been providing health care services to South Texas communities for over 50 years. Specializing in family practice and general surgery, their physicians offer personalized, comprehensive care with thoughtful attention given to patients, their medical history, lifestyle and current condition.
Justin Williams, Director of Technology at the facility, recently explained in a webinar how desktop virtualization with Nimble Storage and Unidesk, supported by Texas-based virtualization and storage solutions provider Freeit, has simplified management for IT while improving desktop mobility and application access. Here is a short summary of what he said, along with a link to the on-demand recording so you can hear for yourself!
The Path to VDI
The healthcare facility's IT team started going down the VDI path when they saw desktop virtualization picking up momentum and recognized the ease of management it could provide. Says Justin, “When you have 120 employees using different devices - tablets, phones, laptops, and traditional desktops - it’s extremely tedious to keep up with the management of images, keep data where it needs to be, and have backup done efficiently. We wanted everyone to be on the same version of Windows and or apps. We basically wanted uniformity!”
Eliminating Image Management Inefficiency with Unidesk Layering
The IT team knew it would be much easier to troubleshoot issues if they could have only one OS version for everyone irrespective of the applications they were running. To achieve this, they separated all of their apps from the base Windows image using Unidesk application layering software. Now, the IT team can research the different OS versions and Windows hot fixes that are available, test compatibility with their important EMR applications, and upgrade to the version that is most suitable. Unidesk and virtual desktop infrastructure greatly simplifies this and ensures an efficient upgrade cycle for the facility.
With everyone now on one standard Windows OS layer, the IT team could tackle the personalization issue. They decided to provide employees with persistent desktops that would allow doctors and staff to enjoy a customized user experience. The persistent desktops also increased login speed because there is no profile to download from the network - Unidesk's personalization layer can be combined with the Windows and app layers before boot, so the machine is ready to go from the start. Once the users login to their virtual desktops, the customizations are all available, including settings that live inside the local profile, as well as documents, plug-ins, and applications that live in the Windows file system and registry.
Explains Justin, “Looking at how to do VDI, VMware Horizon can be a very big learning curve if you don’t have anything to manage it. In the process of creating VMs and gold images, and manually managing the different images and apps, you actually begin to lose what you wanted from VDI in the first place. One of my trusted colleagues had implemented Unidesk to solve this problem. I saw it in practice at their facility and I was extremely impressed and decided to implement it in our environment. Unidesk made VDI management unbelievably simple. It put an end to image sprawl with its layering and gave us true patch-once efficiency. App layering is the fastest, easiest way to deliver apps to many VMs without installation!”
San Benito Medical has used Unidesk to successfully layer Microsoft Office, Java, Firefox, IE, TrendMicro, Silverlight, Adobe Reader, Greenway, OSAS, Fujitsu, Ambir, and TimeClockPlus.
Comments Justin, “Unidesk layering lets you do some really cool things like run multiple versions of the same type of middleware in an environment but only on desktops that need it. We could virtualize all apps with Unidesk. We didn’t even face issues with virtualizing printers!”
Solving the VDI Storage Challenge with Nimble Storage
For its storage solution, San Benito Medical chose Nimble Storage. Says Justin, “A colleague had implemented Nimble Storage few years ago. So I went with Nimble because it has built-in SSD cache (CASL architecture) with a >98% cache hit rate, making it a great fit for VDI where I/O performance drives a lot of the end user experience. It also ensures fast desktop build times!”
The overall performance of apps and the OS itself has been greatly improved with VDI, which has led to full acceptance by the end users. Learn more about San Benito Medical’s VDI deployment by watching the full webinar here: