With all the buzz around Unidesk's announced innovations for Citrix XenApp and traditional Server-Based Computing (SBC) this week, it was cool to see our VDI customers in the spotlight again. Windows IT Pro magazine's story "From Water Pumps to Sports Bikes, Manufacturers Like Their VDI" stars two of our manufacturing customers - Dayton Superior and Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing USA. One uses Citrix XenDesktop and the other VMware Horizon for workspace connectivity. But both attribute much of their VDI success to Unidesk, which they use to manage and deliver all of their Windows apps.
For those who thought that manufacturing wasn't a good fit for VDI due to the many graphics-intensive apps that are required, the success of Dayton Superior and Kawasaki Motors prove otherwise. The introduction of graphics offload cards, protocol accelerators, and WAN optimizers for datacenter VDI environments gives employees the option to work remotely for the first time. They can now access 2D and 3D CAD models and assemblies from any remote device on or off premises, the same as if they were using a local workstation.
The other big challenge - how to deliver, patch, update, and roll back these complex apps - is handled by Unidesk. Our industry-leading app layering technology makes SolidWorks, AutoCAD, ArcGIS, and other big, gnarly apps easy to manage. Package them once with a normal install, and they can be delivered to hundreds or thousands of virtual machines without ever having to install them again.
The result? Dayton Superior's Jarod Whitaker and KMM's Paul Kramer shared the benefits they're seeing in the Windows IT Pro story.
Before implementing a VDI system last year, Jared Whitaker studied his options closely, knowing that few unified technologies would be up to the task of providing IT to an operation as complex as Dayton Superior. The Miamisburg, Ohio-based company manages a network of 13 manufacturing sites, operates across four continents, and maintains distribution centers in more than a dozen cities.
Since installing VDI nearly a year-and-a-half ago, Whitaker says, cost savings and process improvements are evident. Today, all of Dayton’s production and sales staff are using virtual desktops. The system has enabled users to cut down their typical login types from minutes to seconds, compared to the previous system. More staffers are also able to work from home when necessary, helping ensure deadlines get met and giving workers greater scheduling flexibility.
Kawasaki opened its Lincoln, Nebraska plant in the 1970s, as one of the first foreign vehicle manufacturers to build a facility in the United States. Over subsequent years, the Japan-based company expanded its Nebraskan operations. Today, the operation churns out of Jet Skis, all-terrain vehicles, sport bikes and other rugged craft from a facility of multiple buildings measuring more than a third of a mile.
Paul Kramer, IS Manager at Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. USA (KMM), says mobility was a key driver of the company’s decision to adopt VDI. Lincoln employees wanted to be able to access crucial desktop applications that require graphics without making a long trek back to their workstations. Today, the VDI system serves more than 400 desktops, and packages more than 100 applications, ranging from basic office apps to CAD tools. The system is saving time for IT staff as well. While in the past team members had to walk across the plant to troubleshoot and fix desktop problems or update software, such work can now be done from a centralized location.