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Digital Workspace End-User Computing

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Enablement for a Global Financial Services Client

VDI Disaster Recovery Enhancements Assessment for Global Financial Services Client

In This Case Study

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Background

World Wide Technology was commissioned to perform an independent study for a Global Bank; to analyse the Disaster Recovery capability of their VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) Platform, providing recommendations across tactical, strategic and future transformation. 

This case study highlights how WWT was able to provide our customer with immediate operational benefits and efficiencies, enabling savings after just 3 months, of c. $7.5M within a single market alone, upon implementation of WWT's tactical recommendations. Equally WWT's strategic direction and planning recommendations for the future transformation of the Bank's VDI Platform, will lead to an enhanced user experience whilst further reducing operational overheads.

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Benefits

The assessment provided the Bank with the data and underlying evidence required to make critical tactical and strategic decisions in support of their business. The Bank was able to plan full alignment of the IT Disaster Recovery offerings to actual Business Continuity Plans which would realise benefits such as:

  • Decommissioning 24k VDI DR seats, freeing up $7.5M of infrastructure which could be used for business growth, VDI migration targets and be repurposed for alternative solutions such as session based Application hosting.
  • Through virtual machine resizing and optimisation, 25% vCPU could be reclaimed, leading to a substantial drop in infrastructure utilisation and with it a reduced risk of disaster recovery events due to server failure. Reducing the infrastructure load also provided improved end user experience, productivity and stability.

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What is VDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology hosts the desktop environment on a central server. A form of desktop virtualisation, the specific desktop images run within on-premises or cloud data centre virtual machines (VMs) and are delivered to end clients over a corporate network and/or Internet connection, thus providing enhanced security of the Bank's IP; a critical feature.

VDI users can connect their virtual desktop from any location or device, making it easy for employees to access all their files and applications and work remotely from anywhere. From a user experience perspective, VDI users can access the desktops and applications as if they were running on their local PC.

Virtual desktops are controlled through management software, with VDI’s centralised management enabling IT to patch, update, configure and monitor virtual desktops far more efficiently than in a legacy physical laptop distributed model.

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Challenge

Remaining competitive in the digital era requires your business to maintain its connection with your customers 24 x 7 x 365. While this requirement is often associated with banking, where downtime related to outages leads directly to lost confidence, every industry ultimately faces the same challenge and impact in the event of outage. This impact might be felt on fronts including your business’s brand, reputation, profitability, revenue and future opportunities.

The Bank had responded swiftly to the Global Coronavirus Pandemic over the previous 12 months. VDI usage had grown rapidly and significantly to support home working needs. Whilst the VDI solution was servicing their users, there were concerns regarding the ability to sustain user growth while maintaining the disaster recovery policy which provided all users with a secondary VDI machine. 

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Objectives of the engagement

Increase the resilience of the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) platform. To ensure Business Continuity for consumers of the Banking VDI solution, identify existing Disaster Recovery capabilities which would benefit from increased automation, cost efficiency and alignment to business requirements. 

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WWT approach

To provide greater understanding of the Bank's business requirements and technology offering, a comprehensive interview process was conducted across the globe including key Business stakeholders and representatives from Business Continuity & Incident Management teams. Technology designs were reviewed, Operational processes evaluated, Business Continuity Plans analysed and historical IT DR tests were assessed.

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WWT findings

While Disaster Recovery at the Infrastructure layers were found to be mature and aligned to industry best practices, the IT strategy to provide all users with dedicated secondary VDI machines was impacting the ability to meet BAU user growth in all global regions due to the dedicated capacity needed for DR. 

To add to this, WWT found with the infrastructure capacity levels, any additional load from the secondary VDI machines during a DR event would likely find the secondary VDI DR machines unusable, and more concerning would likely cause a domino effect by introducing an additional DR event in the fallback data centre. 

Capacity was significantly impacted by vCPU overprovisioning and the dedicated/ stateful VDI design.

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WWT recommendations

Tactical 

Working closely with the Bank's Business Continuity teams, WWT was able to define a VDI user service level  matrix,  based upon Recovery Time Objective (RTO) & Recovery Point Objective (RPO) key metrics to identify:

  • Gold standard users who required a dedicated secondary VDI machine immediately available.
  • Silver standard users who would be best served by session-based application hosting for specific LoB apps.
  • Bronze standard users who would continue to be productive using Microsoft 365 Suite and Zoom SaaS offerings.

Strategic

Detailed roadmap recommendations were provided to achieve the Next Generation VDI Platform which included App, Data, User Personalisation strategy aligned to business requirements. This included options for Cloud burst opportunities to be invoked during DR events.  

Futures

Following the successful conclusion of the VDI Disaster Recovery Enhancements Assessment and Recommendations Paper, WWT has been commissioned to partner with the bank to support the Transformation of their VDI Platform. 

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Conclusion

If you are seeking to reduce the cost of your VDI solution, whilst improving productivity, the end user experience and resilience, reach out to our practice, we would welcome a discussion to understand how we can support you to deliver transformation to your IT Service or end user environment.