Bentleys Australia Leaps from Server to Desktop Virtualization
Cost-effective, high performance,
power-efficient server and storage
platform for VDI.
The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform
- 88% more space efficient than traditional servers and SAN
- Power and cooling efficient
- Fits within budget, lower TCO
- Preloaded with VMware vCenter
- High performance for VDI
Bentleys is an association of independent, full-service accounting firms in Australia. Bentleys Queensland has a staff of about 160 professionals focused on rural small and midsize businesses and government clients.
From Server to Desktop Virtualization
Bentleys Queensland had virtualized its fleet of servers in 2010 and wanted to go one step further by virtualizing desktops. At the time, the staff was using a fleet of aging desktops and laptops running Windows XP that were perceived as too slow for the latest 64-bit applications, especially compared to the newest laptops many people had at home. Updating and replacing physical desktops was onerous and time-consuming for the firm’s two IT administrators. It took considerable time to create a new image with applications for a physical desktop, while VDI allowed standardized images to be pushed to new clients, including mobile devices in considerably less time. “We could see that virtualizing desktops would give us a great deal of improved time management for managing desktops,” said Garry Patmore, Network Administrator for Bentleys Queensland.
I’m as happy as a clam since we deployed the Nutanix converged infrastructure. It has made things so much less complicated for us.
Nutanix Aces the Cost Analysis
As one would expect for an accounting firm, Bentleys studied cost and return on investment for VDI thoroughly. The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform significantly reduced the cost of moving to VDI. Initially Bentleys considered adding more hard drives to their existing EMC SAN storage, but performance was inadequate. They also looked at the new flash based storage, but Nutanix’s compact footprint, power and cooling efficiency and pricing drew them to the Virtual Computing Platform. Nutanix could deliver a server and storage platform with ample VDI performance in only 2U of rack space, compared to 16U for traditional servers and SAN – an 88% reduction. Power and cooling were similarly less. “This was just monumentally significant,” added Patmore, as they were pushing up against the power and cooling limits of their datacenter. Lower energy consumption significantly reduced operating costs and total cost of ownership.
The fact that Nutanix partners with VMware and preloads vCenter on its platform would ease the learning curve for Bentleys’ IT staff, because they were already familiar with VMware. The Nutanix pricing also fit within the project budget, an important point for the firm’s directors. The initial investment in server, storage and software infrastructure for VDI based on VMware Horizon View was about the same as buying new physical desktops.
“The big selling point was improving our computer services division’s ability to speed and simplify day-to-day administration including moving users from one machine to another in case their machine has an issue,” said Patmore.
The big selling point was improving our computer services division’s ability to speed and simplify day-to-day administration including moving users from one machine to another in case their machine has an issue.
Pilot Roll Out
Bentleys deployed a 3-node Nutanix cluster with VMware Horzion View. Applications accessed from user desktops include Microsoft Office, MS Exchange, Advanced Professional Solutions (practice management accounting packages such as Quicken, Agrimaster, Phoenix and Arrow.
The project is currently in the pilot phase with users running Windows 7 virtual desktops. The Nutanix platform is providing high levels of performance and delivering as specified. Eventually all of the users will migrate to VDI on the Nutanix platform.
Easier Desktop Management
Desktop management is much easier with VDI. “We can do all updates and patches online rather than having to spend all weekend here running updates on individual desktops,” said Patmore. “We can do scheduled or real time updates whenever they are required and this makes everyone’s life so much easier.”
Now users can access their desktop applications and data from any location and from any device. This simplifies work from remote locations, which is often the case in this business. When performing audits at client sites, previously accountants had to use a Citrix remote access platform, put their audit management software in offline mode and check out the data file. They also had to set up a switch onsite and connect it to the Internet. “It was a nightmare for them technically,” said Patmore. “Now the View desktop allows them to operate in the network environment. It has improved their experience greatly and has also eliminated errors and data loss associated
with the previous methods.”
Taking out 24U of disk, controllers and hosts and replacing it with a 2U block is a no-brainer. So many I know around Brisbane have looked at Nutanix in recent months and have said, Converged infrastructure is a giant leap forward in datacenter architecture.
Converged Infrastructure is a Giant Leap Forward
“I’m as happy as a clam since we deployed the Nutanix converged infrastructure. It has made things so much less complicated for us, ”said Patmore. When the time comes to upgrade their remaining servers and SAN infrastructure, Bentleys may replace the traditional infrastructure with Nutanix. “Taking out 24U of disk, controllers and hosts and replacing it with a 2U block is a no-brainer,” he said. “So many I know around Brisbane have looked at Nutanix in recent months and have said, ‘Converged infrastructure is a giant leap forward in datacenter architecture.’”