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Agency Implements Zero Client VDI, Improving Productivity and Enhancing Functionality

TechSource Editor

As many of our readers know, TechSource is debuting a new awards program this year, with a focus on innovation in IT. The TechSource Awards seek to highlight innovative uses of technologies that help drive an organization’s mission forward by increasing efficiencies. While winners will be officially announced at the start of the New Year, along the way we are highlighting projects and organizations that are pushing the envelope in terms of innovation. One of these innovative organizations is U.S. Army / Corpus Christie Army Deport (CCAD).

Situation: CCAD’s existing virtual desktop environment was inefficient and unreliable. The existing thin client environment was unstable, resulting in employees frequently needing to reboot their machines which resulted in a loss of approximately 2.5 hours of productivity per day. Additionally, employees had to use multiple logins to access the system, and the system did not allow access to audio or video content.

Solution: CCAD replaced its existing thin client environment with a virtual desktop environment utilizing zero clients. The project utilized the guiding principles of the Army’s Virtual End User Environment (VEUE) Computing Requirements and Thin/Zero Client Computing (TCC) Reference Architecture to design a new virtual desktop environment and replace 2,200 thin clients across the CCAD. This environment gives the CCAD employees access to virtualized desktops and applications from one single platform. It also eliminated issues with the CCAD zero client implementation which required them to take a large chance and move ahead of the rest of the U.S. Army in both the size of the implementation and the technology involved.

Results: The zero client initiative at the CCAD positively impacted the organization’s ability to accomplish its mission effectively and efficiently. The initiative has drastically increased productivity by eliminating redundant and unnecessary steps. Users now only need to log in once and no longer experience the issues that required frequent reboots. The implementation has also eliminated Common Access Card (CAC) issues, effectively expediting the log-in process and making it faster and easier for CCAD employees to access their desktops and requisite applications.

In addition to the increases in productivity, the implementation is also delivering new capabilities to CCAD employees. Utilizing the previous thin client environment, employees could not access audio or video. The new zero client and virtual desktop environment enables employees to play depot videos and access news programs – keeping them better connected with the organization and its major developments. The implementation has also delivered other efficiencies to the CCAD. The new virtual desktop environment has standardized the end-user computing experience and back-end infrastructure management, leading to better accessibility, device flexibility and security. The ability to troubleshoot and maintain zero clients remotely also expedites support and makes technicians more effective by eliminating the need to travel to each workstation to deliver support.

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