Partnership for Families - a Virtual Computer NxTop user profile

I've spoken with the good folks of Virtual Computer on several ocassions (see Desktop virtualization according to Virtual Computer and Virtual Computer NxTop Beta). This time, I had the opportunity to speak with  John Cook, Systems Administrator at Partnership For Strong Families.

I've spoken with the good folks of Virtual Computer on several ocassions (see Desktop virtualization according to Virtual Computer and Virtual Computer NxTop Beta). This time, I had the opportunity to speak with  John Cook, Systems Administrator at Partnership For Strong Families. Thanks John for taking the time to chat!

Please tell us about your organization.

Partnership for Strong Families contracts with the state of Florida to provide services when the state has to step in to protect children. Examples would be when a child is removed from his or her home to provide a better living environment.  They handle home management, foster care, adoption support, training helping parents be better parents and the like.

The Partnership provides services in an area covering 13 counties in Florida.

John Cook is the systems administrator. He's been with the organization since day one back in 2003. The Partnership supports 250 people.

What are you doing that needed this technology?

The Partnership started by looking into the need for encryption.  I was informed that they must be HIPPA compliant.  They needed the ability to deliver software to staff and partners without having to actually visit each and every desktop or laptop system in use.

Updates and upgrades are also issues of concern.  The Partnership needed a way to provide this capability without increasing staffing counts or costs.

What did you consider before making a selection?

The Partnership been using Windows update server for updates to the operating systems.  Updates to applications has been hit or miss.  The organization had been using imaging software from Acronis but it didn't have all of the needed capabilities.

The Partnership also tried several encryption products as well.

Why did you select this product?

Virtual Computer's NxTop had all of the needed capabilities in a single product and they hadn't found any other product offering all of the capabilities that NxTop does.

What tangible benefits can you attribute to use of this product?

NxTop is still in the testing stage so, the best thing to do is look at the expected benefits.  John pointed out that the ability to publish updates by groups or by individual requirements will help the Partnership a great deal. He also thought that the significant reduction in storage requirements will be important.

John thinks that the ability to store the user data in shares on  centrally located servers will make it much easier to manage backup procedures, offer increased levels of security and will certainly increase overall levels of reliability.

What advice would you offer others facing similar challenges?

John suggests taking time to do the "due dilligence."  There are many products out there and many promises will be made to sell a solution.  It is really important to find out if the promises are actually fulfilled by the products.