I find that speaking with actual users of a product or a technology brings out a different view of a company and its products. This time, I had a chance to communicate with a user of RingCube's vDesk (see RingCube vDesk for more information about vDesk.) Here's a summary of what he had to say:
Please introduce your organization and your role there
The company is a publicly traded integrated financial solutions provider that delivers solutions to help financial service institutions, insurers, health benefit administrators and employers that manage and profit from information. Jeff B. is AVP of delivery systems at the company responsible for leading the efforts to provide IT support to employees within the company’s financial services group.
What are you doing that needed this type of technology?
As the company began exploring ways of making their internal workforce more mobile while controlling spending and maintenance costs for the company’s standard Windows desktop environment, Jeff and his team began running into challenges with many of the available desktop virtualization solutions including VDI, which were way out of the company’s budgeted price range. Jeff ultimately wanted the ability to support remote workers, who in some instances wanted to use their personal PCs for work, and security measures that could lock down the system while connecting to the data center was a must. In addition, he wanted the ability to troubleshoot and reduce the time it was taking employees’ computing systems to get up and running after a hardware failure.
What products did you consider before making a selection?
Jeff didn't want to name names here. However, he indicated that he had evaluated some of the popular desktop virtualization VDI solutions but found them cost prohibitive and lacking in mobility options.
Too bad. It would have been good to be able to understand the playing field.
Why did you select this product?
Jeff conducted a test pilot of RingCube vDesk and had select test base to use the product full time, putting vDesk through all the rigors including testing all the applications the company uses on a daily basis with the requirement that if vDesk failed on even one application, the company would not deploy it. According to Jeff, vDesk was able to run 100 percent of the company’s applications as if being operated off of a full client.
What tangible benefits have you gotten through the use of this product?
According to Jeff, vDesk has provided the company with the following benefits:
- A high level of security to lock down systems and has given the employees the flexibility they want while reducing the headache of needing additional licenses.
- vDesk provided the company with a 4-to-1 ratio in terms of cost savings.
- vDesk has allowed Jeff to extend the life of existing hardware that is reaching end of life and end of warranty. Jeff says that he doesn’t want his team spending a lot of time on a three-year-old PC with a failing hard drive that is running out of warranty in six months. But with vDesk, he can just drop in an image, perform the Windows updates and within a 45 minutes the system is up and running like new again with all the customization and personalization the end users require.
- vDesk has enabled the company to have full control over the workspace and prevents employees from being able to print and save to a flash drive. It also allows Jeff and his team to lock down and secure the PC for workers who are working from their personal computers and connecting to the company’s data center, as well as enabling the team to apply a wide variety of policies including Microsoft GPO (Group Policy Object) enforcement and other registry changes. In the event that an employee is terminated or they lose their laptop, Jeff and his team can shut it down remotely.
- vDesk is also helping the company to keep hardware costs down to a flatline level. Jeff says that on average he trades in about 300 end-of-life PCs a year for upgraded systems. vDesk allows him to cut the number of trade ins by half and only trade in 150 PCs that cost on average $1,200 per unit, saving the company $180,000 per year.
What advice would you offer others facing similar issues?
If your organization is looking for immediate cost savings with minimal upfront hardware costs and reduced licensing fees, then vDesk might be the answer for you versus a more expensive VDI solution.
The desktop virtualization market, that is the combination of access virtualization, application virtualization and processing virtualization software necessary to offer virtualized access to desktop applications or, perhapse, a complete virtual client system, is hotly contested. Suppliers such as Citrix, Microsoft, Neocleus, Virtual Computer, VMware and many others are fielding solutions. RingCube faces big challenges in getting through all of the noise in the market.
That being said, when I've spoken to a RingCube user, I've heard good things.