AboutRoyal Dutch Kentalis
Royal Dutch Kentalis offers services for children and adults who are deaf, deaf and blind, or suffer from serious hearing loss. When Kentalis staff members started having performance issues with their private cloud, they turned to Novell partner Immidio.
Maik Berkelmans, project manager and architect at Kentalis, explained the problem. “It was taking a very long time—sometimes as long as 10 minutes—to log on properly to the private cloud,” he said. “These delays caused productivity losses and irritation for the staff.”
“Roaming” profiles of the users implemented the appropriate application settings every time a user logged on, whatever the device or location. However, rapidly-expanding user profiles were creating slower and slower log-ons.
“Profiles that started at 10 to 20 MB grew by leaps and bounds—up to 500 MB or 1 GB—because large documents, Java applications with a big cache, or videos were put on the desktop,” Berkelmans said. “What was missing was greater control over user profiles.” Further complicating the situation were students connecting to the Kentalis network to access educational applications and installing “everything they wanted” at their workplaces.
Immidio specialises in solving challenges with virtualization technologies in Microsoft Windows environments. They recommended Novell ZENworks Configuration Manager and Immidio Flex+ User Environment Management to Kentalis.
Novell ZENworks Configuration Manager is a comprehensive workplace solution that can make a computer ready for use within an hour on the basis of an image. It provides only the specific applications required for a workplace or for a specific employee.
“Immidio Flex+ is a perfect supplement to ZENworks Configuration Manager,” said Peter Hermeling of Immidio. “It disconnects the user-specific desktop and application settings from the Windows operating system, so the profile can be used for different devices, Windows versions and application instances.”
Novell ZENworks Configuration Manager makes the applications in the Kentalis private cloud available to thousands of authorised users throughout the Netherlands. With many specific applications for education and healthcare, ZENworks provides a consistent interface that improves staff efficiency. Policy-based management also discourages user-installed content at the workplace. If the IT administrator needs more than 15 minutes to get a computer up and running again, ZENworks immediately sets up a new image with the appropriate business applications, removing anything personal that the user installed.
The combination of ZENworks and Immidio Flex+ has slashed log-on times for Kentalis. “It now takes just a few seconds to log on instead of minutes,” says Berkelmans. “Now we have more control of what people do with their profiles. Immidio has a very smart approach to this problem, because it loads only what the user needs at that moment. For example, if the user needs Office in an hour’s time, that’s when the relevant profile information is loaded.” And, if a profile is damaged, only the settings for the affected application need to be replaced, saving administration time. Remote control is another ZENworks benefit.
“Because Kentalis uses so many different applications, we use remote control as much as possible. That way, we can centralise all the application knowledge,” he explains. ZENworks enables application virtualization while minimising its footprint. “When the user logs off, nothing is left on the computer. For us, it is a very flexible solution that allows us to easily roll out not only the current applications, but new applications as well,” he says.
Kentalis plans to roll out the next version of Microsoft Office, Windows 7 and eventually Windows 8 in the near future. “Meanwhile,” Berkelmans says, “we will continue to use Immidio Flex+ and Novell ZENworks because they give us much more control of user profiles than Microsoft can offer.”