Amdocs

Amdocs: Custom Workspaces that IT and End Users Both Love

This global service provider to the media, communications, and entertainment industries is accelerating application delivery, reducing IT costs, and boosting productivity with Unidesk.

Amdocs

"The difference between VDI before Unidesk and VDI after Unidesk has been like night and day. We have virtual desktops that are easier to manage than PCs, and end users get the flexibility and personalization they’ve always wanted."

Henrik Frank
Lead Virtualization Architect, Amdocs

With more than 25,000 employees and customers spanning 90 countries, software giant Amdocs is one of the largest communications, media, and entertainment service providers in the world. Its extensive reach and global operations are a challenge for the Amdocs IT organization, who must deliver, manage, and support a wide variety of Windows workspaces and applications.

Henrik Frank is the Lead Virtualization Architect for Amdocs. His team implemented 1,200 virtual desktops to provide greater mobility, security, and availability for users in 4 different Amdocs regional offices. When application and image management quickly became a challenge, he turned to Unidesk to provide VMs that “both IT and end users can love.”

 

Video Case Study: Amdocs. Watch the Video

0:51 - Challenges Before Unidesk
1:38 - Today With Unidesk
2:25 - Managing App Diversity
3:26 - The Unidesk Difference
4:30 - A Partner in Your Success
5:03 - Transform Your Digital Workspace

VDI Initially No Better Than Physical PCs

Amdocs’ VDI environment was initially deployed without an application lifecycle management solution to complement its VMware Horizon desktop virtualization platform. At the time, these solutions were not prevalent. Henrik followed the same formula used by many early VDI adopters who needed to deliver personal virtual desktops customized with different applications: try to virtualize the apps, and when a large number of apps become too difficult or impossible to virtualize, install them directly into the Windows image.

Henrik’s team soon faced the usual raft of challenges:

  • The first 36 applications that were virtualized using VMware ThinApp. Each took between 4 hours and 4 days to package and deploy. Every application update required the same time and effort. 
  • A number of applications could not be virtualized, so they were built into Windows images. Henrik’s team found itself managing 9 different images before they had deployed their first 100 desktops.
  • Patch Tuesdays became a dreaded thing of horror for the VDI team. Explains Henrik, “Patch Tuesday could more accurately be called Patch Weekend because that’s how long it took.”
  • There was limited personalization in the VDI environment. Says Henrik, “After every re-compose, users would complain that their VM was no longer their VM. All of their preferences, settings, data, and plug-ins were gone. They were frustrated, and so were we.”
  • It was incredibly cumbersome and time-consuming to add software. Adds Henrik, “We had to pad our estimates for when we could deliver new applications. Virtualizing apps was just so difficult. We would try to deliver new apps in weeks, but often it took months.”
  • There was no restoration mechanism for software conflicts, problematic patches, or personalization issues. Says Henrik, “Every month, each VM had to be completely rebuilt, which really impacted our productivity in IT and our users’ productivity.”

With user and IT frustration at an all-time high, Henrik even included himself as a “VM hater”.

Unidesk Makes Everyone VM Lovers

Henrik knew that Amdocs couldn’t be the only enterprise with these challenges. He and his team evaluated a number of solutions, including Liquidware Labs FlexApp, VMware Mirage, and VMware App Volumes (Cloud Volumes at the time) before deciding that Unidesk was the best fit for Amdocs’ needs.

His positive impression of Unidesk started when he downloaded the trial and

began his relationship with the Unidesk Customer Support team.

He marvels, “Support was instant and helpful, before we even paid them a dollar. The company is an absolute joy to work with. They know you, they help you, they care about you. Their support is support the way you’d always hoped it would be. They even fix problems that have nothing to do with Unidesk.”

As great as his experience with Unidesk support was, it was the software that truly won Henrik over.

He explains, “The biggest reason we chose Unidesk over the other solutions is that it can package and deliver all of our apps. We have not found anything we cannot virtualize with Unidesk. You layer any piece of software you want, and the process is as simple as a normal install. It’s really that easy. It still baffles me every time we do it how easy it is. Plus it’s the only solution that manages Windows, too, so it also solves our image management problem.”

After fully deploying Unidesk, Henrik, his VDI administrative team, and the VDI users they serve all became VM lovers.

Comments Henrik, “The difference between VDI before Unidesk and VDI after Unidesk has been like night and day. We have virtual desktops that are easier to manage than PCs, and end users get the flexibility and personalization they’ve always wanted.”

Measurable Business Impact

Since Unidesk has been deployed, Henrik has observed quantifiable improvements in application management efficiency and service delivery. To start with, Patch Tuesday is finally contained to Tuesday.

Explains Henrik, “With Unidesk, what used to take several people a whole weekend now takes a single person just an hour Image sprawl has truly become a thing of the past. We don’t have seven or five or even two images - we have just 1 OS layer. We don’t create that extra image because Bob in accounting needs a special application.”

Amdocs users also have significantly more options for personalization, which translates into increased productivity.

Henrik explains, “We don’t have to choose between a locked-down environment and customization. We can deliver both. IT can layer any app our users want and manage them once centrally, yet every user gets their own unique apps and personalization. It’s like having the same flexibility you have with a physical PC, but with all of the benefits of virtualization.”

Henrik and his team also have enthusiastically embraced the easy-rollback features Unidesk offers, dubbing it the “Magic Button”. Problematic patches and updates can now be simply rolled back to a previous version to that worked to avoid costly downtime.

Henrik elaborates, “When a user calls the helpdesk, 95% of the issues can be fixed with one click of the Magic Button. The helpdesk can roll your VM back to the point before the issue occurred, without losing any data. Before, the call would sometimes take over an hour of troubleshooting, and sometimes would require completely wiping out a VM and rebuilding it. That could take up to a week. It’s now a five-minute call.”

With the Amdocs helpdesk now having the “Magic Button,” Tier 2 and Tier 3 IT staff now have much more time to delve into more strategic initiatives.

To the Cloud and Beyond

VDI at Amdocs is now regarded as a success for both IT and end-users. VMware Horizon has been expanded to more users and use cases, enabling Amdocs to realize a greater return on its VMware investment.

Henrik and his team are now thinking about how to leverage the cloud for infrastructure-free application delivery. With Amdocs apps packaged as Unidesk layers, migrating to the cloud will be instantaneous, given Unidesk’s ability to deliver the same apps to any hypervisor or cloud without re-packaging.

Says Henrik, “Unidesk will change your life if you’re managing VDI. Unidesk is one of those rare companies where I looked at the marketing material and thought it was too good to be true, because it always is when you see products that seem really great. But in their case, it delivered even more than I expected.”

Deployment Details

  • Application Management
    Unidesk
  • Server
    HP
  • Storage
    NetApp
  • EUC Platform
    VMware Horizon
  • Users
    24000
  • Application Layers
    90

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