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Severn Trent Turns To IGEL OS For An Easy To Manage And Secure End-user Computing Solution

Severn Trent Turns To IGEL OS For An Easy To Manage And Secure End-user Computing Solution

IGEL, provider of the next gen edge OS for cloud workspaces, announces that Severn Trent has implemented IGEL OS to manage and secure an estate of 6,000 desktop devices spread over 110 locations, support the business with its cloud migration strategy and adoption of Microsoft Office 365.

Severn Trent is a FTSE100 company employing around 7,000 staff. It provides clean water and wastewater services to more than 4.6 million households and businesses in the Midlands and Wales, as well as developing renewal energy solutions such as anaerobic digestion, hydropower, solar and wind turbines. It supplies 2 billion litres of clean water every day – that’s over 83 million litres every hour – whilst treating 3.1 billion litres of wastewater.

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The company first implemented thin client computing in 2010 when it moved into a custom-built head office in the centre of Coventry. The technology was installed to lower desktop power consumption and boost energy efficiency thereby eliminating the need for air conditioning throughout the building.

Mark Challis, Severn Trent’s technical specialist for end-user computing (EUC), explains, “Running our legacy thin client environment over the years has been incredibly difficult verging on the impossible. The management software has been hard to use such that we couldn’t easily update or patch the 6,000 endpoints we have across the business. Device security had become a major issue, too.”

In addition, the incumbent hardware couldn’t support Severn Trent’s cloud migration journey. The business operates two UK-based data centres – one in Solihull, the other in Wokingham. The adoption of cloud services wholesale across the company has been driven by the need to vacate the Solihull site – the building lease was due to expire – rather than incur the huge cost of investing again in a physical location.

Working closely with Microsoft and Cognizant, all compute and storage platforms have been migrated to Microsoft Azure, with Office 365 now adopted across the business.

In tandem, Severn Trent has shifted end-user computing from an on-premise Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment to a Citrix Cloud service hosted on the new Microsoft Azure platform.

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Challis adds, “The legacy thin client terminals had an old version of Internet Explorer ‘baked’ into the firmware which doesn’t work with the version of Citrix Storefront we use for our VDA connections. This meant we couldn’t move forward with our Citrix estate upgrade, so it was absolutely crucial to change the endpoints as well as deploy a solution to enhance management.”

Challis continues, “In terms of selecting a new partner, our enterprise architect has a good relationship with Microsoft who recommended we speak to IGEL given they are dynamic vendor and are ahead of the curve when it comes to EUC digital workspaces.”

Severn Trent has purchased 6,000 IGEL OS licenses along with IGEL’s management software, the Universal Management Suite (UMS), to seamlessly manage the whole environment. This enables the EUC team to create profiles and distribute them quickly to each endpoint device. Challis explains, “The IGEL OS is lightweight at 1 GB. We can push a whole image out in minutes and have full visibility of each endpoint in real-time. It’s the speed we can update each endpoint which is impressive, along with the usability of UMS. This is of paramount importance given the number of locations we have.”

In addition, IGEL OS is fully optimized to work flawlessly with Office 365 including modern communications software like Teams. The previous solution could not.

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Endpoint hardware updated with IGEL OS installed
As part of the project, the decision was made to update endpoint hardware and install IGEL OS on this. Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One (TIO) 24-inch monitors have been purchased which enable a ThinkCentre M625 thin client terminal to be docked within it. It is a neat and elegant solution requiring only one power socket – not multiple messy cables – and means ugly monitor arms can be avoided for each desktop. The TIO monitors come with a 1080p webcam and built-in speaker bar for video communications.

The business is currently in the implementation process. Around 2,400 devices have been installed at the Coventry HQ, chairman’s office in London and Severn Trent’s main call centre in Derby. Over time, the roll out will cover all 110 locations to include water treatment and sewage works, two other call centres and a disaster recovery site. Here existing thin client hardware will be converted using the IGEL OS rather than new equipment being bought. The business is also looking at how it can utilise IGEL’s UD Pocket to provide third party contractors secure access to its systems.

Simon Townsend, IGEL’s chief marketing officer says, “The use of VDI and IGEL OS in a company like Severn Trent is ideal where you have thousands of employees across many sites. Staff can work from home, on location or in the office as they like. And the management of these geographically disperse endpoints is made far easier. This reduces costs and boosts efficiency which is key given Severn Trent is Ofwat regulated and Asset Management Plans and spending are scrutinized heavily.”

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