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How VMware Cloud Transformed Client’s VDI Strategy Amid Covid-19

Mere weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, business across the globe found themselves scrambling to adapt to an entirely different work environment — one in which nearly everyone worked remotely.

With most offices closed, many organizations faced the enormous task of equipping workers for a new work-from-home paradigm. They needed to do so as quickly as possible, with no real advanced warning.

Seemingly overnight, virtual meeting platforms saw enormous increases in adoption. The staggering scale of the changes are clear to see in some of the figures cited by technology news source, the Verge, in an April 2020 article:

  • Zoom meetings grew from 10M per day in December 2019 to 300M by April 2020
  • Microsoft Teams had a 70% jump in daily active users up to 75M
  • Google added 3M new users each day and hit over 100M daily meeting participants

AHEAD is witnessing Cloud and VDI demand shooting through the roof and often in tandem.

I’d like to focus on a success story of a AHEAD client in the insurance industry that leveraged both to quickly react to the needs of their WFH employees during the onset of the pandemic.

Refresh for Aging VDI Environment Becomes Top Priority

Let’s rewind to March 2020. AHEAD had been working with a Fortune 500 firm on a refresh for their aging Horizon VDI environment and had architected a 14-node VxRail cluster that would leverage their existing VMware Horizon perpetual licenses.

Meanwhile, everyone was carefully monitoring the global health situation as the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and many nations, including much of the United States, shutdown their economies and closed public spaces like shops and offices.

As you would expect, VDI became an even higher priority for the client, as leadership enforced a work-from-home policy that required, among many other challenges, the need for remote desktop access to keep processing insurance claims and the on-boarding of new customers.

What was supposed to be a typical hardware/software refresh of 4-6 months suddenly required immediate action and results. Understanding the situation, the engineering teams at AHEAD and our partners quickly pivoted and architected a solution that met the clients needs including:

  • Fastest Time To Value (TTV) and onboarding of VDI workloads into new infrastructure
  • On-demand scalability from 700 to 1300 users
  • Only pay if they burst and for what they use
  • Low disruption for users

Pandemic Drives Need for Accelerated Timeline

While the 14-node VxRail solution met many of their requirements, waiting months for new infrastructure to land on-prem, be installed, and configured was unacceptable. The demand was to have a TTV of weeks, not months. Because of this, and despite the cloud solution being more expensive, the best option was a 16-node VMware Cloud on AWS cluster, leveraging 1 year Reserved Instances (RI) with on-demand node expansion.

The client also needed a conversion of their existing perpetual licenses for VMware Horizon to Horizon Universal Licenses that can be used on Azure, IBM Cloud, VMC on AWS, Google Cloud VMware Engine, or on-premises.

Hybrid Cloud Solution Helps IT Meet Business Objectives

In the end, AHEAD, VMware, and Dell Technologies were able to stand up the new VMC on AWS and Horizon Universal environments in less than one month which enabled them to support their WFH employees, their customers, and continue to focus on responding the the demands that continued to impact the world around us.

Ready for a conversation about how cloud solutions can help your organization accelerate key initiatives and support the business? Contact AHEAD to learn more.

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