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Posted: 10/31/2012
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Eastman Chemical Company Manufacturer Reduces Application Delivery Time by 95 Percent with Virtualization

Eastman Chemical Company needs to ensure that employees always have access to key applications. By using Microsoft Application Virtualization to eliminate software installations, it reduced application delivery time from two months to two days and made applications available whenever and wherever employees need them. Eastman deployed desktop images about 20 percent faster and reduced image storage requirements in its Remote Desktop Services environment.

Business Needs
Eastman Chemical Company, a specialty chemicals manufacturer based in Kingsport, Tennessee, is known for innovative products. Its employees rely on a variety of applications to produce these solutions. However, issues with installed software made it hard to ensure that workers had the applications they needed.

It could take two months to go from application request to delivery. Because applications often conflicted, Eastman spent time testing each one for compatibility with other software before preparing it for distribution. Different versions of the same application could not run side-by-side without conflicting, so Eastman developers who wanted to compare version functionality had to either continually uninstall and reinstall the applications on their computer or request a second computer so that they could use two versions at the same time.

* With Virtual Application Extension, our virtual applications can easily interact with local system components and installed applications. *

Michael Spence
Senior Systems Associate, Eastman Chemical Company

Standard images often did not include the latest applications, which caused problems when the IT staff had to reimage computers. “Employees wouldn’t notice that an application was missing from the image until they had to use it. Then they’d call the help desk, which could take an hour to reinstall it,” says Sarah Bastian, Systems Analyst at Eastman Chemical Company.

Client-server applications did not run when upgrades were applied successfully to the server but not to the client device. When employees tried to open the application, it would not connect to the server.

Employee mobility was affected because applications were assigned to devices, not users. “It was frustrating to attend a meeting, log on to the conference room computer, and not have the applications we needed,” says Michael Spence, Senior Systems Associate at Eastman Chemical Company.

The company uses Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system to access applications over a network, but images in the RDS environment grew quite large. “Even when only a few workers used an application, we had to add it to the standard image. Those large images are harder to maintain and take longer to deploy,” says Spence.

In January 2010, Eastman Chemical Company decided to use Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) to virtualize applications so that they could run on computers without being installed and be assigned to users instead of devices. Eastman virtualized five applications and tested App-V 4.5 with a pilot group of about 100 employees before deploying it enterprisewide. “We were excited about using App-V to eliminate application conflicts and enable our applications to be mobile, like our employees,” says Spence.

Two years later, Eastman joined the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program for App-V 5.0. It wanted to use the Virtual Application Extension feature to enable non-virtualized and virtualized applications to communicate. It was also interested in the Shared Content Store feature, which streams applications to RDS and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) sessions on demand and points all images to a single cache, eliminating the need to store duplicate copies of virtual applications.

As of October 2012, Eastman used App-V 5.0 to virtualize 130 applications and deployed it in the RDS infrastructure. The company plans to deploy the product in its VDI environment and roll it out to about 13,000 employees by February 2013.

By using Microsoft Application Virtualization, Eastman Chemical Company can deliver applications faster, while ensuring that they are available when needed. It also decreased storage needs.

Reduced Application Delivery Time by More than 95 Percent
Because virtualized applications do not conflict with other applications, Eastman eliminated extensive compatibility testing. “We don’t worry that running one application will cause another to stop working. Instead of taking up to two months to test and deploy an installed application, we can deliver a virtualized application just two days after receiving the request,” says Craig Rogers, Supervisor of Operations and Infrastructure Service Groups at Eastman Chemical Company.

Different versions of the same application can run alongside one another without conflicting. This makes it easier to evaluate functionality. Eastman developers can compare features in old and newer versions on the same computer without uninstalling and reinstalling applications or requesting a second device.

Application delivery is user-centric. “We created a portal where workers can self-subscribe to virtual applications and get them on demand,” says Bastian.

Applications virtualized with App-V 5.0 act as if they were installed. “With Virtual Application Extension, our virtual applications can easily interact with local system components and installed applications, and allows for a more seamless integration between virtually and locally installed applications,” says Spence. It also made it possible to virtualize essential applications such as Microsoft Office.

Boosted Application Availability
Applications are readily available now that they are assigned to users and not embedded in images, and client and server versions of an application are always in sync. “There are no surprises due to applications that aren’t on employee computers after they are reimaged, or client-server applications that can’t launch. As soon as employees log on to the network, they get the latest versions of their applications, regardless of their location or device,” says Spence.

Eastman now deploys images 20 percent faster, in about two and a half hours instead of three hours.

Decreased Storage by About 10 Percent
Eastman uses about 552 gigabytes (GB) instead of 602 GB in its RDS environment. “With Shared Content Store in App-V 5.0, there’s no need to cache each package. We saved 50 GB in our RDS environment and expect to save 4 GB on each of 3,000 VDI images,” says Bastian.

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 14000 employees

Organization Profile

Eastman Chemical Company, based in Kingsport, Tennessee, produces chemicals, fibers, and plastics. It has about 13,500 employees and realized pro forma revenues of about US$9.3 billion in 2011.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization

Vertical Industries
  • Life Sciences, Chemicals; Oil & Gas, Mining
  • Manufacturing & Resources

United States