Galaxy Entertainment Group is a gaming industry leader in Macau, China. As the company expanded its client computing infrastructure to accommodate explosive growth, it decided to upgrade all its PCs to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system. Now, Galaxy Entertainment Group has a more stable platform for future growth. In addition, the company saved U.S.$195,000 in hardware costs by extending the life of 400 aging computers. Business Needs
Galaxy Entertainment Group is a premier developer and operator of entertainment and resort facilities in Asia. In 2002, Galaxy Casino, a wholly owned subsidiary of Galaxy Entertainment Group, received a gaming concession from the Government of the Macau Special Administrative Region of China authorizing the company to offer casino games of chance. In 2004, the company opened its first City Club casino in Macau, which achieved instant success. Galaxy Entertainment Group continued to build upon that success by opening three more City Clubs casinos and its flagship StarWorld Hotel and Casino.
In 2008, Galaxy Entertainment Group had more than 3,000 employees and a vision to become a much larger organization. By May 2011, the company had more than 10,000 employees after hiring another 7,600 employees for its new integrated destination resort —Galaxy Macau—and expects further expansion in the fast-paced entertainment and resort industry.
At the beginning of 2010, Galaxy Entertainment Group had 1,500 client computers running the Windows XP operating system. The company knew that it was going to be purchasing many more computers, so it decided to upgrade its operating system at that time, as well. At the same time, the company wanted to take full advantage of its Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for software licenses, which helps it reduce licensing costs and minimizes ad hoc budget requests throughout the year.
“We wanted an updated operating system that we could use across our entire organization,” says Ian Farnsworth, Director of Information Systems and Technology at Galaxy Entertainment Group. “When you’re expecting explosive growth and making significant investments in IT to support that growth, it makes sense to build an infrastructure on the most up-to-date technologies.” However, the company wanted to make the most of its existing client computers and did not want to replace every computer immediately; therefore, it needed an operating system that could run on computers not yet scheduled to be replaced. Solution
Galaxy Entertainment Group decided to upgrade to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system. In April 2010, it began a pilot project, deploying the operating system in a lab environment where it tested hardware and software compatibility. The company used the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit to identify which of its applications were compatible and which might need remediation.
||We spent $10,250 on hardware upgrades. If we had replaced those computers, which were up to five years old in some cases, it would have cost $205,000—that’s a 95 percent short-term savings.
Assistant Vice President of Customer Services, Information System and Technology, Galaxy Entertainment Group
Next, Galaxy Entertainment Group worked with Microsoft Services to find workarounds for 20 business applications that were not compatible. For instance, the company was able to use Windows XP Mode to run its point-of-sale software application from the Windows 7 desktop while it waited for a compatibility update from the software vendor. “Microsoft Services was invaluable to the project,” says Farnsworth. “It is as much the people involved in the project as it is the technology, so we attribute some of our success to Microsoft Services.”
Most of the existing hardware that Galaxy Entertainment Group used was already compatible with Windows 7 Enterprise. However, four hundred computers were approximately four or five years old, so the company added one or two gigabytes of RAM to each of those to accommodate the updated operating system.
Once Galaxy Entertainment Group finished its pilot project, it created a standard image with Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows Internet Explorer 8, and Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007. It configured the image with power management settings, such as one that shuts off display monitors during periods of inactivity. In June 2010, the company deployed the operating system to all 1,500 of its computers by using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, which helped automate the process. By May 2011, the company had 3,900 computers, all running Windows 7 Enterprise. Benefits
As a result of upgrading to Windows 7 Enterprise, Galaxy Entertainment Group has a standard operating system that will ensure its infrastructure is ready for continued growth. The company also extended the life of its computers, for a savings of U.S.$195,000 in upgrade costs, and reduced its power consumption.
Standard Platform for Future Growth
With Windows 7 Enterprise, Galaxy Entertainment Group has a modern operating system that it can use across its entire environment. “Our primary goal was to have a standard platform that would ready our IT infrastructure for future growth,” explains Farnsworth. “We can use Windows 7 not only with our new computers, but also with our existing fleet. Now, we have a stable, compatible, standard operating system.”
Reduced Costs by Extending PC Life
Because Windows 7 has a small footprint, Galaxy Entertainment Group was able to extend the life of 400 of its aging computers, saving almost $195,000 in upgrade costs. “We spent $10,250 on hardware upgrades,” explains Ken Vong, Assistant Vice President of Customer Services at Galaxy Entertainment Group. “If we had replaced those computers, which were up to five years old in some cases, it would have cost $205,000—that’s a 95 percent short-term savings.”
Reduced Power Consumption
Galaxy Entertainment Group reduced power consumption for its client computers by taking advantage of built-in platform and processor efficiencies in Windows 7, and by configuring power management features. “We want to do whatever we can to save energy, so we configured settings to be as economical as possible by default,” explains Farnsworth. “That means monitors shut down, and computers enter a sleep state after periods of inactivity. Even this simple change means that IT is doing its part to contribute to the company’s overall ‘green’ initiatives.”
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