2 page Case Study
Posted: 10/31/2012
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NTTX IT Firm Reduced Packaging from Two Months to 30 Minutes, Saved Money with Virtualization

NTTX, a managed services provider, spent too much time packaging applications for installation and had to charge more for its services than it wanted. By using Microsoft Application Virtualization and eliminating application conflicts, NTTX reduced sequencing time from two months to 30 minutes, saved US$172,000 annually in packaging costs, and boosted server utilization by 300 percent. NTTX customers now enjoy better services at compelling prices.

Business Needs
NTTX, a managed services provider based in the United Kingdom, attributes its success to providing customers with tailored IT resources, quickly and cost-effectively. However, the company used to charge more for its services and took longer to deliver applications due to problems that were inherent with traditionally installed applications.

Because applications often conflicted, specialists were required to test and work around the conflicts and package applications. This process was so time-consuming—sometimes taking two months before an application could be deployed—that the company had to charge customers on a time and materials basis to prepare applications for installation. “It was hard to sign on new customers due to these fees, but the time requirements were so intensive and unpredictable that we had no choice,” says Philip Moss, Managing Partner at NTTX.

Traditional, non-virtualized applications were assigned to computers rather than people, so customers whose employees shared desktops could access any software on the computer, even when they were not authorized to do so. These workers had to use the same version of each application, whether or not it best suited their jobs, because different versions couldn’t run on the same system without conflicting.

Customers who ran thin-client devices in a Terminal Services environment (now known as Remote Desktop Services) had the same issue. When different companies accessed the same server, they had to use the same application versions. “We were restricted in what we could offer customers because of conflicts,” says Moss. To accommodate customers who absolutely needed different versions, and to minimize conflicts, NTTX would add new servers. However, this resulted in most servers being only 20 percent utilized.

Solution
In March 2003, the service provider decided to virtualize its applications so that they could run on computers without being installed and be assigned to users instead of devices. The IT team tested the predecessor to Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) before Microsoft incorporated the product into the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. “We believed virtualization could eliminate application conflict problems,” says Moss. The IT staff sequenced a handful of applications and, two months later, deployed the solution in production and continued using it with great success.

After using App-V 4.5 for three years and virtualizing about 250 applications, NTTX joined the Technology Adoption Program for App-V 5.0 and deployed it in its lab. It took advantage of the Virtual Application Connection feature, which enables IT staff to package applications separately and connect them seamlessly when they need to interact. “Virtual Application Connection in App-V 5.0 is fantastic. It makes it easy to virtualize even the most complex software by creating ad-hoc sets of integrated virtual applications,” says Moss. NTTX used the Windows PowerShell command-line interface and scripting language to automate sequencing actions and the Virtual Application Extension feature to enable non-virtualized and virtualized applications to communicate.

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* Virtual Application Connection in App-V 5.0 is fantastic. It makes it easy to virtualize even the most complex software by creating ad-hoc sets of integrated virtual applications. *

Philip Moss
Managing Partner, NTTX

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By October 2012, NTTX virtualized 40 applications by using App-V 5.0. It plans to have about 180 applications virtualized with App-V 5.0 by December 2013.

Benefits
By using Microsoft Application Virtualization, NTTX vastly reduced application packaging time, saved money, and better utilized resources. It now offers better, more cost-effective services to customers.

Reduced Application Packaging from Two Months to 30 Minutes
When NTTX moved from installed to virtualized applications, it decreased the packaging process for complex applications from up to two months to about two weeks. Much of this was due to eliminating time spent addressing application conflict issues. By upgrading to App-V 5.0, NTTX further reduced packaging. “Thanks to Application Virtualization Connection, we can package complex applications in just 30 minutes, getting them to customers faster,” says Moss.

Saved $172,000 Annually, Boosted Server Utilization by 300 Percent
NTTX saved money by using App-V. Because any application—even different versions of the same software—can run alongside one another without conflicting, NTTX can run many more applications on each server. “By virtualizing applications instead of installing them, we increased server utilization from 20 percent to about 80 percent—a 300 percent increase. Instead of buying more servers to accommodate customer needs, we can often use existing equipment,” says Moss.

When NTTX upgraded to App-V 5.0, it replaced two highly skilled NTTX engineers who had worked full-time packaging applications with two support team members who perform sequencing as part of their jobs. “With App-V 5.0, packaging is so predictable, reliable, simple, and fast, that less-skilled workers can do all our sequencing in a fraction of the time. We decreased packaging labor costs by 90 percent, or about [US]$172,000 annually, and redeployed the engineers,” says Moss.

Offered More Attractive Services to Customers
Now that packaging applications with App-V 5.0 is fast and inexpensive, NTTX can charge customers a low flat fee. Instead of paying large, unpredictable hourly-based fees for installed applications, or flat fees that result in thousands of dollars for App-V 4.5 services, customers pay only about $88 per user.

NTTX offers more tailored services now that it can run any application that users want without causing conflicts, and it ensures that people who share computers won’t be able to access unauthorized applications. Since upgrading to App-V 5.0, NTTX delivers an even better user experience because virtualized and non-virtualized applications can easily communicate and all applications act as if they are locally installed. “Using App-V 5.0 makes it much easier for NTTX to provide great services at attractive prices,” says Moss.

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Solution Overview



Organization Size: 70 employees

Organization Profile

NTTX provides managed services, ranging from hosted virtual servers, desktops, and applications to email and collaboration offerings. Based in Congleton, England, it has about 70 employees.


Hardware

  • Dell PowerEdge Server Computers


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0
  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack
  • Windows PowerShell

Vertical Industries
IT Services

Country/Region
United Kingdom

Languages
English

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