When it comes to IT, Ohio's Department of Developmental Disabilities (DoDD) wants innovation. So when the agency's IT manager went looking for a way to manage the new virtual desktop infrastructure, he looked for innovative solutions. "In our agency, we know we have to innovate. And one of the ways we work is we look for innovators in the industry," says Kipp Bertke, IT manager for the Ohio DoDD, which oversees a system of support services for 80,000 people with developmental disabilities.
It was through that lens that Bertke and his team found Unidesk, a startup launched in June 2010 that provides management software for virtual desktops. The Unidesk virtual desktop management platform, combined with VMware View, is helping the Ohio DoDD personalize the desktops, deploy applications to them, and patch and manage them as needed.
The agency's VDI is part of an overall initiative to create a private cloud that started with virtualizing nearly all--up to 98 percent--of its servers. "Our goal was to create a private cloud that was agile, in which we could turn up a server in a day or two as opposed to a week. It has been a huge success for us, particularly from an application development perspective," Bertke says. The virtual servers don't just support application development, however. They also support production apps, including SQL, email and more.
The VDI initiative began in earnest in March and will wrap up in June, with the goal of virtualizing about 1,500 desktops. The time was right to virtualize the desktops, notes Bertke, since many of the agency's PCs are at the end of their five-year lifecycle.
The Unidesk solution will bolster the aim of the VDI, which is to provide desktop capabilities to users anytime, anywhere. Overall, the solution will help the Ohio DoDD reduce desktop operational costs by providing centralized management and security, and will enable agency employees greater mobility by being able to access their virtual desktops from anywhere. And even though the Unidesk solution allows for central control and management, users will still be able to personalize and customize their desktops, with specific settings for everything from Google toolbars to storage disk drive selections and printer setups.