- Accelerated the display of Flash-based video streaming and other business applications
- Deliver superior end-user experience and maximize productivity
- Improve bandwidth consumption
Deploying Ericom Blaze with VMware View
"The improved performance from the VMware-Ericom solution is enabling our employees to obtain the online training they require to perform their jobs. "
Network Administrator, Gulfeagle Supply
- Employee productivity gains with faster response times by enabling the company to successfully stream training videos
- Protected Gulfeagle's investment in existing resources, including the VMware View connection broker and thin clients
- Ericom Blaze mitigated the negative visual effects of slow RDP sessions and high network latency
- Reduced the number of complaints related to slow remote desktop user-experiences and network responsiveness
- Strengthened data security by adding strong SSL encryption from the server to the client, unlike other RDP compression solutions that require one to remove the RDP security
Gulfeagle Supply is a full line distributor of residential and commercial roofing and building products. What began as a single branch operation in Tampa, Florida in 1973, has since grown to over 50 locations. Today Gulfeagle's 400 employees are spread across corporate headquarters in Florida and over 50 warehouse branches and sales offices nationwide. This growth has come from acquisitions, start-up locations, and product diversity.
As a successful business undergoing continuous growth, the company has to closely monitor its operating costs and pursues opportunities to improve efficiencies.
Streamlining Desktop Management
Through a wide distribution network, Gulfeagle Supply provides customers a broad selection of products and delivery of superior services. "We're a very segregated company, and operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness really matter," says Preston Rodriguez, Network Administrator at Gulfeagle Supply. "With 50 locations, we're all about improving the management and user-experience of our branch employees who require remote access to our core business apps, including MS Office applications, training videos, and a custom ERP system."
To support its growth, Gulfeagle Supply sought to take greater advantage of the benefits of remote computing to streamline their desktop management as well as provide centralized backup for all the desktops and improve data security. "We looked at Citrix, but liked VMware on the server side and it met most of our requirements."
PC Refresh or Thin Clients?
Gulfeagle Supply also needed to address the issue of aging desktops. Rodriguez explained, "Most of our locations have PCs that were coming up on a major refresh."
Thin clients would provide multiple advantages in terms of centralized back up, centralized management and cost-savings down the road. "We weighed all the options and decided to go with a thin client solution that would run a lot longer than desktop units," says Rodriguez. "The only upgrades you have to do with thin client terminals are in the data center where the actual virtual machines (VMs) are stored."
Deploying VMware View with Ericom Blaze
VMware View offered benefits in terms of lowering new desktop provisioning times, improving manageability and security. However, certain PCoIP performance challenges due to bandwidth constraints were soon discovered.
Rodriguez explains, "Our warehouse employees are required to watch Flash-based training videos that we stream online. But due to bandwidth constraints, with both PCoIP and straight RDP, performance was less than optimal. We wanted to stream the videos to the thin clients."
Online research led Rodriguez and his colleagues to Ericom Blaze, a stand-alone RDP accelerator. "We tested video streaming with VMware View and Ericom Blaze and found significant performance improvements."
Says Rodriguez, "We found that PCoIP consumed more bandwidth than Ericom Blaze, more computing resources in the VM, and Ericom Blaze produced a smoother user experience."
Simple, Straightforward Implementation
Implementing Ericom Blaze was a breeze. Rodriguez says, "Deploying the Blaze server on existing, individual VMs took only a few minutes per VM. Then it took another couple of minutes to push Blaze down to the thin clients."
An Enhanced User Experience
Users have responded very positively to Ericom Blaze's accelerated connectivity and great user interface, enabling them to watch Flash-based training videos that are streamed.
The product has also impressed Gulfeagle's IT team. "As far as actual bandwidth usage, Ericom Blaze is great and the user-interface is extremely friendly. The improved performance from the VMware-Ericom solution is critical for enabling our employees to obtain the online training they require to perform their jobs," says Rodriguez.
He added, "Everything is working pretty great. Ericom Blaze has a light footprint on the virtual desktops and thin clients. Plus users experience quicker application response times. Overall, it's a solid and stable package."
In the future, Gulfeagle Supply will continue to replace its desktop PCs with thin client computers to further reduce IT costs.