Macmahon strikes gold with virtual desktop

Macmahon Holdings virtualization push yields much success.

Macmahon Holdings, an Australian company operating in the mining and civil construction sector, has recently completed the rebuild of its entire data centre. By virtualizing the user desktop, the company has created a data network infrastructure which allows users to access the system securely from anywhere, at any time, and from any hardware device.

After facing a variety of challenges including data link connectivity issues, the managing of multiple data locations, hardware failures, software upgrades, transport and travel delays, CIO Jason Cowie says that he's pleased with the project outcome.

"Virtualization is already paying dividends by fixing Macmahon's issues. The virtual desktop provides mobility by replacing the traditional user experience as users now log into any terminal. The virtual desktop not only centralises the data but also centralises the IT management, software provisioning and patch management of all applications."

This centralisation saves money in time and effort required by the IT team as well as eliminating the purchase of excessive software licensing, he said.

Cowie believes that the project was successful due to the comprehensive planning initially undertaken by the organization. "A strategy was developed around what we considered to be the four essential elements to this project: mobility, centralization, integration and collaboration. We called this plan Global One", Cowie said.

This strategy was then broken into another four key areas: communications, network core, delivery and infrastructure. "We called this concept the vendor pillars, and it was created with a view to establish a partnership with leading industry vendors to achieve the vision while maximizing our IT spend", Cowie said.

"So far, our virtual desktop includes the user environment, network security, application management, software licensing, single sign on, identity management, user auditing and basic asset management as well as other aspects", he said.

Cowie also plans to add instant messaging, teaming and conferencing, unified messaging, electronic faxing, virtual phones, document management, dynamic software licensing, user requests and workflows, and enhanced asset management capabilities in the future.

He provides the following advice to those undertaking or thinking about launching future globalization projects.

"Ensure that you create a strategic plan first; create a vision statement -- one statement that sums up your objective; create your own roadmap to show your staff and partners the stages of development, and ensure you stick to your vision; partner with vendors rather than just purchase items, as they can be a great help; don't change the plan with every new possible technology; and market the plan to internal and external stakeholders."

Jason Cowie will be presenting at the Microsoft & Novell Interoperability for Virtualization: Reducing the Complexity event in Sydney on the 11th March, 2007.

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