CA Technologies - formerly CA - has revealed that 20 of its staff are piloting Apple iPads running the Wyse PocketCloud app to test the viability of the device in the enterprise.Chief information officer Stephen Savage - himself an iPad owner - talked up the benefits it could offer workers in a wider discussion on virtual desktop infrastructure plans."We have a very small pilot running virtualisation [on] the iPad - Wyse has an iPad app that accommodates that," Savage said. "We have 20 people or so experimenting."CA is also running a "substantial" desktop virtualisation project internally covering 500 sales, developer and administrative staff. The pilot uses VMware View software and Wyse thin client terminals.Savage said it was a challenge understanding the "cultural aspects of virtualising the desktop" but said that pilot users had taken to the model.
He put that down to two things: "There's no latency," he said. "And when you've got a laptop you're constantly pushing software updates which frustrate the end user. You can eliminate that whole frustration when you've got a virtual desktop."I thought there would be more resistance [to changing]."Savage said desktop virtualisation would enable CA to "get out of the business of laptops". Although it has 13,000 employees, the company has over 27,000 desktops and laptops on its books."[Desktop virtualisation] means that if someone wants to work on an iPad, a Macbook or a PC, [the system] doesn't discriminate," Savage said.Cloud infrastructureSavage said CA Technologies had two "private clouds" - one for technical demonstrations and the other for lab tests. Both were able to burst to public clouds in peak periods, partially through the use of CA's own software. "With our product set for provisioning, [that transition from private to public cloud compute is] becoming more and more seamless," Savage said.Infrastructure within the private clouds was "almost 100 percent virtualised."
Its production server environment - numbering in the several thousand machines - was about 45 percent virtualised on VMware and growing.SoftwareThe company used about 120 CA-owned products in its IT environment and almost another 1,000 enterprise apps in its environment - a figure Savage concedes is too high."We've got a campaign to reduce those numbers," he said."We've eliminated 200 apps in the past two years. But that process is going to get get harder and harder as time goes on without us doing some substantial re-platforming or new development."CA Technologies is in the process of migrating its user base from Windows XP to Windows 7, a process Savage expected would be complete by the end of the year. The company was also weighing up migration to the latest version of Microsoft Exchange sometime next year, although it was equally interested at whether to move to a hosted environment with Microsoft or the likes of Google."We're thinking of cloud offerings as an alternative [to Exchange]," Savage said. "Microsoft has a compelling offering in the [hosted email] space, as does Google."Savage credited his IT team - numbering some 650 people - for their work in the past five years bringing IT from a high to low cost base.
"We now have good governance processes and we're using ITIL as a framework," he said. "Those two things were fundamental to us getting control of the [IT] organisation."
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