Continental Motors Group partnered with Versiant to deliver a cloud-based desktop-as-a-service solution to improve the security and performance of the desktop environment within its manufacturing department. The centrally managed solution virtualized the desktop environment, providing its unionized staff with a consistent, more efficient and productive experience as they accessed various workspaces on the manufacturing floor.
Inconsistent desktop environment impacts productivity
Continental Motors Group is a world leader in the development of aviation products. When the organization began experiencing frequent system failures that impacted its operations and workforce productivity, it knew it was time to restructure and refresh its IT environment. This included the desktop environment used across it manufacturing floor. In addition to being unreliable, the workstations were independently deployed with each running different applications—including some that were not utilized by the manufacturing team—and potentially different licensed versions. This inconsistency made it more difficult and time-consuming for IT to support these machines, which impacted the productivity of both the manufacturing and IT teams.
This desktop environment also roused some security concerns as it lacked centralized control. This was particularly concerning as the manufacturing workforce was largely outside union labor which required more tightly controlled access to the corporate IT environment. This group also moved between workstations throughout the day, utilizing the PC closest to where they were working at any given time. This posed some additional issues as they used generic log-ins, which made it difficult to track and manage this group’s access.
In addition to these issues, Continental was concerned about the survivability of its infrastructure. Located on Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama—just a half mile above sea level—the company recognized the looming threat of a natural disaster and wanted to migrate its on-premise servers to the cloud to improve the reliability and resilience of its IT environment.
To take on these challenges, Continental partnered with Versiant Corporation, a North Carolina-based IT services provider.
Centralized infrastructure strengthens oversight and eases management of desktop environment
To provide Continental with a more consistent, secure and productive work environment for its manufacturing group, Versiant recommended its desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solution.
DaaS virtualizes the desktop, moving applications and compute from individual workstations to a centralized server for a more consistent, high-performing and secure desktop experience. To support Continental’s desire to move its infrastructure off-site, Versiant deployed this solution in the cloud.
DaaS utilizes a single, virtual desktop image designed specifically for the manufacturing team to improve control over the virtualized desktop and drive efficiency. This standardized image delivers a consistent desktop experience across the manufacturing floor, providing only the applications the team needs to perform their jobs. This single deployment eliminates multiple applications and versions to simplify the ability to support the environment. The centralized architecture also enables Continental to quickly and easily perform updates, apply patches, conduct backups, troubleshoot issues and reconfigured the environment, eliminating the need to travel to individual workstations to perform these tasks. Instead, IT can quickly push out changes across the manufacturing organization from a unified location without impacting productivity.
“Versiant’s DaaS solution commoditized Continental’s hardware by putting the desktop experience in the cloud,” explained Chris Fogarty, Chief Technology Officer and a Founding Partner at Versiant Corporation. “If a PC fails, we can quickly swap that PC out to minimize the impact on the manufacturing team and allow them to get back to work quickly.”
Versiant DaaS also strengthens Continental’s overall security posture by allowing it to more granularly manage its IT environment and enact appropriate controls.
To help the manufacturing team transition to this new environment, Versiant conducted training sessions. The IT services provider also continues to support this solution to allow Continental to remain focused on its core business.
Supporting a more efficient and secure desktop environment across the manufacturing floor.
Since migrating its environment to the cloud and adopting DaaS, Continental has significantly improved the operational reliability of its the desktop environment, minimizing downtime and strengthening productivity. By housing this solution in the cloud, Continental also minimizes its geographic exposure to enhance the resiliency and reliability of its operations.
DaaS also eases the management of Continental’s desktop environment. Its centralized management platform allows the company to be more agile in making changes to the environment to better support end users and bolster security. In fact, the image is pushed out on an almost daily basis without impacting end users—a task that was not possible with its previous deployment model. This optimizes the efficiency of the IT team as it avoids inefficient trips to individual workstations.
DaaS further improves operational integrity and resiliency by allowing IT to quickly restore the environment from a backup if a problem occurs. This agility is crucial in minimizing lost data and improving work efficiencies. Versiant can also centrally manage printer access for Continental, allowing users to print from any computer.
By providing access to only necessary applications, DaaS also minimized licensing fees. Continental achieved further savings by repurposing its existing assets. With power and storage housed in the cloud, rather than on individual machines, DaaS enabled Continental to reuse its hardware to access the virtual solution.
DaaS also improves the security and control of the environment by centrally applying and managing security controls across the user base. By providing each worker with a unique login, DaaS allows Continental to better monitor team members as they move between PCs for an enriched level of security and accountability. This is particularly essential to limit access for union employees. These authorized credentials also improve the work continuity and efficiency of the staff as they are able to resume work on any PC and achieve a consistent experience.
“Versiant listened to our needs and provided a solution that delivers the security, productivity and efficiency to enhance our manufacturing operations,” said Rhett Ross, CEO at Continental Motors Group. “Today, our team is better engaged and able to work across our manufacturing floor without interruption.”