With itopia, Forthright Lifts VDI Workloads onto GCP for Finotex‘s Distributed Workforce
Founded in 1984, Miami, FL-based Finotex manufactures labels for designer apparel companies such as Levi’s. The company has over 600 employees in its manufacturing operation in eight locations throughout Latin America and Asia. Finotex specializes in woven and printed labels, jacquard ribbons thermal printing solutions, heat transfers, paper products, eco-friendly products, and anti-counterfeit solutions. The company is the largest woven and printed label producer in the Western Hemisphere.
Finotex had significant challenges dues to major disruptions in the retail industry, including the need to stay competitive while reducing costs and improving performance. To enable their large and highly dispersed workforce, they had previously been using Citrix and VMware technologies co-located in a third-party datacenter and managed by Forthright Technology Partners. The company’s contracts with the co-location provider and Citrix and VMware were approaching end-of-life, so Forthright began searching for a cloud-based alternative. They evaluated Microsoft Azure, but the cost/benefit analysis didn’t add up. AWS was ruled out because of the cost and lack of automation and orchestration for deployment and management.
Ultimately, Forthright migrated Finotex to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with a cloud VDI lifecycle management tool based on itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS) software. As a strategic Technology Partner for Google Cloud, itopia’s CAS modernizes desktop delivery of legacy apps on GCP. CAS’ cloud orchestration and management capabilities and GCP’s network speeds were key drivers behind the decision.
During the 600-seat deployment, most of Finotex’s servers deployed in GCP were upgraded from Windows 2012 to 2016. While doing so, the company was able to consolidate the number of servers by leveraging itopia’s approach to VDI that relies on Microsoft Remote Desktop Services instead of legacy VDI which requires a dedicated server for each user. The new environment uses multiple availability zones in GCP in the US and Latin America. Forthright also leverages server uptime scheduling of the SaaS offering to stagger user sessions according to their working hours, and autoscaling to spin infrastructure resources up or down based on actual demand. Regular snapshots have been scheduled for recovery purposes. In addition, the company leverages GCP Custom Machine Types to configure servers with the exact amount of RAM and CPU required.
By migrating from Citrix to Google Cloud with itopia CAS, Forthright has eliminated much of its hardware overhead (Netscaler, for instance), or as the company states, reduced the “Citrix bloat” in its Finotex deployment. With server uptime scheduling, Forthright has reduced infrastructure costs by double digit percentages. SaaS also makes it easier to spin up new apps quickly and manage user profiles and policies from a single dashboard.
With Google Cloud’s scalable and elastic infrastructure in multiple availability zones, the company no longer needs to overprovision resources to achieve business continuity. Network performance is much faster, making for a better end user experience. Disaster recovery is a breeze due to regularly scheduled snapshots. Finally, the company is using the “insights” module, which enables them to see stats on resource usage to continuously optimize the environment to reduce costs and improve performance further.