Hurricane Irma in late 2017 was one of the most destructive storms to hit South Florida in more than a decade. While UTA was not directly impacted, the tragedy was a catalyst for management to develop a more strategic business continuity plan for the next natural disaster. Before Irma, UTA had an on-premises VMware Horizon VDI environment in place but found that it was too complex to manage and extremely expensive. Besides, the on-premises environment—which was approaching end of life—was also vulnerable to natural disaster.
The company was experimenting with AWS WorkSpaces as an alternative to on-premises VDI. But poor network performance and hidden AWS costs became a serious issue fast. For example, UTA’s workers need to navigate multiple screens and systems to process transactions tied to an Apache Pig database on the backend. AWS’s 30ms network latency badly constrained the end user experience and productivity. The AWS management console was also difficult to navigate and required manual configuration of GPOs to secure the environment. UTA needed simpler, more modern, cloud-based desktop, backup and disaster recovery solutions to ensure optimum business resiliency.
To address these challenges, UTA searched for other cloud-based options and ultimately chose to migrate workloads to Google Cloud with itopia. With itopia, the company’s IT administrators can quickly spin up and configure domain controllers and Remote Desktop gateways on-demand, while having centralized, single-click control over user permissions and security settings. To meet the spikes in demand common in the industry, UTA is also leveraging the autoscaling capabilities in itopia to make the environment more elastic and scalable. itopia-enabled automated snapshots are in place for optimized disaster recovery and business resiliency. To ensure that unique workloads have the proper resources available and to eliminate spend on unused ones, UTA is also using GCP’s Custom Machine Types to allocate the exact amount of CPU and RAM needed for each VM.
Since migrating to Google Cloud with itopia, administering the Windows-based remote virtual desktop environment is much easier and quicker than with previous solutions. Network performance on Google Cloud is about twice as fast as AWS, boosting the end user experience, productivity and overall app availability. By leveraging the features of itopia like auto scaling and automated GCP snapshots, UTA has been able to optimize its disaster recovery and business continuity strategy.
Enterprise workload migration and management with itopia has enabled the IT team to eliminate time-consuming manual tasks and focus on more strategic initiatives to improve and grow the business further. Managing security is much simpler through itopia’s granular and centralized GPO and user app access controls. App updates and patches now take much less time to implement, and VM images can be managed easily with itopia’s custom image management capability.
Most of all, and according to Jonathan Adderley, Director of IT Operations at UTA,