In September 2012, CGI embarked on a project for Laurentian Bank of Canada (LBC), a CGI client since the late 80s, to migrate the bank from a physical to a virtual desktop environment to advance the bank’s growth strategy and drive business agility and cost savings.

The challenge

Wanting to gain the strategic and operational benefits of a virtual desktop environment, LBC set out to replace its PCs and servers with a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). This new infrastructure would eliminate 4,000+ PCs, servers supporting 160 branches, as well as the need for related Windows licenses and costly upgrades.

The solution

CGI implemented a VDI using VMware Horizon View. The infrastructure supports a virtual desktop environment that is not only secure, cost-effective and easy to deploy, but also provides comprehensive storage flexibility.

The solution is designed to leverage the full benefits of stateless virtual desktops. High-performance, solid-state drives (SSDs) were implemented to increase the desktop virtualization input/output per second (IOPS), while providing a stateless desktop virtualization design for planned and unplanned downtime.

This use of local SSDs is a new approach to desktop virtualization storage. SSDs are critical for achieving a low per-desktop-cost because they remove the need for operating systems and application storage requirements on the storage area network (SAN). In addition, CPU and memory resources scale linearly, with extremely low latency. The simplicity of the architecture introduces a new era in the evolution of desktop virtualization cost modeling.

For end users, access to the VDI is enabled by a new zero client cloud station, which provides all of the banking application capabilities previously available on desktop PCs. USBs and serial devices also can be easily integrated.

The entire VDI was provided via CGI’s cloud environment on Cisco Systems architecture, eliminating the need for any infrastructure work within the bank’s own data centers.

The results

The new virtual desktop environment deployed by CGI has increased LBC’s agility in deploying new application functionality, while delivering the annual cost savings in the following areas:

  • Data loss costs
  • Infrastructure support costs
  • Energy savings
  • Licensing costs
  • End-user desk side support costs


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