Wiley is a global provider of content and content-enabled workflow solutions in areas of scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly research; professional development; and education. Their core businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising; professional books, subscription products, certification and training services and online applications; as well as education content and services including integrated online teaching and learning resources for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners.Today, the publishing industry is in a state of transformation, as many offerings move from print to digital formats. And with more than 5,300 employees operating in locations around the world, offering identical desktops to employees in every location has created quite a technical challenge. In 2011, Wiley began investigating the possibility of using virtual desktops at some of their US locations.
After an exhaustive evaluation process, Wiley presented their objectives and goals for the project to management. Their goals for the project were many:
- Ready access to information and systems from any device, at any location at any time
- Optimize for Hoteling and BYOD Strategies
- Reduce overhead for system administration and maintenance
- Reduce downtime – higher availability
- Increase the speed of deployment
- New user
- New Operating System
- Single image – hardware independence
- No longer need to maintain multiple installation images, reducing systems administration for workstations
- Increase the useful life of client devices, including workstations
- Offer true mobility with secure remote access
- Implement more efficient use of computing resources by hosting multiple workstations on fewer physical servers
- Improve security
- All data stored in datacenter
The V3 Systems appliance definitely helped us meet – and actually exceed – that goal!
Implementing Virtual Desktops Throughout The Wiley Network
Wiley is no stranger to the virtualization arena. In the last 10 years, they have virtualized much of their global server infrastructure. They began with their world headquarters. After testing the concept with their internal IT staff, Wiley was ready to implement virtual desktops across the board. A logical starting point was their external consultants. Offering virtual desktops was a more secure – and cost-effective – way to give their consultants access to the proprietary software used throughout the company. In addition, virtual desktops simplified the on- and off-boarding process when consultants were brought on or taken off various projects.
After creating virtual desktop access for their consultants, Wiley added their offshore developers in India and their support personnel to their virtual desktop infrastructure.
With headquarters up and running, they moved on to Somerset, NJ. After Somerset, next up will be their remote site in Indianapolis, IN.
It’s interesting to note that Wiley uses Pillar storage at each location for user data. All user data is stored on these systems. However, in both locations, they are using NAS storage for vswap files to achieve maximum performance.
Why V3 Systems?
Before selecting V3 Systems as their appliance of choice, Wiley conducted an 18-month pilot study. “Our goal was to provide a virtual desktop that was at least as fast – if not faster – than traditional desktops,” said Paul McNeice, Director of National Connected Business LANs and Support at Wiley.
Wiley has classified users into two tiers. Tier 1 desktops assigned to IT support and developers use VMware View and V3 appliances. General non-technical users at Wiley are considered Tier 2 and are configured without a V3 appliance. For the other components in the system, they use Dell servers and Pilar storage. Because of their unique operational requirements, Wiley is using persistent full pools (i.e., non linked clones) and Unidesk Desktop Layering for VDI to create and manage images, as well as user changes, while optimizing their SAN storage.
Initially, Wiley developers worked on Tier 2 desktops. Even though they continued to increase the virtual desktop RAM from 4 to 8…to as much as 16 GB, the developers were dissatisfied with the performance of their Tier 2 desktops. Manny Piatos, Enterprise LAN Operations Manager states, “Our developers love V3’s performance as opposed to the Tier 2 traditional VDI architecture. In fact, as soon as we migrated them to V3 they stopped complaining!” He added, “In some cases, using the V3 appliance, we’ve actually been able to decrease the RAM for certain users. For example, our support staff are using just 3 GB of RAM and 1 CPU per virtual desktop.”
While Wiley has not yet identified specific cost savings they have realized by using VMware View virtual desktops running on V3 appliances, they categorically state that the time to deploy is now dramatically less.
“Using this configuration, it is really easy to deploy new virtual machines and add or remove application software,” McNeice commented. He continued, “the project has met or exceeded each of the goals that we set out to accomplish, including our last goal: extending the life of our client devices.”
The project has produced such outstanding results that they are continuing to convert additional offices around the world. Within the next three years, they anticipate that fully 50% of their desktops will be virtualized.