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GCN : June 2015
GCN JUNE 2015 • GCN.COM 27 to optimize the graphics. Adding graphics acceleration imme- diately improved performance across the board. Users reported virtual desk- top performance equal to or better than their existing computers. Our new VDI consists of five servers running a total of 300 virtual machines with one NVIDIA GRID K1 card per server. Each graphics card uses NVIDIA GRID vGPU technology to share each physical GPU among multiple virtual desktops, and each card supports as many as 30 con- current and 60 total users. Employees receive Windows 7 desktops, and we are in the process of upgrading to Win- dows 8.1. Migrating from PCs to VDI with graphics acceleration can give local governments several long-term advan- tages. First, VDI requires less IT over- head. At Round Rock, one person man- ages the entire VDI. We use three more people to manage the remaining work- stations at various locations in the city. Second, VDI lets us store data in the data center, where we can secure it and protect it against disasters. Stor- ing data on local drives risks losing the data itself, the investment in obtaining that data and the historical value of re- taining that data for ongoing use. Third, most city employees now use low-cost thin clients to access the VDI. The police and parks departments use tablets to access virtual desktops so they can file forms and reports from the field without having to return to the office to use a computer. Users love the improved performance and not having to commute back and forth to do their work, especially in the eve- nings and on weekends. That high lev- el of mobility also allows employees to use their own devices to access the network, which makes them more pro- ductive while saving the city money. The initial cost of deploying VDI in Round Rock was a wash compared to desktop PCs, but we expect to see sig- nificant long-term savings, along with happier and more productive city em- ployees. Today, approximately 80 per- cent of the virtual desktops in Round Rock include graphics acceleration, and that percentage will grow over time. In addition, our VDI deployment is ready to support more remote and telecommuting employees. Mean- while, our IT department is continuing to find new ways to use accelerated virtual desktops to increase the value of our investment even further. • — Heath Douglas is the IT director for the city of Round Rock, Texas. 2015 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ALMANAC The Almanac is your one-stop resource on federal policy information — used annually by thousands of federal employees to reference the latest 2015 rules, regulations, and procedures. NOW IN STOCK - ORDER TODAY! Single copies start as low as $23.95 Federal Soup subscribers save an additional 10%! FederalSoup.com/FedStore • 800-989 -3363 0615gcn_026-027.indd 27 6/4/15 3:08 PM