Customer Case Studies

Photo Credit:  M.O. Stevens

The City of Tigard

City of Tigard is the municipal authority that provides vital services for the 53,000 residents of Tigard in Washington County, Oregon. With responsibility for police, library, public works, city management, community development, and financial services, City of Tigard employs between 350 and 375 people depending on the time of year.

Customer Snapshot

The Challenge

  • • Replace an aging, complex and disconnected IT environment
  • • Simplify the management burden and control costs
  • • Provide effective support for end-users through standardization and consolidation

The Solution

  • • Introduced a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure with Citrix XenDesktop
  • • Supports off-site use with Citrix NetScaler Application Delivery Controller (ADC)
  • • Introduced Liquidware solutions for user profile and environment management and application layering
  • • Employed Right! Systems for design consultancy and implementation services
  • • Cut the number of software pieces used by the authority from 6,000 to between 100 and 200 to streamline management and reduce cost

Aiming for Standardization

Technology is delivered to all council departments by a team of ten engineers but with half concentrated on mapping duties with Geographical Information Systems (GIS), that leaves only five to work on general IT tasks from security to databases and end-user support to networking.

This was a big challenge because the City of Tigard had a complex and disconnected environment.

“We worked in a highly reactive mode with all our end-users. Basically, we were just going around putting Band-Aids on everything,” says IT Manager, Mike Nolop. “We had over 6,000 different pieces of software and software versions on our computers and networks so our main goals were to implement the standardization and consolidation that would enable our limited IT staff to provide effective support for the end-users.”

False Start with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

To simplify the management burden and control costs, City of Tigard decided to install Citrix XenDesktop, the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) which delivers fully personalized desktops for each user with all the security and simplicity of centralized management. In tandem, it also implemented Citrix NetScaler Application Delivery Controller (ADC) to support off-site use and ShareFile for content collaboration.

However, the initial VDI implementation did not go as planned.

Profile management and application layering were particularly problematic. Log-in times were two to three minutes and there was no consistency between sessions so user acceptance was low.

To try and solve the problems City of Tigard turned to Liquidware solutions which provide user profile and environment management along with application layering and comprehensive monitoring and diagnostics for Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop. The aim was to help the team export and migrate menu settings between computing sessions and maintain just one master image with appropriate applications layered on top.

“The benefit of Right! Systems is the level of service it can provide with the deep knowledge base of its engineers. We value Right! Systems so much that we have recommended them to other cities because they do good quality work.”
Mike Nolop
IT Manager, The City of Tigard

Need for Specialist Assistance

Realizing that it could not achieve its goals with the original vendor, City of Tigard sought more specialized assistance. It had previously met with Right! Systems at a Citrix event and had also used the company for a project on its Sophos anti-virus software so when seeking an alternative vendor, it turned to Right! Systems again.

“Right! Systems was a Citrix partner and seemed to have a better handle on how to deliver the solutions we wanted. They were the ones that were mentioned most in our region,” says Keelan Cleary, Senior Network Administrator with City of Tigard. “They sat down and listened to us, heard what our pain points were and came up with a plan and the resources to get us through.”

Having assessed the situation, Right! Systems configured Liquidware and tuned some of the Windows 10 images to help alleviate some of the problems and ensure that they would work within the Citrix environment.

“They definitely had some highly qualified engineers who were well placed to figure out what our issues were and how to solve them,” adds Cleary. “We had experienced problems working with some vendors but Right! Systems were able to wrangle up the resources needed to get those vendors on-site when we needed them. They also did a good job of looking at the entire project, not just a small portion of it, and solving the issues to finally get it out of the door and into end-users’ hands.”

Successful Resolutions

The end result is that City of Tigard’s VDI is now in stable operation with the migration to Windows 10 successfully achieved. After the VDI was implemented the city has reduced from 6,000 to between 100 and 200 different pieces of software in use around the city. They are all standardized on the same version which is a huge time saver when fixes need to be implemented and doing away with repetitive routine tasks also frees the small IT team to concentrate on more valuable work.

“Most of our computers were over five years old and our aim was to give our end-users a consistent experience. With the Citrix solution we’ve given them a modern computer platform without replacing hardware,” says Nolop.

User acceptance of the new systems has improved with log-in times reduced from three minutes down to 35 seconds.

An Ongoing Partnership

Since its initial inception, City of Tigard’s association with Right! Systems has grown into more than a one project arrangement.

“If we ever had an emergency, Right! Systems would be there for us,” says Nolop. “Now we know their engineers and have faith in them, we have used them for a bunch of different IT projects.”

In addition to the VDI, Right! Systems has been called in for other work such as helping with the consequent roll-out of VDI to new departments and a number of system overhauls. It returns on a regular basis to help with back-end Citrix overhauls and version changes; helped the city in its migration from an on-prem Exchange environment to Office 365 and also assisted in updates to VMware servers and Windows domain controllers.

background image of handshake of business partners in conference room

The city’s IT future is also likely to involve Right! Systems with Citrix XenMobile work, integration of RFID with the Citrix systems and getting the library and policy department fully-invested in VDI so that everyone is using the same platform.

The city is also looking at the benefit of thin clients and there is the potential that Right! Systems will again be called in to help.

The Benefit of Specialist Knowledge

“The benefit of Right! Systems is the level of service it can provide with the deep knowledge base of its engineers,” says Cleary. “With a smaller IT staff we are not experts in anything but we are very good at a lot of things. We are generalists but Right! Systems has the specialists who can deal with any issues that we come up with. They can accommodate most of the common IT problems that we cannot tackle ourselves because of limited resources.”

Nolop concludes: “We value Right! Systems so much that we have recommended them to other cities because they do good quality work. When we find a good vendor, I’m always happy to pass the contact along to other agencies.”