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The Customer

Hassell is an international design practice with studios in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

They work across architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and urban design – a rich multi-disciplinary mix of skills and perspectives that unlocks the economic, social and cultural value of projects.

Challenge

Like most other organisations around the world, the impact of COVID-19 meant they had to change the way they operated and moved their entire workforce from office based working to remote working.

As a top-tier architecture and design firm, they utilise high powered workstation PCs across the globe and work with large design model files. It wasn’t possible for employees to take their standard workstations home with them so needed a way to access their physical workstation PCs in the office, while working from their homes.

Solution

The solution comprised of deploying and configuring multiple Citrix ADC virtual appliance’s within each geographical region; configuring a Virtual Apps and Desktop environment to support Remote PC Access; and installing Virtual Delivery Agent software on each physical desktop via Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

By utilising Linktech Australia’s Citrix ADC offering, Hassell introduced an OPEX pay per user licencing model, paying for only licences they need on a month to month basis, reducing the licencing costs by more than 5x when compared to buying the solution outright.

Results

  • Remote access rapidly deployed and accessible in two days;
  • Users can work at home as if they are sitting at their workstation;
  • No physical hardware required other than the existing high-end workstation fleet;
  • Little staff training required – current PCs being utilised with apps and personal files and settings in place;
  • Open licencing model – no lock-in contract, reducing licencing costs by more than 5x.

“We worked with Linktech Australia to quickly scale the Citrix platform to incorporate all our studios across the United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia.”

Johnny Chloride – Hassell Design Systems Manager

The Journey

In late January 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak was starting to sweep through parts of China and Hong Kong, which prevented staff from being able to attend their studios to work. The majority of the design staff use high-end workstations and were not equipped with laptops.

Hassell’s biggest challenge was to allow the affected designers to be able to work from home effectively. They had an existing Citrix Virtual App environment with NVIDIA virtual GPU enabled servers. However, the underlying hardware would not cater to the entire Asia based workforce. Even if it did, the latency from China to Melbourne would impact the user experience.

Hassell’s Technology staff teamed up with Linktech Australia to expand the existing Citrix Virtual App environment based in Melbourne. Linktech Australia configured Citrix Remote PC Access and a Citrix Application Delivery Controller (ADC) VPX in their Hong Kong studio.

The solution ties an authorised user to their specific workstation. Remote PC Access enables the authorised staff member to securely log on to their physical Windows PC back in their office from an untrusted personal PC at home. The user’s experience is just like they are back in their office PC, and there was no need to procure any additional hardware.

Users were directed to install the Citrix Workspace client app and connect to the Hassell Citrix platform, where they authenticated using their Windows/Active Directory details. Upon successful authentication, the staff member is presented with an icon representing their Office PC. Once the icon is clicked, they are automatically signed into their own desktop remotely. Because the user is connecting directly to their existing PC, very little training was required.

“With the success of the platform in China we worked with Linktech Australia to quickly scale the Citrix platform to incorporate all our studios across the United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia. This just wouldn’t have been possible without Linktech Australia’s expertise. Our teams are now working effectively from home, reducing risk and continuing to meet project deadlines,” says Hassell Design Systems Manager Johnny Chloride.

Thanks to the new pricing model, Hassell only pays for the licences when utilised (per user/per month) with no lock-in contracts or commitments.