The Citrix environment of the Swiss Cancer League reached the end of its lifecycle in 2020. In a large migration project, the non-profit organisation’s ICT team teamed up with Bechtle to update their Citrix-based virtual desktotp infrastructure. In the process, they increased capacity and security by means of two-factor authentication. The approx. 390 internal and external users of the Swiss Cancer League, including the cantonal and regional cancer leagues, now have access to a secure and stable IT with centralised main applications and flexibly compatible services.
The Cancer League is located in Switzerland with a central umbrella organisation in Bern (Swiss Cancer League) and eighteen cantonal and regional cancer leagues. The umbrella organisation provides several services for the individual cancer leagues, with IT services such as e-mail, data storage and applications like Sage and Nexus Sozial.
For the provision of applications, services and complete virtual desktop environments, the Swiss Cancer League has been using Citrix technologies for quite some time, however, the existing infrastructure came to the end of its lifecycle in 2020. Hence, it was time for an update of the Windows server from the 2012 version to a newer, further supported version. At the same time, requirements posed towards the IT of the Swiss Cancer League have grown continually, becoming an important element of the organisational strategy. Digital services for those affected by the illness are becoming more and more important, and not only due to the pandemic. This includes consultations on Zoom, but also the availability of all important information ranging from their medical history to financial support services on a mobile device when in direct contact with those affected. This requires a modern, future-ready solution for use by IT—so in other words, the Citrix environment also had to be updated.
Bechtle already helped the Swiss Cancer League leverage earlier Citrix projects. And just like before, Bechtle did great work, as the Head of ICT Stefan Sollberger explains. “We looked at some of the competition’s tenders, but Bechtle’s offer was more detailed and promising. The initial costs were higher, but provided a better TCO in the long run.”
The new technical solution is based on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Version 7, run on two master servers—one for the internal environment of the Swiss Cancer League and most of the users from the cantonal and regional cancer leagues, and one for a cantonal cancer league with special, regularly changing applications. Some other services used are the Citrix technologies Delivery Controller, Provisioning Services, ADS, Gateway, CVAD, VAD/Worker and Storefront. The update project began in September 2020 and since the end of January 2021, the brand new Citrix infrastructure has been available. In the process, the SAN environment was extended. The Cancer League also introduced two-factor authentication for the gateway.
“At first, we were planning to do the rollout in phases for each individual department,” says Stefan Sollberger. “But then we decided to do a full transition, which turned out to be the right decision, as otherwise, with a phased rollout, we wouldn’t have recognised the peak loads and the challenges that brings with it.” We found out, for example, that we had to expand the virtualised infrastructure with the four hosts in terms of RAM and disk space in order to meet the requirements of the upgraded Citrix solution.
Working with Bechtle was a charm, which was probably also due to the weekly or bi-weekly status meetings that are essential for a project of this size. “We managed to keep all appointments,” the Head of ICT confirms. “This way none of the new tasks that emerged were forgotten.”
We are very happy with the new Citrix solution. It’s secure and flexible. We really benefited from the Bechtle specialist expertise in the implementation of the project.
Thanks to the migration to the new Citrix version, the 120 users of the Swiss Cancer League and approx. 270 external users of the cantonal and regional cancer leagues have access to an ultra modern, future-proof application and virtual desktop infrastructure with a uniform look and feel in the style of Windows 10. Logging in to the system has accelerated significantly and security now meets the required standard. The updated IT environment has been well-accepted by Management, the ICT team and users alike.