In 2018, over 1.7 million passengers discovered Lake Zurich and the Limmat river on the 17 vessels operated by Lake Zurich Navigation Company (ZSG) – two paddle steamers, 12 motorboats and three riverboats. With Bechtle’s 360° desktop, ZSG relies on a highly secure and flexible service delivered from a Swiss cloud. In addition, ZSG chose Bechtle to overhaul its entire network as well as both shore-side and on-board devices.
ZSG employs over 100 people who, with the help of its IT, ensure that guests are able to purchase tickets, reserve tables – and feel at home onboard its boats. The tech environment previously included some 40 applications on 50 clients connected to ten servers. ZSG had been operating all hardware and software itself on the top floor of its office. Temperatures in this space can reach 40 °C in the summer, which had repeatedly put its equipment at risk.
When it came time to update its IT infrastructure – consisting of network components, telephony, clients and computers – ZSG opted for a complete overhaul. It was also looking for a single company to provide both the system landscape and first and second-level support. To this end, ZSG was scouring the market for a full-service IT partner who would deliver the required private cloud solution.
The project would require a professional data centre as well as a standardised server and client configuration. By jettisoning its former DIY approach to tech, ZSG wanted to guarantee high IT availability, quickly resolve any issues and rapidly implement new features and developments.
Moreover, ZSG wanted to outsource its IT maintenance by hiring a single point of contact to take care of all IT questions and projects. To keep costs under control, transparent budgeting was essential.
What impressed us was that Bechtle’s outline of our future landscape didn’t match what we had originally asked for—but rather what we actually needed. It was the best proposal we received in response to our RFP, guaranteeing high standards, availability, security and transparent costs now and in future.
Roman Knecht, Director
ZSG first learned of 360° desktop, the Desktop-as-a-Service solution offered by Bechtle’s data centre, after issuing its infrastructure outsourcing RFP. Remarkably, Bechtle did not submit a proposal tailored to the RFP’s actual specifications. Instead, the systems integrator was convinced that its own cloud service was a better match for ZSG’s requirements.
his is because Bechtle’s forward-facing private-cloud environment, whose servers are housed in Swiss-based data centres, is ideal for ZSG’s core applications. Such applications can be deployed and run directly on 360° desktop while ensuring both cost-effectiveness and high availability. In addition, the solution’s access and security setup is transparent and complies with the EU’s new GDPR rules.
The implementation was divided into three sub-projects that saw Bechtle introduce a Desktop-as-a-Service platform, overhaul the entire network and replace all of ZSG’s end devices. All of this was done not only in land-based offices, but also on board ZSG’s fleet. Applications that had previously been installed locally, such as Office, e-mail, and business software DARWIN/Navis and Abacus, now run on central XenApp servers. They are available to all users on their clients, thanks to a Desktop-as-a-Service model. The required server infrastructure is operated in Bechtle’s data centre, which means only one provider is needed.
Bechtle connected ZSG’s Zurich offices at Mythenquai and Bürkliplatz using the purpose-built MPLS network of Sunrise, a telecommunications provider. The benefits of 360° desktop play an essential role in ZSG’s day-to-day business, ensuring that the technology is available round the clock and that applications run smoothly and reliably. The boats posed a unique challenge as they are constantly moving. Each one was therefore equipped with a router featuring a SIM card and GPS.
PCs were replaced by laptops on which the business software Navis is now able to send travel logs directly to the data centre thanks to a VPN client. These onboard laptops can also be mirrored in order to provide support services from the shore – even if the boats are on tour without any technicians on board. Bechtle revamped ZSG’s entire network, both wired and wireless, using Cisco Meraki components. The new network offers user-friendly guest access allowing ZSG guests to log in to the Wi-Fi with ease.
Clients were also replaced with modern equipment. HP Inc. laptops and IGEL UD3 and UD7 thin clients are now used in the offices and on the boats. In addition to being easy to maintain and ideal for a cloud environment, they enable a high degree of standardisation and come with a five-year warranty.The end devices are maintained using Bechtle’s 360° devicemanager solution. 360° antivirus is yet another component of the high-availability Swiss data centre’s full service.
If issues do arise, ZSG’s employees are able to contact Bechtle’s central service desk, which functions as a single point of contact (SPoC) for any and all IT matters during defined service hours. If necessary, a technician can be sent to resolve the problem on site.
For ZSG, one particularly worthwhile benefit of Bechtle’s full service is its private cloud. ZSG uses and pays only for those resources that are actually required, eliminating the need for expensive investments. Core and specialist applications are accessed through a central Citrix desktop, which cuts down on administrative overhead. Remote access capabilities – including a BYOD scheme – and the system’s high level of user-friendliness further cut down on admin.
Certain local installations are needed, such as CAD applications, but these are kept to a minimum. All of Bechtle’s services dovetail perfectly with one another, so ZSG can rest assured that its IT is always up to date, highly available and secure.
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