Swissport deploys desktop-as-a-service

Swissport International, the world's largest provider of ground handling services for the aviation sector, has turned to desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) in order to reduce operating costs.

The company will use IGEL Technology thin clients, which can be managed by one person, and the DaaS model to bring workstation costs down to less than £10 a month each.

Within Europe, the company currently operates around 1,500 thin clients at various sites, including Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick airports.

In order to be able to react quicker to the changing needs of the market, Swissport has been centralising, virtualising and outsourcing its IT in Europe with the help of Citrix software since 2003.

As part of its outsourcing program, a global service provider furnishes the ground handler with a "fully managed desktop" with IGEL thin clients as efficient end-user devices.

This IT infrastructure enables the growth-oriented company to be able to set up a completely new loading station with 300 employees in three weeks.??

As a result of its migration efforts to date, Swissport uses IGEL thin client solutions at around half of its 3,000 IT workstations.

>See also: Service management revisited

Depending on the scenario, the company uses different thin client models with different operating systems in order to achieve the greatest possible savings.

For example, the ground staff at Munich Airport use the screen-integrated all-in-one IGEL UD9 LX thin client in order to allocate passenger buses and other resources in an extremely cost-efficient manner with the help of a 3G connection and the integrated web browser.

With the Citrix XenApp and Cortado ThinPrint software solutions, Swissport is able to operate up to 100 thin clients and administer them in a fail-safe manner via a VPN tunnel using a 10 MBit/s wireless connection rather than the expensive airport LAN.

Swissport also uses the IGEL Universal Desktop Converter 2 (UDC2) thin client software in order to convert existing airport PCs into remote-administrable software thin clients. This saves the logistics costs and customs charges associated with hardware replacement while reducing support time.??

The IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) solution comes supplied with all thin clients. Its key features include profile and group-based configuration and administration as well as the facility to assign profiles using a tree structure or drag and drop.

According to Swissport's CIO Philipp Schlatter, the complete remote-management of all 1,500 thin clients takes just 50 percent of the time of one full-time post.

As far as monthly operating costs are concerned, the thin clients are already more than £30 cheaper than a "managed" PC, and Swissport plans to eventually reduce the costs for the end devices to less than £10 per month.

"When it comes to achieving a particularly flexible, efficient and reliable IT infrastructure, we always try to avoid problems rather than solving them with a disproportionate use of resources,” Schlatter said. "With the low-maintenance thin client solutions from IGEL, we achieved our goal."

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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