IGEL, provider of the next-gen edge OS for cloud workspaces, announced that Neovia Logistics has deployed its software-defined endpoint technology to create a standardized corporate end-user computing [EUC] solution for the business worldwide. The Neovia customer success story was the popular vote winner of IGEL’s “I Challenge Everything” Sweepstakes Customer Testimonial Contest announced last month.
The use of IGEL has enabled Neovia to transition away from managing a mixed vendor desktop environment comprising traditional distributed PCs and legacy thin client terminals, thereby avoiding being tied to and dependent on endpoint devices whilst ensuring that its 6,000 staff have the very best user experience possible.
Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Neovia is a global leader in third-party logistics [3PL], operating more than 100 facilities in 20 plus countries across six continents.
Neovia was founded in 1987 as Caterpillar Logistics Services, providing services for the heavy equipment giant and its partner companies in construction, mining and other sectors. For over 30 years, it has had an OEM mindset and today solves complex logistics challenges for companies in the automotive, retail, oil and gas, aerospace and technology markets.
‘Zero touch’ management a key requirement and practical reality with IGEL
Hector Cortez, Neovia’s infrastructure manager, explains, “Historically, endpoint dissimilarity was a struggle. Multiple solutions and different hardware types were in use and — with just eight staff in the Workplace Technology team looking after systems globally – the business had limited technical resources to manage it all.”
The project requirements were, therefore, broad ranging and challenging. Neovia Logistics wanted to rationalize and standardized its desktops and implement a solution which was reliable, secure, enabled OS updates to be made on-demand, supported infrastructure outside the corporate WAN, removed the need to have local IT engineer support and allowed existing IT investments to be re-purposed to keep costs to a minimum.
Cortez adds, “We wanted zero dependency and genuine low to zero touch capability at the endpoint — infrastructure that’s easy to manage and ‘plug and play.’ This led us to choose a software-driven hardware agnostic approach to EUC and the selection of IGEL.”
VDI underpins 3PL operations
As a 3PL provider, IT is fundamental to Neovia’s ability to function. In the automotive sector, for example, it provides parts services to dealers on behalf of OEM car brands. So, when a consumer takes his car in for a service and replacement parts are not available, the local garage submits an order which triggers a workflow which Neovia then manages. Specific parts are located in a relevant warehouse, barcodes scanned, warehouse IT and billing systems updated, and parts packaged, labeled and shipped.
Further to a successful proof of concept (PoC), Neovia purchased a range of IGEL solutions. This includes UD2 endpoints, Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) licenses – an innovative software solution which enables its existing x86 PCs and Dell Wyse thin client terminals to be recycled and converted into LINUX-based IGEL endpoints – along with IGEL Cloud Gateway. This allows IGEL endpoints – not on the corporate network – to be connected and managed remotely. In addition, IGEL’s Universal Management Suite (UMS) software is used to administer the whole estate.
For its VDI solution, Neovia uses Citrix Workspace running on virtualized servers. Tevon Malone, Neovia IT end-user computing engineer, says, “We’re delivering applications and personalized virtual desktops to all warehouse staff and contractors via Citrix. Staff then access a range of applications like SAP, Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business for video conferencing.”
To deliver this multimedia, IGEL’s UD2 endpoints support Citrix HDX – a remote display protocol required to stream high definition film, audio and other applications over a network to any device.
With a central datacenter located in North Carolina, Neovia Logistics operates a high performance MPLS network to connect its geographically dispersed warehouse sites, with Citrix NetScaler application delivery controllers used to load balance, secure and optimize network traffic.
Software-defined endpoints ideal for a global business like Neovia Logistics
IGEL’s technology delivers many benefits:
- The UMS is user friendly and feature-rich making the whole IGEL environment easy to centrally manage which includes patching and major updates. Malone explains, “I control the whole corporate system from my desk in Texas using the UMS and, as lead admin, can delegate access roles. UMS means we now have the single pane of glass into our desktop environment and can see what is happening holistically.”
- The UMS also allows the easy provisioning and pre-configuration of new IGEL equipment as legacy desktop equipment is swapped out at warehouse sites. When new endpoints are shipped and plugged into the network, they auto-register with the UMS. This means roll out is quick – literally in minutes – without the necessity to have technically trained staff available. Malone says, “That’s the beauty of IGEL. The transition is so smooth and I can shadow devices and see what the end-users are doing to solve any local issues.”
- The UDC software has given older hardware a new lease of life and meant that Neovia Logistics has avoided buying new desktops – keeping costs to a minimum and ‘sweating’ its investment in existing IT much further;
- Security has been maximized as IGEL’s Linux OS is ‘read only’. This ensures warehouse staff cannot make changes to the endpoints locally or introduce security vulnerabilities;
- Reliability is much better than the previous desktops deployed and uptime has significantly improved. Furthermore, the IGEL endpoints ‘boot up’ much faster which increases the productivity of staff as they can get on with their work quicker;
- The IGEL OS is flexible and is being used as part of electronic wallboard and kiosk solutions currently being implemented. The electronic wallboards are used at each warehouse location to display real-time reporting systems. These show goods moving in and out, stock levels, deliveries against orders, the status against client SLAs and other important data. Other kiosk type solutions being developed will offer Internet access for staff – using Mozilla FireFox and Chrome – via IGEL endpoints.
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