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Radisson SAS opts for thin IT

The Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts have deployed Citrix Metaframe based thin client solutions in their Sharjah, Jeddah and Riyadh operations. Information is now centralised by the hotel chain's IT operations in DMC, which promises to reduce IT administration costs.

Three Citrix Metaframe based thin client solutions have been deployed by Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts that is a part of Rezidor SAS Hospitality, in their Sharjah, Jeddah and Riyadh operations.

The Citrix Access Information now centralised by the Radisson SAS IT operations in Dubai Media City (DMC) allows instant application deployment, access to legacy applications and online support to increase employee productivity and reduce overall IT costs.

Radisson currently operates 435 hotels, representing more than 102,000 guest rooms in 61 countries, with another 30 projects under development with several across the Middle East.

Essentially, providing the right information at the right time and place is very critical to the employees across their area of operations. After extensive analysis, The Radisson SAS Hotel decided to implement Citrix Metaframe Presentation Server to streamline and centralise access protocols and apps, which earlier ran on multiple networks.

“End-user access to applications was difficult to manage, and support was a tedious exercise,” explains Fraidy Pinto, regional manager IT, Rezidor SAS (Radisson SAS). “We had two LANs with separate serial connections that end-users utilised to access mission critical applications that ran on multiple operating systems ranging from Linux, Novell, Windows and other POS systems. These in turn were accessed through multiple TCP/IP protocols, all of which reduced performance and manageability.”

Post deployment, Radisson SAS’s ‘front-line’ employees can now immediately access back office applications directly from their desktops with an increase in employee productivity. “We did not have to rip and replace any part of our existing infrastructure during deployment which safeguarded our prior technology investments and at the same time, were able to raise employee performance rates by a huge margin,” continues Pinto.

Solutions Middle East, the regional partner of Citrix started off the implementation in the hotel chain’s resort in Sharjah. “We can now strictly control what end-users can and cannot access by customising and providing them with accessibility levels. This will help us maintain bandwidth efficiency levels by preventing the use of 'heavy' apps at the desktop level and unproductive internet usage,” he says.

The Radisson SAS IT department along with the vendor were involved in the implementation of Metaframe XP Presentation Server, which was completed with minimum downtime. An application access layer (ACL) made up of two Citrix Servers at each site was installed between Radisson SAS legacy applications and some 150 clients across three locations.

“This was truly one of the simple and quick implementations we have carried out. We deployed two servers to make sure we had no load balancing issues and that backups were always available on either server if one went off-line,” says Minosh Salam, product manager - Enterprise Access Solutions at Solution Middle East, Dubai.

End-users now connect through one unified protocol on a virtual private network (VPN) to access relevant information on applications such as Fidelio and Scala, as well as Microsoft Office applications. All applications accessed at the clients’ side actually run on the servers to save valuable memory space and reduce support issues. Network administrators are enabled to access client PCs for any support or upgrade related issues.

The Citrix ACL also secures the VPN architecture while at the same time making manageability and scalability centralised. End-user technical support, which was a serious resource drainer, has now become a straight-forward process.

“Our technical support professionals can now shadow end-users remotely to solve any issues and can deploy security patches and software upgrade instantaneously across the whole network, regardless of geographical location. We have seen support calls drop dramatically, which had immediate effects on our technology costs,” says Pinto.

The Radisson SAS IT team now plans to extend the solution to incorporate all news desktop requirements, which come as a result of business growth and new hires. The solution will also incorporate any new Radisson SAS developments in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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