UK Snowfall, home working and virtual desktops

As you may be aware, the UK has recently been subject to some of the coldest weather and heaviest snowfall we have experienced in many year.. while it is not a lot snow compared to what other countries experience, our lack of resources available to clear to snow from the roads has confined thousands and thousands of people to their house, including myself. 

During this time my inability to simply get to work got me thinking about all the (simple) things we take for granted, whether that be the car starts in the morning, the coffee machine works or the PC powers on.  We also take for granted in the most part that we can either get into the office in the car / public transport or that the DSL / broadband connection at home is always on.

So, with the snow that we have been hit with, we were into going into “survival mode” where we stay at home and make the best use of the technologies that our strategists “forced us” us to consider some 12 months back – for example, this thing called hosted Virtual Desktops.  The AppSense business has for long made use of the Server Based Computing technology (with Citrix XenApp) since the day it was born, but only recently has a significant part of the power and knowledge based users of the workforce been able to use this “new stuff” – desktop virtualization. 

It is only now when we can take the benefit of looking back over the last week we can see that it just worked – our users had little complaints because their desktop(s) were still available,  even when at home on their kids gaming PC – OK, so there was a complaint or two about the low quality seat that they had purchased for their children to use while gaming, but the business can hardly be made accountable to those kinds of things?!  Strange though that the local stores have had a surge in deliveries of office chairs to households this past couple of days… 

Anyway, back to it, the only other issue area the AppSense IT team had to deal with was a user who lost telecoms at his home, along with all of his neighbours.  SO, this user was unable to access his online Virtual Desktop since he had no connectivity.  Again, this was no significant issue since the user in question was (fortunately) supplied with a laptop from the office, which as we here at AppSense eat our own dog food / drink our own champagne comes with AppSense Environment Manager and so all of his applications and personalization information was also available on the offline device as well as in the Virtual Desktop (that he couldn’t use).

Our lessons from this week to belileve  the strategy guys, they after all, were actually responsible for our technology vision and then our IT guys for delivering it using some of the world’s leading Desktop Virtualization software from Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and of course AppSense all coming together to enable my colleagues and I to continue working from remote locations around the country..

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