CASE STUDY: Forthright leverages itopia Cloud Automation Stack to Lift, Shift and Modernize Desktop and App Delivery from Google Cloud Platform for Finotex
Written by Karin Kelley on Jan 24, 2019
Forthright Technology Partners is a leading provider of solutions and services that leverages industry leading technologies to enable high availability and exceptional end user experience. Forthright’s AIM methodology ensures success by guiding the customer through an end-to-end process starting with advisory services, followed by implementation, backed by an industry first, Solution Warranty maintained by Enterprise Managed Services. Forthright is Google Cloud Service Partner.
Founded in 1984, Miami, FL-based Finotex manufactures labels for designer apparel companies such as Levi’s. The company has over 600 employees in its manufacturing operations in eight locations throughout Latin America and Asia. Finotex specializes in woven and printed labels, jacquard ribbons, as well as thermal printing solutions, heat transfers, paper products, eco-friendly products and anti-counterfeit solutions. The company is the largest woven and printed label producer in the Western Hemisphere.
Finotex is facing significant challenges dues to major disruption in the retail industry, In order to stay competitive in the market, the company needed to reduce costs and improve performance. To enable their large and dispersed workforce, they had previously been using Citrix and VMware technologies co-located in a third-party datacenter and managed by Forthright Technology Partners. The company’s contract with the colocation provider and software from Citrix and VMware were approaching end-of-life, so Forthright started looking for a cloud-based alternative. They evaluated Microsoft Azure, but the cost/benefit analysis didn’t add up. AWS also was ruled out because both the cost and the lack of automation and orchestration for deployment and management.
Ultimately, Forthright migrated Finotex to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with the cloud VDI lifecycle management tool Forthright leverages—based on itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS) software. As a strategic Technology Partner for Google Cloud, itopia’s CAS modernizes the desktop delivery of legacy apps on GCP. CAS’ cloud orchestration and management capabilities and GCP’s unparalleled network speeds were key drivers behind the decision. During the 600-seat deployment, a majority of Finotex’s servers deployed in GCP were upgraded from Windows 2012 to 2016. The company was able to consolidate the amount of servers required for the environment leveraging itopia’s approach to VDI that relies on Microsoft Remote Desktop Services instead of legacy VDI which requires a dedicated server for each user. The environment utilizes multiple availability zones in GCP in the US and Latin America. Forthright also leverages the server uptime scheduling capabilities of the SaaS offering to stagger user sessions according to their working hours, and autoscaling to spin infrastructure resources up or down based on business demand. Regular snapshots have been scheduled for recovery purposes. In addition, the company also leverages GCP Custom Machine Types to configure servers with the exact amount of RAM and CPU required.
By migrating from Citrix to Google Cloud with itopia CAS, Forthright has been able to completely eliminate much of the hardware overhead (Netscaler, for instance), or as the company states, the “Citrix bloat” in the Finotex deployment. With the server uptime scheduling capabilities, Forthright has been able to reduce infrastructure costs by well into double digits. The SaaS also makes it much easier to spin up new applications quickly and manage user profiles and policies from a single dashboard. By leveraging Google Cloud’s highly scalable and elastic infrastructure in multiple availability zones, the company no longer needs to overprovision resources to achieve the required business continuity. Network performance is also much faster, making for a better end user experience. In addition, disaster recovery is now a breeze due to regularly scheduled snapshots that have been put in place. Finally, the company is taking advantage of the “insights” module, which enables them to see statistics on how resources are being utilized to make more informed tweaks to the environment as needed to reduce costs further and improve performance.