Croatian Post is a large government organization responsible for mail delivery throughout the Republic of Croatia. With more than 9,500 employees across 1,000-plus offices, Croatian Post facilitates half a billion customer transactions each year. In addition to traditional postal delivery, the government organization provides customers with a wide range of products and services, including financial services, cable offerings, and retail goods.
The challenge: Optimizing highly distributed environment to speed services and streamline maintenance
With a highly distributed IT environment and large variety of goods and services, Croatian Post was struggling to maintain its discrete server installations and aging thin-client software. Deploying new services was time consuming and it increased demands on IT teams. Croatian Post needed to centralize its IT infrastructure so it could reduce these maintenance demands and costs as well as the time it took to deploy new applications and services.
The solution: Centralizing IT infrastructure and virtualizing applications for faster delivery
With a suite of Citrix solutions and help from IT service provider Combis, Croatian Post centralized all its data and applications in its IT infrastructure and reduced IT costs. Combined with Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenMobile, Citrix NetScaler Gateway and Citrix NetScaler App Delivery Controller help with application load-balancing for a consistent user experience across the organization. As a result, Croatian Post was able to implement changes to its IT environment without disturbing employees with unwanted process changes. In addition, Citrix NetScaler helped establish an active-active data center backup environment to maximize usage of both Croatian Post’s primary and backup sites.
XenDesktop delivers desktop virtualization across all of Croatian Post’s branch locations, allowing automatic updates of employee desktops and application usage monitoring. XenMobile provides mobile device management capabilities that ensure proper support and monitoring of tablet devices deployed to mobile staff.
With more than 2,000 versions of thin clients to manage, NetScaler App Delivery Controller and NetScaler Gateway help Croatian Post centralize and optimize the application performance of all of its multigenerational legacy systems. “All applications Croatian Post has, or ever will have, will be delivered via Citrix,” says Igor Dužević, head of virtualization and cloud operations at Combis. “Not one single application was left out of the project’s scope.”
Because of its innovative IT deployment, operational success, and cost-savings, Croatian Post received a joint award with Combis and Citrix for “CIO of the Year for Best IT Project in Public Sector in 2014” from research firm IDC Croatia.
Speeding delivery of critical new services
Using XenDesktop, Croatian Post can roll out new applications supporting its wide-ranging set of services in a matter of hours. That’s because Croatian Post’s centralized infrastructure now provides IT staff with a single point of system access for better management. Before the Citrix solution, the IT team had to manually deploy every new application at each of Croatian Post’s more than 1,000 locations, taking weeks or even months to complete.
Reducing maintenance costs and time
After centralizing all of its applications into a single data center using the Citrix solution and help from Combis, Croatian Post no longer needs individual servers at each of its branches, thereby eliminating branch-related capacity problems. The new infrastructure also reduces equipment failures, increases uptime, and cuts maintenance costs.
Croatian Post calculates that its centralized IT infrastructure saves the organization $100,000 annually in electricity costs. In fact, Croatian Post expects a full return on its investment within six to seven years as a result of these utility savings.
Virtualizing 2,000 desktops using XenDesktop helps reduce the burden on IT teams. An updated desktop image that is automatically available for every user simultaneously eliminates the need for time-consuming, branch-by-branch system updates.
Protecting data with an innovative backup approach
Croatian Post deploys Citrix NetScaler in two data centers to provide global server load balancing and a data backup process that uses an innovative active-active approach. Unlike traditional disaster recovery deployments, which consist of an active-passive model, Croatian Post’s active-active model on two fully functioning data centers provides operational support for all Croatian Post offices. This allows Croatian Post to make full business use of its secondary data center site, while unburdening the primary site.
Now that Combis has addressed Croatian Post’s infrastructure, security, and business demands with the Citrix solution, Croatian Post credits Citrix with being a core contributor to its business success. “IT budget can now be used for development projects instead of maintenance of the existing environments,” says Dubravko Mihalić, director of IT infrastructure at Croatian Post. “Employees assigned for maintaining this solution are more productive since they spend a lot less time on maintenance itself and can focus on other development projects.” As Croatian Post grows with new branches, its Citrix infrastructure will also expand to support emerging business demands.
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