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Success Story - Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc.

Architects and Engineers dedicated to Building Community

Success Story – Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc.

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Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc. — Architects and Engineers dedicated to Building Community.

VDI solution gives 200+ creative professionals the freedom to work from anywhere, on multiple devices with Autodesk applications.

Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc. (PSC) brings the roll-up-your-sleeves and get-to-work ethic that you expect from a trusted partner on high-priority architecture and engineering projects. They are passionate about Building Communities from West Texas, where they got their start, to major metropolitan areas across the Southwestern U.S. and beyond.

Because they build lasting relationships with their clients, they understand their communities’ challenges from securing capital funding to managing life cycle operational costs. Whether it’s a high-profile infrastructure project with broad geographic reach or a local community investment project, their experts will deliver innovative solutions to your complex problems and help make your vision a reality.

Beginning-to-Ongoing Service Optimizes Your Value

This multidiscipline architecture and engineering firm has more than 300 creative professional, technical, and support personnel committed to providing collaborative, innovative services from conceptualization to operation. PSC serves the public sector through local, state, and federal governmental entities and pre-kindergarten through higher education institutions. Additionally, they serve healthcare providers, faith-based organizations, and commercial clients in the private sector.

Challenge

Integrating a true Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution into the traditional workspace initiates a centralized digital commons that will revolutionize creative interaction. It also introduces a manageable IT environment that will secure design data better and improve remote working capabilities for large, dispersed teams.

With nine offices across Texas and New Mexico, PSC decided to investigate virtualization as a potential solution to complement their growing workflow demands. The team at PSC initially invested in two servers with NVIDIA GRID K2s. Using their in-house IT resources, they built up the Citrix infrastructure and implemented their software stack across five core disciplines within the firm. This Proof of Concept (POC) was mostly successful save for a few performance issues. Recognizing the potential, PSC fully investigated implementing a complete VDI solution. That’s when PSC reached out for third-party support. Having researching leading service providers and seeking advice from the community and Autodesk, PSC found IMSCAD Global, a UK-based firm that specializes in virtual deploying graphical software.

Although IMSCAD is based in the UK, they remotely accessed PSC’s servers and worked closely with PSC engineers to see what could be done to improve performance and deliver a working POC for up to 25 PSC users. IMSCAD and PSC rebuilt the Citrix infrastructure and interface and iteratively user tested the solution on Windows 10 desktops with applications like Autodesk’s Revit, AutoCAD, and Civil 3D, Sketchup, Bentley, and other graphics-intensive applications with add-ins. The results were encouraging. PSC took this POC and conducted a full-scale replacement for over 200 users.

Solution

IMSCAD assisted PSC in specifying the physical elements that would enable the production desktops to flourish. With critical assets at stake, it was essential that the number of physical servers offered the necessary storage space. With sound advice from IMSCAD, PSC purchased 6x physical servers with Nvidia M60s, supported by PSC’s 3Par storage array. PSC’s IT team provisioned the servers and storage.

IMSCAD configured and optimized all host servers and migrated the POC environment to production infrastructure while PSC tailored their master images for specific disciplines. This culminated in a new, robust, fully functional environment optimized for PSC’s demanding workflow. PSC moved confidently from a 25-user POC straight into deployment for over 200 users.

PSC’s vision and drive combined with IMSCAD’s experience and knowledge of hundreds of global virtual delivery deployments of this type made this project possible.

Testing each application and add-in with users ensured a user-friendly final design that centralizes creative production among PCS’s dispersed teams. They can now communicate dynamically from any of their offices. IT management costs are down too since IMSCAD and PSC laid a solid foundations from the start with relevant hardware and sustainable processes. The VDI system is now accessible to all PSC team members and is used regularly for easy communication among professionals and with clients alike.

"The key to any deployment of this nature is to take one step at a time, build a robust POC environment capable of scaling up to production, and work closely with users to ensure performance is right before moving forward. We helped PSC move forward more quickly than they would have on their own. They are a pleasure to work with and a great example of how to get it right and of course how IMSCAD can work with customers to pass on that knowledge and experience from initial POC to getting the correct hardware in place, but the lesson here is if you are thinking about a virtual environment the key is to work with a specialist."
Paul Murphy, IMSCAD Global - Head of Engineering.

"IMSCAD’s knowledge of the Citrix platform and multiple software packages was evident throughout the process. This information as well as their contacts with hardware manufacturers enabled PSC to get into production quickly, all while working remotely from their offices in the UK. The implementation has changed our company for the better, and their continued support of the system has been very valuable to our staff."
Brian Irlbeck, Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc. – CFO

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