Greenland Airport Authority (Mittarfeqarfiit), which is an enterprise under Greenland's autonomy is an extremely distributed business: Two international airports, 11 regional airports, six heliports and 40 helistops. The individual workplaces ranges from a single lane and four employees to the international airport in Kangerlussuaq (Kangerlussuaq), which is Greenland's main airport and employs about 425 employees.
The Internet-related challenges in Greenland are huge: places up to Nuuk have access to the North Atlantic submarine cable, which also serves the United States and Iceland. But from Nuuk and up along the west coast's Internet traffic based on radio links, where the signals are transmitted via transmitters / receivers in the line-of-sight all the way up the coast. For plethora operation becomes disturbed by cosmic radiation once a month. The result is that Internet traffic is slow, expensive and vulnerable.
"These conditions caused issues at the Greenland Airport Authority and up until 2011 it had a completely decentralized solution: airports, helipads or helistops had its own file and mail servers," says IT manager Ole Lindhardt.
IT-wise each location was vulnerable, for the vast majority of places there was no real IT people. Responsibility stood with airport managers and head of operations at individual locations – these people were skilled at aviation in extreme conditions, but not IT trained. "If a location saw the crash, the kit was prepared and sent to Nuuk to be serviced there. This was, of course, time consuming and cumbersome. And when locations needed hardware or software updating, it required an individual technician to be flown around."
"Added to this, the overall solution very heterogeneous: Different types of servers and PCs, as well as different browsers, operating systems and versions, even in cases where they had the same programs. Moreover, it was not always transparent, where important files were," explains Ole Lindhardt.
Greenland Airport Authority could therefore see great potential in establishing a central solution.
Therefore, from 2013 onwards, established Greenland Airports gradually transitioned onto a central Citrix-based solution; Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenApp and Citrix ShareFile where all data was situated in Nuuk.
"We could reuse some computers to log in. In addition, we acquired approximately 80 thin clients and laptops to airport managers and operations managers who travelled frequently. Some places, such as in workshops, one PC and one login was sufficient to cover 4-5 employees who did not have as large IT need,” says Ole Lindhardt.
The solution is characterized by the special features that characterize the Internet traffic Greenland:
"Our IT department has fine-tuned some things in the solution so that it corresponds to the conditions. Screens are displayed in fewer colors than normal, to thereby reduce the time it takes to transfer information considerably. And, similarly, the clock is removed, so that no bandwidth is used every second to update it. In addition, we set some limits for each employee, such as restricting use of online radio or Youtube. The reason is that this would otherwise withdraw excessive WAN traffic that goes beyond the Citrix performance.”
"Initially the users felt themselves limited, but little by little they realised the benefits: The solution works. There are no crashes or virus attacks, and at the individual locations you no longer contend with manual updates, especially airport managers and operating managers are happy.
"From the IT department, we are pleased to have overall control of both hardware and software, so we no longer have different software in different airports. Moreover, it is nice that security is centralized - an area where we often experienced problems in the past.
"Overall, Greenland Airport Authority has become more efficient and have really had it as a common basis. And our central Citrix solution has also given us an overview of the company's total consumption, which has made it possible to establish contracts and thereby save money," says Ole Lindhardt.
Greenland Airport Authority plans to test Citrix CloudBridge.
"With such low bandwidth that we have in Greenland, it is hoped that through CloudBridge this would allow cache functionalities with particular documents which are frequently sent," says Ole Lindhardt.
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