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How SDL Leveraged Nasuni to Shift to an All-Remote Global Workforce

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, SDL, the world’s leading intelligent language and content company, needed to quickly transition to an all-remote workforce. That meant setting up 1,500 globally distributed employees with virtual desktops that would allow them to work remotely.

They got it done in a weekend, thanks to Nasuni.

Here’s John Flynn, Head of Technical Architecture at SDL: “Nasuni was essential in our transition to an all-remote workforce as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. Thanks to Nasuni and Amazon WorkSpaces, we were able to set up virtual desktops for 1,500 essential employees over a weekend.”

A few months ago, we wrote about how COVID-19 was accelerating cloud VDI adoption. Enterprises were eager for technology that could maintain employee productivity and deploying Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in the cloud was an appealing option. The catch, as we explained, is that you can’t really reap the benefits of cloud VDI without modernizing your file storage. Those virtual desktops will have poor performance if they have to connect back to your on-prem infrastructure to access files.

Cloud file storage changes that. With cloud file storage, file data remains close to those virtual desktops, and your end users enjoy the kind of performance they expect.

Now that we’re sixteen weeks into the pandemic, companies are starting to understand the long-term value of cloud VDI file storage. At first, everyone just wanted to get their emergency desktops up and running. But none of us are rushing back into the office, so enterprises are now thinking about how to optimize these environments for the long haul. Cloud VDI isn’t just a stopgap solution. It’s starting to look like the smart path forward, but if your file data remains anchored to traditional infrastructure, you’re just not going to get the performance or productivity you need.

SDL didn’t need to worry about any of that.

We’re excited to share this particular customer story, but before I get into more details, here’s a little more about SDL. The company works with 90 of the globe’s top brands, translating around 302 billion words per year. To get this work done, SDL employs 1,400 in-house linguists, plus engineers, testers, and content management experts.

The company’s staff was working out of 63 offices worldwide when COVID-19 hit. Like so many other large enterprises, SDL needed to find a way to continue delivering its services as its globally distributed employees worked remotely.

SDL’s secret weapon was Nasuni. The intelligent language and content company has been a valued Nasuni client for several years, so SDL’s file data was already in the cloud. The next step was virtualizing the desktops that needed to access those files. SDL chose Amazon WorkSpaces and quickly deployed 1,500 virtual desktops in the cloud along with cloud-based access to file shares. By caching frequently accessed files in the same AWS data centers as the virtual WorkSpaces desktops, Nasuni eliminates the latency and bandwidth problems that plague most cloud VDI deployments.

The case study has all the details, including four advantages of deploying Nasuni and cloud VDI. One of the value points we don’t discuss in the case study, however, is cost. 

Nasuni delivers better cloud VDI file storage at significantly lower cost. By consolidating file data in scalable, low-cost AWS, Azure, or Google object storage and by eliminating the need for file backup and replication, you’ll save about 50% compared to the cost of traditional NetApp or EMC NAS, Windows file servers, or VM disk storage in the cloud. You’ll also cut down on operational costs as well – a benefit that Nasuni VP of Technical Marketing Tom Rose details well in his piece on Nasuni and Cloud VDI.

Take a look at the SDL case study, and keep checking back for new customer stories. We have many more on the way.

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