Citrix fuels IT cost savings at Petronet

Johannesburg, 02 Jun 2004

Petronet, a South African state-owned company that owns, operates, manages and maintains a 3 000km network of high-pressure petroleum and gas pipelines, has shown a 75% cost saving on its computer maintenance costs since implementing Citrix MetaFrame XP Presentation Server for Windows, an access infrastructure software solution from Citrix Systems, Inc.

Petronet brought in arivia.kom, a Silver Citrix Solution Advisor, to assist with its move to an enterprise access infrastructure based on Microsoft Windows 2000, Terminal Services and Citrix MetaFrame XP Presentation Server.

Says Daniel Ncwane, IT manager at Petronet: "Our primary objectives were to implement a cost-effective application delivery platform that would enable Petronet to reduce support and maintenance costs related to PCs, centralise configuration and control of applications, and increase data security."

Petronet has its head office based in Durban and 30 remote offices throughout SA. According to Ncwane, it was a logistical nightmare servicing all IT needs for all remote locations.

"We realised that with hardware having such a short lifespan it would make more sense implementing Citrix and using thin client terminals for accessing information. Citrix has become the cement for our servers and terminals," he says.

"In addition to cost savings on desktop hardware from purchasing 400 IBM terminal devices instead of desktop workstations, we have reduced our maintenance costs by 75%. As terminal devices are less complex and have no moving parts it costs us less to maintain them. Also, the need to visit the end-user in both head office and remote locations has been significantly reduced, as application installation, upgrades and administration are done on the servers and not the workstation."

According to Ncwane, with Citrix, Petronet`s IT division doesn`t have to manage its desktops and servers manually.

"In the past we had to physically go to the servers and desktops to move or add users, or distribute software updates. Due to the features of Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server, applications are now published to specific users as and when they are required, and application software updates and patches are controlled centrally, reducing the need to visit local desktops," he explains.

Centralised configuration and control of applications were of great importance to Petronet, due to the remote geographical distribution of sites. With the Citrix solution the state-owned company can ensure new applications or application updates are deployed quickly to all users.

Currently there are 270 Citrix users accessing applications such as MS Office, MS Exchange, SAP and Oracle, with plans in place to add 130 users during 2004, once custom applications such as CAD have been centralised on MetaFrame Presentation Server.

Petronet also found some additional benefits from implementing the Citrix solution related to security, local and remote printing, as well as bandwidth.

"Securing data travelling over the network, as well as finding a way to limit the loss of information from the company were added benefits of Citrix. There were occasions where we had privileged information leaving the company through documents copied onto disks. Due to the fact that terminal devices do not have disk drives - all information is stored on the servers - users cannot copy and take information away on disks," he says.

Since the Citrix implementation, Petronet experienced a virus attack that was brought in by a laptop user. According to Ncwane, those users not using Citrix were badly hit and down for three days, whereas those using Citrix were not affected at all.

"Usually users need to have a desktop to print, but because the desktop was replaced with thin clients, we needed to install print servers to make printing possible and Citrix was the only access infrastructure solution allowing us to do so."

A final benefit Petronet found was that Citrix would also improve application performance over its current network (WAN) bandwidth. This meant that Petronet would not have to purchase any additional bandwidth, which is very costly, when going the Citrix route.



Citrix Systems, Inc (Nasdaq:CTXS) is the global leader in access infrastructure solutions and the most trusted name in enterprise access. Citrix software enables people in businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions to securely, easily and instantly access the on-demand enterprise, from anywhere, anytime, using any device, over any connection. Nearly 50 million people in more than 120 000 organisations rely on the Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite to do their jobs. Citrix customers include 100% of the Fortune 100 companies, 99% of the Fortune 500, and 92% of the Fortune Global 500. Based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Citrix has offices in 22 countries, and more than 7 000 channel and alliance partners in more than 100 countries. For more information, visit

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Lianie Botha
Livewired Communications
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