The race to public cloud infrastructure and services is all very well, but speed isn’t everything. Because the faster businesses want to get there, the more they should expect to scrap their current technology.

Taking slower steps to public cloud platforms allows businesses to cherry-pick services, while applying temporary low-cost solutions to preserve legacy technology until the time is right for a complete transformation.

The first baby-boomers are approaching the age where retirement villages are on the radar. But with many sitting on significant capital tied up in their existing homes, they’re looking for better aged care than their predecessors experienced.

As one of New Zealand’s largest owners and operators of retirement villages – with facilities in over 40 locations, including 25 villages, and directly employing 2,500 staff – Oceania Healthcare (Oceania) is mindful of rising customer expectations of care and lifestyle options.

Looking to modernise its core technology platform, Oceania partnered with CCL to transition to the public cloud.

Oceania Healthcare’s staged public cloud transformation with Azure Virtual Desktop

“CCL is good at approaching business tech from different angles – from in-country to the ether, and all things in between.”

Rafat Jalil

General Manager ICT, Oceania Healthcare

Going public

Two years ago, Oceania went live on M365, Microsoft’s productivity applications cloud. It was the company’s first foray into public cloud services, setting in motion a staged lift and shift of applications from an in-country Citrix virtual desktop environment to the public cloud.

With its resident care management system running on Azure, Oceania kept the ball rolling with SharePoint, Exchange Online, Teams, and Modern Device Management. Next in line were legacy finance application Dynamics AX and several line of business applications.

However, a number of these legacy applications weren’t ripe for simple reactivation in the public cloud. The situation required a technology setup to serve as a bridge between Oceania’s new launching point in Azure and 400-plus users who expected a seamless Windows 10 experience.

Azure Virtual Desktop runs legacy apps in the cloud

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD, formerly known as Windows Virtual Desktop) was selected for the job. The desktop and app virtualisation service runs in the cloud, delivering virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for multi-session Windows 10 environments, with built-in security and compliance controls.

CCL led the programme, working with Oceania to identify applications and capacity requirements for a WVD production pilot. Next steps included the WVD master image, configuration, and deployment to nominated end users, via Intune, for user acceptance testing.

Down the track, Oceania expects to move away from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365, and switch to cloud-based payroll. These developments will lighten the load on WVD, though with a good number of thin-client machines scattered across its operations, the company expects to preserve the virtual delivery mechanism to extend the reach of other applications to all corners of its network.

Rafat Jalil, Oceania’s general manager ICT, says public cloud provides more direct ownership and control of its applications, but a savvy local partner is vital to transition and a prerequisite for operating a lean internal IT team.

“In true hybrid fashion, CCL works just as well in-country as it does in public cloud,” he says. “Their legacy of work in infrastructure services puts a more practical lens on making the leap to public cloud when it’s most sensible, squeezing more from what you’ve got.”

At a glance

Azure Virtual Desktop with CCL management and monitoring smarts:

  • Present a real Windows 10 desktop experience supporting multiple active users on the same VMs
  • Configure virtual desktop scenarios optimised for Office 365 services, with full Teams video and audio functionality, and a reliable connection to OneDrive
  • Migrate Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments with simple management and deployment options on Azure
  • Forget about infrastructure and perimeter security – CCL takes care of the complexities

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