BT Case Study

BT Connected Science implements Open Virtual Desktop

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BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. The BT Connected Science portfolio provides managed IT services to support the life sciences value chain. Pharmaceutical companies, contract research and other biotech organizations around the globe rely on BT solutions to support their business.

The Challenge

Within a highly regulated and changing industry, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies are continually striving to improve the value they offer to their customers. There is a critical need to get safe, effective medicines to market faster. From early R&D through to clinical trials, licensing, manufacturing, sales and marketing, there is a heavy reliance on the efficient and secure exchange of information. In fact, collaboration between organisations is now a key enabler. However, the barriers to meeting IT demands are many, not the least of which are up-front costs, speed of implementation, security and compliance.

The Vision

In identifying the challenges faced by the industry, the Connected Science team within BT Global Services realized that the requirements of a solution went far beyond that of a simple shared web portal. To improve time-to-market, pharma companies need to take advantage of the power and flexibility of cloud computing. This includes using technologies such as computer simulation or ‘in silico’ studies to accelerate research. Security of data and information confidentiality are also paramount as is the need to manipulate very large data sets. Their resulting vision was to create a customizable, flexible and scalable cloud based service. A service that would extend and connect teams across geographic and organisational boundaries, allowing them to upload documents, share files, quickly access familiar applications and run complex computational tasks in an intuitive environment.

The Solution

To realize their vision, the team required a delivery platform that presented BT’s Workbench Informatics solution as a ‘single pane of glass’. The solution needed to enable access, from any browser equipped device, to environments tailored to meet the exact needs of their target clients. Inuvika’s Open Virtual Desktop was selected as the access mechanism into BT’s Cloud Compute infrastructure, for its ability to deliver a common platform for remote and secure access to large-scale projects. The Workbench Informatics solution effectively ‘airlocks‘ data to the data centre while providing access, in a matter of seconds, to data sets that extend to several petabytes. This enables team members to collaborate while meeting strict regulatory requirements.

Peter Shaw, Head of Partner Development at BT Connected Science said, “OVD gives us the ability to recreate, in the cloud, the same Windows or Linux desktop look and feel, pre-loaded with the Windows and/or Linux applications and datasets that scientists are familiar with. These environments are secure, easy to use and very scalable.”

BT's primary selection criteria for their virtualization technology partner was the ability of the partner to be flexible in the development and support required to integrate the solution. Mr. Shaw commented, “Inuvika’s Open Source-as-a-Service approach helped us to tailor the platform to meet our specific needs and eased integration of other technologies.” From a service deployment point, Mr. Shaw also commented, “OVD has minimal if any requirement for customers to amend firewall configurations. There’s no need for the installation of client device software and we have the ability to lock down desktop integration with remote client environments. Also, the user group membership capability makes management and provisioning of user access to data and applications very simple.” With the help of Inuvika OVD, BT’s connected science vision became an even stronger proposition.