Gunsan City Hall is the administrative center of Gunsan, a large city on the west coast of South Korea. The institution manages bureaus for local government administration, port economies, resident living support, construction, and transport. Its 71 departments also operate public service centers for public health, agriculture, water and sewage, and facility management.
In May 2010, Gunsan City Hall began a trial of a virtualized server-based desktop environment to replace 100 of its 1,700 personal computers (PCs) to confirm the system’s interoperability and compatibility with key software and the existing IT environment. It extended the system to another 400 PCs during phase two of the virtualization project in November 2011 and plans to virtualize the remaining 1,200 work PCs by 2013. As a result, the institution expects to save around US$90,000 (100 million KRW) of taxpayers’ money each year in energy, travel, and fuel costs.
Gunsan City Hall provides the city’s residents with a variety of public services. Residents can register births, deaths, marriages, cars, construction equipment, in addition to filing tax returns. They can also request passports and various licenses and permits. However, the institution was struggling to maintain a stable information technology (IT) infrastructure capable of handling its various public service procedures and millions of sensitive public records, which contained residents’ contact details, tax information, and family histories. It needed to increase the security of residents’ personal information handled on its administrative PCs, and to centralize security control procedures.
In addition, Gunsan City Hall had to replace around 300 PCs each year. A single round of replacements took three to four months, which lowered staff productivity and affected asset management processes. Having PCs at fixed locations also prevented the institution from initiating flexible working schemes for staff, such as for those who are on-call, work remotely, and telecommute.
Gunsan City Hall provides public PCs to help educate residents about IT. However, the PCs were often damaged, and it took up to three hours to reformat data and reinstall software after each IT education course. In addition, it took up to one working day to repair IT system faults, either at the city hall or at any of the institution’s regional public offices.
Finally, Gunsan City Hall wanted to implement a low-carbon, green IT initiative and reduce the energy consumed by 1,700 administrative PCs. Reducing its number of PCs would also improve its office environments by reducing heat, dust, and noise emissions.
Gunsan City Hall’s new virtualized IT environment is based on Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Oracle Sun Fire X4170 M2 and Sun Blade X6270 M2 servers, and several Sun ZFS Storage Appliances. Oracle Solaris 10 provides the institution’s operating system. It uses Oracle Sun Ray 3 Clients as user terminals.
The infrastructure has reformed the Gunsan City Hall’s existing public administrative system. The institution implemented a virtual desktop environment for the 1,700 PCs that consumed the most electricity during administrative tasks. It now expects to save around US$90,000 (100 million KRW) of taxpayers’ money each year in energy, travel, and fuel costs.
“One hundred Oracle Sun Ray 3 Clients consume only 112 kilowatts of electricity each day, about half the energy consumption of 100 of our legacy work PCs,” said Cha Jeong-hee, information and communications officer, Gunsan City Hall. “Also, as Oracle’s Sun Ray 3 Clients hardly generate any heat compared to normal PCs, they lower the ambient temperature inside offices by 3.6 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 5 degrees Celsius), which also saves money on air-conditioning.
“Moreover, if previously there was a system fault at one of our regional offices, we’d have to dispatch personnel to the site for troubleshooting and recovery,” Jeong-hee continued. “The virtualized environment now enables us to carry out repair tasks remotely from city hall, which means travel and fuel costs will also be reduced.”
Like people everywhere, Gunsan residents do not want their personal information to be leaked. To ensure this does not happen and to increase public confidence in its systems, Gunsan City Hall reinforced the security of administrative PCs.
By implementing a virtualized desktop environment with Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Gunsan City Hall has significantly strengthened the security of residents’ personal information, such as family and tax records.
“Previously, it was difficult to restrict or respond to unauthorized access of user terminals and individual PCs,” said Jeong-hee. “By introducing smart cards and personal ID numbers for the virtualized desktops, we’ve reduced the risk of potential data leaks from end users, and reinforced how we control restricted access for every public service and administration application.”
Gunsan City Hall has further reduced the risk of hacking or information leaks by installing antihacking software recommended by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security on systems and desktops hosted by Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
“We now manage and control how we access and use important data belonging to Gunsan residents more transparently than ever before,” said Jeong-hee.
One of the key benefits of the virtualization project for Gunsan City Hall has been the increase in the work efficiency of its technical staff. Implementing the virtual desktop environment enabled Gunsan City Hall to abolish a time-consuming 12-phase PC asset management process—which included various budgeting, planning, replacement, installation, and disposal stages—and significantly reduce its fault management time.
The institution has also eliminated the three- to four-month, single-round, PC replacement process. In addition, as the life expectancy of Sun Ray 3 clients is more than 10 years, the institution will save money by avoiding the need to purchase entirely new PCs every four years.
“The virtualization has significantly improved the efficiency of human resources previously wasted on managing the complicated asset management processes and restoring faulty work terminals,” said Jeong-hee.
“Identifying and fixing a system fault took a minimum of three hours, and could take an entire day. With the Oracle virtualized system, there is no need to dispatch personnel to the relevant regional public office to identify and analyze the cause of the fault. Instead, it only takes 20 minutes to analyze and fix a faulty terminal in another location from the city hall,” she said. “The Oracle solutions have superb connectivity and integrity, which enables us to quickly analyze the cause and repair the fault in the event of an error.”
The virtualized desktop’s superior storage back-up capability and stability—provided by Sun ZFS Storage Appliances—has also enabled Gunsan City Hall to operate the system in a stable fashion without any downtime caused by system faults.
In addition, Gunsan City Hall has introduced a new centralized system consisting of Oracle Sun Fire X4170 M2, Sun Blade X6270, and Sun Blade X6270 M2 servers, Sun ZFS Storage Appliances, virtualization software, and Oracle Sun Ray 3 Clients to replace the instructional PCs that are available for public educational use.
The virtualized system prevents Gunsan residents and students from using the facilities incorrectly—such as downloading illegal software—reduces system faults, and increases user satisfaction by providing an identical desktop environment on every terminal. IT technicians can now reformat educational data, reinstall software, and complete system recovery activities in less than 15 minutes for all machines, rather than taking from one to three hours for each machine.
Gunsan City Hall has created a more pleasant work environment for its staff by deploying Oracle Sun Ray 3 Clients with no heat, dust, noise emissions, and tangled network cables between PCs, monitors, and peripheral devices. An internal survey on the virtualization project showed a high level of user satisfaction. Of the 74 staff surveyed, 36 cited, “No more working in a harmful environment,” 26 cited, “More spacious offices,” and 18 cited, “More convenient computer usage environment” as the reason for their satisfaction with the new virtualized system.
Gunsan City Hall has further improved staff welfare and work efficiency by building a smart-work environment, which allows them to access terminals at 71 departments and smart-work sites with identical desktop environments. This has laid foundation for flexible and remote work situations, as staff can work from familiar user interfaces without having to adapt to different systems and applications, or traveling to other offices to access the applications they need. Gunsan City Hall will continue to actively support telecommuting, remote working, and mobile device applications for its staff.
The institution is using several features of Oracle Solaris 10, including Oracle Solaris Containers, DTrace, and Oracle Solaris ZFS, to help with system consolidation in the virtualized environment. DTrace enables Gunsan City Hall to analyze, tune, and modify operating systems without impacting on performance. Oracle Solaris Containers’ built-in virtualization features simplified the implementation, while Oracle Solaris ZFS helped the organization improve manageability.
Gunsan City Hall became the first Korean public institution to centralize its administrative management by implementing server-based computing desktop virtualization, and was subsequently awarded The Ministry of Public Administration and Security Prize at the 2011 Public Sector Informatization Awards. Other local government organizations have also recognized Gunsan City Hall’s innovative business practices and have submitted a stream of requests to the institution for cooperation and case-study presentations.
In the future, Gunsan City Hall plans to add to its innovative virtualized infrastructure to encourage low-carbon green growth, enhance the quality of civilian services, and improve the working environment for its staff.
After completing a selection process, Gunsan City Hall decided on Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, as it would fulfill the institution’s objectives to reduce energy consumption, optimize human resources, strengthen security, and redeploy IT staff to other value-added duties. Gunsan City Hall gave Oracle high marks for stability, performance, and cost efficiency. The solution was also compatible with key software and system infrastructure that the institution was already using for administrative tasks.
“We were impressed that there wasn’t any decrease in network performance, and the virtualized solution could run Korea’s common administration systems, third-party software, and antivirus applications,” said Jeong-hee. “We also liked the solution’s ability to access various relevant government Web sites and the high availability it offered for more than 90% of our applications, including city administration information, asset management, regional human resources management, and other systems.”
Gunsan City Hall chose Oracle Solaris 10 as the operating system for its virtual desktop clients because Oracle developed it from technology used to create the first UNIX operating system with virtualization capability. This meant it was a proven technology for creating stable virtualized environments.
“When creating a virtualized environment that recognizes multiple storage units as a single pool, the stability of the storage units is of utmost importance,” said Jeong-hee. “We chose Oracle Solaris 10 and Sun ZFS Storage Appliances for our virtual desktop environment as they ensure availability and reliability.”
In 2010, Gunsan City Hall completed the first phase of the project, deploying 100 terminals in three months. From the first phase, the city confirmed the system’s interoperability and compatibility with key software and existing infrastructure. It also received positive feedback from staff.
The institution started the second phase of the project in November 2011, expanding the system to 400 PCs. This stage is now complete and the system is currently operating more than 90% of Gunsan City Hall’s work applications.
Gunsan City Hall plans to complete the implementation of 1,700 virtualized desktop environments by 2013.
Oracle Partner Hyosung Information Systems provided initial support for Gunsan City Hall’s desktop virtualization project. Sysgen Co. Ltd, a professional network IT service providers, based in Jeonju, handled the actual software development and implementation across the entire process, from product examination, to onsite installation and completion.
“Sysgen’s willingness to incorporate our requirements, its active approach to supplying equipment, and its onsite operation support continue to be favorably received,” said Jeong-hee. “Overall, we were satisfied with the data integration and support we received during the project.”