Yeoncheon County Office is a local government office in the northernmost region of Gyeonggi province, Republic of Korea. The office serves county residents by stimulating the local economy, creating jobs, promoting agriculture and livestock industries, and improving educational opportunities and quality of life for its citizens. To support these initiatives, Yeoncheon County Office advocates a program called Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) Yeoncheon. The office also carries out research and initiates reforms to support low-carbon, green growth.
Yeoncheon County Office implemented a virtualized desktop environment, based on Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. The office has reduced its yearly carbon emissions by 25% and expects to save about US$606,000 (KRW700 million) per year in PC and server maintenance, once virtualization of its 600 terminals is completed in 2013.
Yeoncheon County Office was running 600 aging PC terminals at its head and municipal offices. These PC’s had performance issues and errors within two or three months of purchase. The office also spent up to US$100 (about KRW100,000) on maintaining each of its 35 legacy servers per month. The office needed a cost- and energy-efficient alternative that supported its low-carbon, green growth initiative.
Yeoncheon County Office also wanted to centralize administrative control and increase data security to improve how it protected sensitive citizen information—such as tax details and family records—handled on administrative PC’s.
“A data leak of residents’ private information would have cost an estimated US$2.5 million (KRW2.9 billion) for emergency response and legal liability, based on Yeoncheon County’s population of 45,606 people,” said Kang Young-Koo, director of local autonomy assistance, Yeoncheon County Office. “We needed to be prepared for security threats, such as hacking, by strengthening our data security capabilities.”
Yeoncheon County Office also operates 12 lower-level municipal offices in towns and townships across Yeoncheon County. These municipal offices are often located more than 40 kilometers from the county office. Yeoncheon County Office had to send personnel to these offices to assess resources, such as printers and photocopiers, fix minor PC breakdowns, and perform system upgrades, and each incident could take up to a day. There were also delays when carrying out tasks, such as electronic payments at a town or township office that required a connection to the county office over a network line.
In addition, having numerous offices caused problems for those who needed to work remotely or to access fixed-PC resources deployed at different locations. Yeoncheon County Office needed a work environment providing access to identical user interfaces and applications, regardless of time and location.
Finally, it was important for Yeoncheon County Office that essential business applications continued to operate correctly at high speeds, with stability and availability in a new virtualized desktop environment.
By populating its data center with Sun Ray Clients, Sun Fire Servers, and Sun ZFS Storage Appliances, and implementing Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Yeoncheon County Office reduced its yearly carbon emissions by 25%.
Our use of Oracle has delivered approximately US$87,000 (KRW100 million) in carbon credits,” said Kang. “This is due to the low power consumption of the Sun Ray Clients, and the highly efficient Sun Fire Servers and Sun ZFS Storage Appliances.”
“In addition, Oracle’s Sun Ray Clients don’t suffer from reduced performance or errors like our legacy PC terminals,” Kang said.
“Another plus is that the Sun Ray Clients can be managed centrally from the data center,” he added. “Once the virtualization of our 600 terminals is completed, we expect to see savings of about US$606,000 (KRW700 million) per annum, including US$25,000 in server maintenance costs.”
Local governments in Korea generally use more than 100 in-house and third-party applications for managing citizens’ personal information, maintaining the county’s employment, education, and economic data, and carrying out a variety of back-office financial, and administrative functions. These include systems used by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and city administration, as well as those used for local government asset management and human resources. The office also accesses a number of other governmental Websites.
“Despite the continued emergence of new government Websites and other related applications, the virtualized system can easily run 99% of our required applications,” said Kang. “Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Oracle VM VirtualBox also support existing user terminals and systems and assure our current desktop and business environment. Oracle VM VirtualBox in particular works better with our existing security software than any competitor’s products, protecting our investment.”
Yeoncheon County Office has also improved network speed, by using the Oracle virtualized desktop environment to identify and eliminate incompatible security and antivirus software applications that had been downloaded by various end-users and were causing excessive network traffic.
Yeoncheon County Office holds sensitive data about 45,606 residents, including tax files, family records, and educational and employment histories. A leak in this information could cost the office an estimated US$2.5 million (KRW2.9 billion).
Yeoncheon County Office used Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to strengthen data security by enabling staff to manage citizens’ information from a central database and controlling access to sensitive information depending on an employee’s job duties.
The move to a centralized infrastructure also improved data availability. As no data is ever stored on the Sun Ray Client, since it only displays information stored on the server, there is no chance of data being lost if the Sun Ray Client is stolen. Similarly, by centralizing storage in the Sun ZFS Storage Appliances, Yeoncheon County Office can ensure data security and availability.
“The new system introduced smart cards and personal identification codes to prevent potential data leaks from end-users,” said Kang. “Users must enter their IDs and passwords in a session authentication box, and access must be authorized for each terminal and application.”
Lower-level municipal offices in Yeoncheon County are often located in towns and townships at least 30 to 40 kilometers from the county office.
If a PC broke down in these offices, it took a whole day to dispatch personnel to the site, analyze the cause of the breakdown, and restore the terminal. Now it takes less than 20 minutes to analyze and troubleshoot issues with the user’s virtual desktop operating system or perform upgrades from the county office.
“The new system rarely experiences a breakdown, but by integrating the virtualization software, clients, servers, and storage, we can swiftly identify the cause of any malfunction and repair it,” said Kang. “Users have also expressed satisfaction at the marked increase in network speed when carrying out tasks at municipal offices that require connection to the county office via a network line. This is because all of the processing happens on the server and only the screen updates are sent to the client.”
The Sun ZFS Storage Appliances have improved the stability of Yeoncheon County Office’s storage. The storage appliances form an essential element of the virtualized desktop environment, and the office has more stable storage since implementing the virtualized system.
The virtual machines are connected to the Sun ZFS Storage Appliances using NAS protocols. The organization runs DTrace on the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance.
Yeoncheon County Office is running Oracle Solaris 10 as the operating system for the new virtualized system. The office used Oracle Solaris Containers’ built-in virtualization function to maximize its infrastructure within a smaller space and increase the flexibility of server resources.
Yeoncheon County also used the DTrace function to analyze, tune, and modify the operating system on the virtual desktop clients without slowing the system.
On the Sun ZFS Storage Appliances, DTrace is also used with an interactive, graphic user interface to quickly analyze and eliminate storage bottlenecks associated with individual virtual servers and the overall storage environment.
Yeoncheon County Office has improved how it supplies, tracks, and manages resources, such as printers, photocopiers, and PC terminals used at municipal offices. The new centralized system provides managers with consolidated information resource usage, so they can supply new equipment more efficiently and no longer have to rely only on staff requests.
“We had one instance where we discovered three printers were installed at one office,” said Kang. “By managing inventory centrally, using the virtualized system, we have eliminated this kind of inefficiency and waste. In the past year, we have avoided buying an extra 20 new printers.”
Oracle’s Sun Ray Clients have improved the work satisfaction of Yeoncheon County Office staff by eliminating the heat, dust, and noise emissions caused by conventional PC terminals. Sun Ray Clients do not have the moving parts, hard drives, fans, and other components that make noise, generate heat, and attract dust. Tangles of cables that connected PCs with peripheral devices, such as monitors, have also disappeared from the office as the Sun Ray Clients have built-in screens.
“The staff has expressed satisfaction with the more pleasant office environment,” said Kang. “The heat and dust also caused each PC to break down about every two years, so the changes have resolved this issue.”
The Oracle virtualized environment has enabled Yeoncheon County Office to lay the foundation for a smart work environment by allowing staff at 12 municipal offices to access terminals with identical desktop environments. They can now work from familiar user interfaces without having to adapt to different systems or applications, or travel to other offices to access applications or IT resources they need.
An important feature of the Oracle virtualized solution was its ability to ensure the stable operation of more than 100 in-house and third-party administration and data management applications, software, and Websites. Oracle VM VirtualBox also worked better with the office’s existing security software than products from any other competitor.
In addition, Yeoncheon County Office was attracted to the Oracle Solaris operating system.
“Oracle Solaris is backed by renowned technology and was the first UNIX operating system to support virtualization,” said Kang.
“Also, when building a virtualized environment that recognizes multiple storage units as a single pool, storage stability is very important,” he continued. “Oracle’s network-attached storage, Sun ZFS Storage Appliances, have a proven record of stable operation in other implementation projects similar to Yeoncheon County’s.”
Yeoncheon County Office began its desktop virtualization project on 250 PC terminals in June 2011. The office completed the project in just three months. It then confirmed the new virtualized system was compatible with its existing infrastructure and supported more than 100 in-house and third-party applications and government-related Websites.
In April 2012, Yeoncheon County Office deployed 80 additional Sun Ray Clients at a number of municipal town and township offices and training facilities. This additional deployment took only a month.
Oracle Partner SysGen took charge of every aspect of the virtualization implementation project. It provided environment inspection, project design, system implementation, operation support, tuning, and troubleshooting services.
SysGen has onsite staff to provide rapid support to Yeoncheon County Office.
“SysGen provided great support throughout the project, and we are very happy with its services,” said Kang.