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Successful pilot and Go-Live 3D CAD cloud computing with ASML
Since many years BKL is a reliable Engineering partner for ASML. To ensure speed and stability of – mainly Engineering CAD – data exchange a dedicated leased data-line was in place.
This setup has been working well and efficiently but required both ASML and BKL to perform regular maintenance to keep the software installs in sync.
With the technological developments in cloud computing a better system with respect to cost, maintainability, scalability and security became available: “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure” (VDI).
ASML selected BKL, as one of 3 pilot partners, to test the new VDI environment. And of course BKL was eager to invest in this cutting edge technology. The pilot with 3 BKL engineers ran from March till December 2016. Based on the experiences and feedback of these pilot users, the VDI was optimized and the pilot and was concluded with a definitive GO.
3D Cloud computing Technology
In the ‘old’ configuration ASML TC/NX was installed on our own high-end workstations at BKL and all data was transferred between BKL and ASML TC servers over the leased data-line.
In the new configuration only a Citrix client is required on any form of PC while all heavy duty 3D CAD computing, and also the lighter Office stuff, is done on the ASML servers residing at ASML. The Citrix front- and backend software ensures real-time and smooth transfer of only screen and keyboard/(space)mouse information between BKL client and ASML servers.
Every VDI user within BKL has their own dedicated desktop at the ASML server with all functionality as if it was a regular high-end workstation. This server desktop is also always switched on so when work is not finished at the end of the day the BKL-er can switch off their own PC and on the next morning to continue where they left off. Or even continue from another location with another PC (eg @Home).
Pro’s and Con’s for BKL and ASML
Lower TCO of VDI compared to leased lines
Fully ASML controlled HW en SW setup. No longer needed to maintain and monthly update ASML specific software installations on BKL workstations (update 2x per year, effort 1-2 weeks/year)
No high-end engineering workstations needed for design work (NX runs on ASML VDI, basic desktop or laptop will do, saving ~€1000 / workstation)
Easier to collaborate with ASML personnel via Lync / ASML mail and easier access to ASML intranet (directly in VDI, no more log-in to portal required)
All ASML other non-NX programs are now available as normal full version . E.g. in old configuration access to ASML-system directories and SAP were only available via (slow) web-browser citrix
Easier troubleshooting of employees ASML CITRIX PC due to ability to of direct log-in of ASML IT HELPDESK into that system. This was in “old” configuration NOT possible.
Access to VDI also possible from home or when travelling
Increased security; no ASML data @ BKL, only screen info. . No need to adhere to the “ASML IT Security standards for non-ASML IT workplaces”
More and stable internet bandwidth required (as leased lined traffic is moved to internet) at both BKL and ASML. BKL upgraded their standard internet line to 100mbit up/down.
Importing large files e.g. movies requires more actions (via ASML large file transfer: due to security reasons no access from VDI to local shares drive at codev PC)
Data stored on C: in VDI will not be backed-up.
And the results are in!
Since January 2017, a total of ~10 BKL employees now work in the ASML VDI environment to their great satisfaction. The VDI is stable and lightning fast. Even when very large 3D assemblies are handled in NX, animations remain absolutely smooth and responsive. The perception is that it is even smoother than the ‘old’ situation.
Also the fact that applications can be left active while switching off the PC to be able to continue the next morning is perceived as very positive. This however does not work with NX since the license will be revoked during the night.
BKL is happy to have been a valuable pilot site, enabling this cutting edge IT technology. We are now fully equipped for the future to continue the successful partnership with ASML.