Q&A with Philip Svesnik of Westmoreland County

Philip Svesnik (Profile)
Monday, March 26th 2012

VSM: Tell us about Westmoreland County, PA and your background?

PS: My name is Philip Svesnik and I am the CIO for Westmoreland County. I have been in the IT field for the last 39 years with 26 years in my current position. Westmoreland is a community of about 370,000 residents located east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

VSM: What were you doing that required a desktop virtualization technology?

PS: Westmoreland County employs more than 1,800 people, many of whom depend on computers to carry out daily tasks. In all, my department supported more than 1,200 computers, before switching many over to virtual desktops. We also supported more than 1,700 VoIP phones. Our Information Systems team was spread pretty thin trying to accommodate the increasing demands from our employees as well as members of the community who accessed county systems. My team and I were tasked with supplying all of the county departments with the hardware, software and supporting technology solutions they needed, plus providing day-to-day support and trouble-shooting.

VSM: What other desktop virtualization vendors did you consider for your implementation?

PS: In 2003, we started researching how to reduce energy costs, improve systems availability and better manage our physical servers. We ultimately selected the IBM Blade Center and SANs to replace aging standalone servers. We then deployed VMware to improve the utilization of those new machines. The next step was to figure out the best way to virtualize our client systems and replace our aging PCs.

Pano Logic was the system we used from the beginning with the first proof of concept. While doing extensive research, I came across a school district in Rhode Island that deployed a desktop virtualization system from Pano Logic. I was drawn to the idea of a zero client that would eliminate the need to support an endpoint device. I got the Pano System and three of the zero clients and put them through the paces over a three-month period. They worked like a charm.

VSM: What differentiates Pano Logic over the competition and why did you choose them?

PS: The three biggest things that I needed from a desktop virtualization solution were energy savings, greater productivity from my team, and a seamless user experience. The Pano System delivered all that. The system worked so well, cost less than other solutions I researched and cost less than traditional PCs. Plus it was easy to install and set up compared to stories I read about the alternatives. Pano works great with VMware and the performance actually improved for some over what they experienced with their standalone PCs.

Also, unlike the thin client solutions, Pano Logic offers a true Zero Client, which means the devices have no CPU, no memory, no operating system, no drivers, no software and no moving parts. This was great because it meant we no longer had to support an end user device and it provided an automatic security improvement. The zero clients couldn’t store information so if they were stolen, we’d only be out the empty devices, which are completely useless unless their connected to a Pano System.