State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Selects Unidesk and VMware View to Virtualize 1,200 Knowledge Worker Desktops

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User personalization is cited as the most important success factor in this state agency's roll-out of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Unidesk was, for us, absolutely essential because, while our users' desktops are not complicated, they are personal. -- Maytee Aspuro, CIO and IT director for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

Citing support for user personalization as potentially the most important success factor in its rollout of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), the State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) has selected Unidesk® and VMware View™ as the basis for its 1,200 new virtual desktops. Unidesk will be used to provision and manage the desktops, package and deliver applications, conserve storage space, and provide the customizable user experience the agency believes is necessary for widespread worker acceptance, optimal productivity, and job satisfaction. VMware View will be used to give the agency’s workers secure, high performance access to their desktops, which will be hosted on the department’s VMware vSphere™ virtualization infrastructure.

The mission of the department is to promote the economic and social well-being of Wisconsin's children and families. Virtual desktops will provide the department’s case workers and staff with computing resources that can be more easily controlled and secured than laptop and desktop computers -- critically important where highly sensitive information about child welfare and childcare facilities is involved. With highly mobile case workers and a wide range of power users and administrative staff, the agency recognized the need for a solution that could deal with desktop diversity. Of critical importance is that users have “ownership” of their desktops, freeing them to install applications needed for their jobs and ensuring that such applications and customizations remain, even after system updates.

"We don’t believe in locking down our users,” said Maytee Aspuro, CIO and IT director for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. “Unidesk was, for us, absolutely essential because, while our users' desktops are not complicated, they are personal. We knew that to get buy-in from the front lines we would need to support personal desktop experiences that meet or beat previous computing experiences."

At the same time, the department’s lean IT staff needed a solution that would make the large number of virtual desktops easy to provision, update, and repair. Unidesk‘s innovative desktop layering technology was the answer. Unidesk enables the department’s administrators to create single, pristine layers of the operating system and the many different types of applications used by the state agency. All end user customizations – including user-installed applications – are captured in separate personalization layers. Unidesk dynamically merges these layers into seamless virtual desktops that are unique for every user, yet are built from the same exact IT-controlled layers of Microsoft Windows and various business applications.

Unidesk and VMware View™
With 350 virtual desktops already deployed, the department plans to add 600 more by mid-year and an additional 250 by the end of the year, leveraging VMware View,™ Unidesk®, and VMware vSphere.™ Unidesk is implemented as a set of software-only virtual appliances on the department’s existing VMware vSphere infrastructure. DCF administrators can create new desktop pools, add desktops to existing pools, and entitle users to pools in VMware View from the Unidesk management interface. All configuration changes made in Unidesk are automatically reflected in VMware View Manager, and vice versa.

Tim Curless, Virtualization Engineer for Wisconsin DCF says, “Unidesk is expected to reduce the department’s VDI storage needs up to 70%, since one gold image of Microsoft Windows and single instances of standard applications can be shared across many desktops. VMware View’s ability to deliver these storage-efficient Unidesk desktops from any endpoint device means our mobile workforce can use their desktops from any of our offices, or even from home.”

DCF’s Aspuro adds, "What’s most important is that our move to virtualized desktops is not about technology, it's about the kids and our ability to deliver to our social workers the best 24/7 access to the information they need to make an informed decision to benefit a child."

A free live webinar, "Make VDI Personal: How State of Wisconsin DCF is Virtualizing 1,200 Desktops for All Use Cases” will be held Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. ET, featuring DCF CIO Maytee Aspuro, VMware Senior Systems Engineer Chris Fox, and Unidesk Chief Solution Architect Ron Oglesby. To register, go to:

“We’re pleased to be playing such an important role in the virtual desktop implementation at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families,” said Chris Midgley, Unidesk Founder and Chief Technology Officer. “We look forward to helping the department fulfill its mission by providing desktops that can meet the diverse needs of all of its knowledge workers, while helping the IT staff realize greater operational efficiencies and cost savings.”

About Unidesk
Unidesk ( provides the virtual desktop management software platform that organizations of all sizes require to successfully centralize desktops on data center servers. The company’s patent-pending desktop layering technology works with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) access solutions from VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, and other vendors to sustain personalization for workers who need a customizable user experience, while empowering IT with efficient management of operating system and application updates. Unidesk customers benefit from increased worker productivity and reduced IT operations and data center storage costs. Unidesk is a privately-held company with headquarters in Marlborough, Mass, USA.

VMware, VMware View, and VMware vSphere are registered trademarks and/or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. Unidesk® is a registered trademark of Unidesk Corporation. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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