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Santos migrates to Windows 7 before XP support ends

The ending of Windows XP support in April 2014 combined with slow log in times led Australian oil and gas producer Santos (ASX: STO) to start its Windows 7 migration.

Santos manager of information systems operations, Rob Van Den Brink, told Computerworld Australia that the company had a great 10 year run with XP but the operating system (OS) was starting to "get long in the tooth".

The company is transitioning its laptop and desktop fleet to the Windows 7 OS using an AppSense desktop virtualization offering called DesktopNow.

The solution allows IT managers to centrally manage and setup any desktop regardless of device, platform or location.

"We have a fleet of about 4000 devices so we are still doing the rollout of Windows 7 to the remaining machines. If the hardware is new enough, we'll upgrade it to 7 and if it's not, we will replace the PC," he said.

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Aside from XP support ending, Santos was also faced with the issue of remote workers taking up to 40 minutes to log in each morning from locations such as Vietnam.

"The idea was to rollout the new OS in Adelaide so we could iron out all the issues first and were comfortable with the environment," Van Den Brink said.

"Because the [remote worker] performance was so bad, we introduced new machines to Vietnam. It cut their login back to three minutes."

Worker productivity, and security, has risen since the rollout. He said that because it took remote workers so long to log in, they tended not to log off which was affecting security patching. However, all of its security patching is now getting applied.

There has also been a 30 per cent decline in IT related calls coming through to the Santos service centre due to the combination of new hardware and OS.

Van Den Brink added that the company is also piloting some Windows 8 tablets.

"Our intention there is to start offering tablets as a business tool instead of laptops. This is for business executives who travel a lot and go to numerous meetings."

"Our aim is to get 500 touch screen tablets into the [working] environment this year," he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia


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