Retail Chain Ur&Penn Replaces Citrix with Cameyo to Enable Access to Legacy Apps on Chromebooks

Since 1943, Ur&Penn has been a leading watch and jewelry retailer throughout Sweden, with 126 retail stores throughout Sweden and Finland. When Ur&Penn made the decision to migrate from their old Windows PCs to Chromebooks at the corporate headquarters, they quickly realized that there were still several legacy apps they needed which wouldn’t work on Chrome OS.

“We knew we wanted to make the move to Chromebooks, but we still have several Windows apps that our staff rely on to be productive,” said Emir Saffar, CIO at Ur&Penn. “Despite the cost, security, and management benefits of Chromebooks, we couldn’t proceed unless our staff could maintain access to their critical apps.”

The Search for a Solution

Ur&Penn had recently invested in Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure and were in the process of virtualizing all of their servers with Nutanix. When Ur&Penn came across the legacy application issue on Chromebooks, the Nutanix partner approached them about utilizing Nutanix’s Frame product, named Xi Frame. Ur&Penn decided to give Xi Frame for on-premise a shot, but ran into two key issues.

“First, we realized quickly that Xi Frame’s architecture requires one server for each and every user. So right away, this became an incredibly costly solution,” said Saffar. “But more importantly, the Xi Frame product for on-premise simply didn’t work as advertised.”

“I told them – ‘How dare you charge money for such a solution? Nothing is working as expected. You should be ashamed, it still feels like a beta version’,” said Saffar.

Ur&Penn brought in a technician to try and fix the deployment – but the technician couldn’t get it working either. The technician then told Ur&Penn that they had previously worked for Citrix, and recommended that they try Citrix XenApp instead. So they began down the path of deploying Citrix.

“Citrix was even more complex to set up than Xi Frame, so we had to hire an outside engineer to come set everything up, which just added more expense,” said Saffar. “Everything was difficult. Citrix required setting up a Golden Image, there were a ton of issues with roaming profiles, and more.”

It took the outside engineer several weeks to configure and deploy everything, and even once it was deployed, Ur&Penn found that things still weren’t working in a way that provided a satisfactory user experience.

“Our users were always having issues logging in, and the only solution was to repeatedly delete and re-set their profiles multiple times,” said Saffar. “So, even though it was technically deployed, it wasn’t really ‘working’.”

After months of trying to deploy Xi Frame and then Citrix XenApp, Ur&Penn realized they needed a different solution.

A Truly Built-For-The-Cloud Solution

After Nutanix Xi Frame and Citrix XenApp were unable to provide a solution for delivering Windows application to Chromebooks (or any device) via any HTML5 browser in a seamless way, Ur&Penn discovered Cameyo.

“The first thing we noticed when we started our free trial was that Cameyo was truly built from scratch to be a cloud solution, whereas Citrix has clearly just taken their old technology and tried to push it into the cloud,” said Saffar.

Within just 2-3 hours, Ur&Penn had Cameyo up and running on-premises and were able to provide all of their business-critical Windows applications to their employees’ Chromebooks. Thus far, the key benefits that Ur&Penn has experienced with Cameyo include:

  • Simplicity“Unlike Nutanix Xi Frame and Citrix XenApp, there is no complicated infrastructure to deploy and manage. Not only were we up and running with Cameyo in less than three hours, but we can also deploy new apps almost instantly. We never have to re-image or deal with a Golden Image. Cameyo could not be easier.”
  • Integration“As a G Suite customer, we love how integrated Cameyo is with Google. We don’t have to configure a thing – everyone simply logs in with their Google account info, and they instantly have access to all of their applications. Since we already had all of our staff in user groups, Cameyo automatically imported all of that. There was no additional work we needed to do. Also, we didn’t want employees to save files locally on their Chromebooks. Cameyo made it easy to configure so that all work is automatically saved to each user’s Google Drive.”
  • User Experience “Unlike Nutanix Xi Frame and Citrix XenApp where our employees either couldn’t access their applications at all or were frequently experiencing performance issues and being logged out, Cameyo provides a native application experience with no performance lags, through the browser. From a user experience perspective, they use the same desktop version of the applications they’re used to – but those applications simply run in a browser tab instead of needing to be deployed and managed locally. There’s nothing new to learn on the user’s side.”
  • Cost“Right off the bat, Cameyo doesn’t require any complex infrastructure and you don’t need to hire a third-party engineer to set it up – so that’s a huge cost savings rights there. Also, since Cameyo is able to support dozens of users per instance instead of an architecture that requires one server for every user, that provides dramatic savings as well.”

Ur&Penn is currently utilizing Cameyo to enable virtual application delivery for those who work in their headquarters in Sweden, but due to COVID-19 that currently means many of those users are working from home.

“In addition to our headquarters, we also have staff working from home, as well as some staff in London and New York. They all love Cameyo because working on their Windows applications on their Chromebooks – no matter where they are – is just as fast as if they were in the office,” said Saffar.