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Jul/Aug 2003    by Liz Tanner

Berkshire Industries

With Novell NetWare 6.5, a leading manufacturer leverages open source technologies to save thousands of dollars a year in application development costs.

Berkshire Industries is a world-class supplier of precision machining for the aircraft, aerospace, defense, semiconductor and telecommunications industries. With sales of $27 million, Berkshire Industries is a leader in the industry with cutting edge technology, systems and skilled employees. The company has won numerous awards for performance, quality and customer service in its 40-year history.


Berkshire Industries has a heterogeneous network consisting of NetWare, Windows 2000, Linux, and a variety of computerized machining equipment. The company wanted to connect these systems in a single network to better manage its complex infrastructure. Berkshire needed a comprehensive and reliable network solution to manage its entire environment.

With a one-person IT department, Berkshire is always looking for ways to make the most of its IT investments. Berkshire needed a secure application platform to take advantage of open source technologies, without reducing system reliability or increasing management costs. Open source technologies will allow the company to leverage proven technology to efficiently and costeffectively develop applications.

Novell solution

Berkshire selected a Novell Nterprise solution consisting of Novell NetWare 6.5 [beta version], Novell eDirectory and Novell ZENworks to streamline the management of its heterogeneous environment and to provide a platform for open source application development.

"No other vendor has enough solutions in one company to do what we wanted," said Michael Giovannini, information systems director at Berkshire Industries. "I was a network integrator for many years and the performance and reliability of Novell solutions is unparalleled. The beta version of NetWare 6.5 is rock solid-it runs four times faster on one of my old servers than Microsoft Windows 2000 does on a new server."

With support for open source technologies in NetWare 6.5, Berkshire began creating new applications using PHP, Perl and MySQL. For example, a new human resources application for the company's intranet will eliminate manual processes for submitting vacation and other benefit forms, significantly improving HR efficiency.

"Embracing the open source community has been one of Novell's wisest decisions," said Giovannini. "Now I can put open source applications on a platform I know and trust."

Berkshire plans to leverage open source technologies to create applications that improve customer service and operating efficiency. Giving customers online access to view the status of their orders will significantly reduce the volume of daily inquiries to project managers. Berkshire will use Novell BorderManager as a firewall to provide secure VPN access and ensure that customers only access authorized information.

"Embracing the open source community has been one of Novell's wisest decisions," said Michael Giovannini, information systems manager for Berkshire Industries. "Now I can put open source applications on a platform I know and trust."

"Leveraging open source applications provides an immediate return on investment," said Giovannini. "My already lean IT budget is not getting pulverized by having to invest in other application development software such as Microsoft's .NET. The less I spend on developing applications, the more I can spend replacing PCs and keeping our core infrastructure up to date."

Berkshire uses Novell ZENworks to manage 90 Windows desktops, as well as its NetWare and Windows servers. The policy management in ZENworks prevents users from disrupting their applications and has reduced overall support calls by 90 percent. Remote control functionality allows Berkshire to manage its workstations and nearly 45 machinery computers without traveling to the production floor.

"The proof of Novell ZENworks is that as a one-man team I can manage 140 users and still have time to develop new applications," said Giovannini. "I haven't had a 2 a.m. end-user support call since we implemented ZENworks."

In previous application rollouts, Berkshire spent 15-20 minutes updating each of its 90 workstations. With ZENworks, the company can roll out new applications in a few hours from a central location, speeding application delivery time by 80 percent, without any user interruption.

By using Novell eDirectory as its metadirectory, Berkshire can manage its entire network from any location using a few consoles. "I couldn't manage a network as well over the Internet with any other directory," said Giovannini. "With Novell eDirectory and BorderManager, I can manage my network from anywhere and often spend 10-15 hours a week working from home."


Using a Novell Nterprise solution, Berkshire's one-person IT department has tied its heterogeneous environment together with a comprehensive and reliable solution. With NetWare 6.5, the company can leverage open source applications, without comprising system reliability or increasing management costs. Novell ZENworks has helped Berkshire reduce its overall volume of support calls by 90 percent and speed its application delivery time by 80 percent.

"We'll save thousands of dollars a year by using open source technologies instead of purchasing off-the-shelf applications or hiring programmers to build custom systems," said Giovannini. "I can generate new applications in a few hours that make a big difference to my users, as well as the bottom line.

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