With escalating maintenance costs, Whitelaw Twining needed to upgrade its desktops, as well as its collaboration platform. The firm moved to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, reduced its hardware costs by 30 percent, and eliminated e-mail downtime by migrating to Novell GroupWise.
Whitelaw Twining is a Vancouver, Canada law corporation specializing in litigation. A highly respected litigation practice, the firm acts primarily for clients in the insurance and construction industries.
"In all my years of computing, this is the first time I really got excited about a desktop. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop runs really well right out of the box and Novell provides great Linux support."
With outdated Microsoft Windows 98 and 2000 desktops, Whitelaw Twining was experiencing serious reliability issues. Users' desktops were often down at least once a week. For the busy law firm, downtime costs can spiral to tens of thousands of dollars per hour. The firm was facing increased maintenance costs to keep its systems patched and virus-free.
Because so much of the firm's research involves multimedia, Whitelaw users needed the ability to play multimedia files, without affecting the security or stability of its desktops. In short, the firm needed to upgrade its computers to a secure and stable platform to reduce maintenance costs and improve the productivity of its users.
Whitelaw evaluated a move to Microsoft Windows Vista, as well as the Xandros Linux distribution, before selecting SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.
"Novell had the best desktop solution for us," said Richard Giroux, IT Manager at Whitelaw Twining. "We evaluated solutions based on the ability to create a safe environment, as well as what it would cost us in time and money to maintain them. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop had everything we wanted."
The firm has deployed SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop on economical Dell PCs for a majority of its users. Its initial rollout took only one weekend and users were able to start using Linux with only a one-page instructional handout.
"We really wowed our users with the 3-D interface of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop," said Giroux. "They really like it. Migrating from Windows 2000 to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is no more difficult for end users than migrating to Windows Vista. We did a little training with our users up front and have had almost no help desk calls since."
"In all my years of computing, this is the first time I really got excited about a desktop," continued Giroux. "SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop runs really well right out of the box and Novell provides great Linux support."
Whitelaw uses Citrix to deploy Microsoft Office from a remote server farm, and a Windows emulator on the desktop to run a digital transcription and dictation program. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop provides users with everything else they need, from Web browsing to viewing video files. The firm also takes advantage of numerous open source applications to reduce licensing costs and is considering replacing Microsoft Office with OpenOffice.org.
"Having an open environment with Linux gives us the opportunity to select from thousands of high-quality open source programs," said Giroux. "By nature, open source software has to integrate well with other applications, so we can implement them easily and cost-effectively. One application for transcription playback has already saved us thousands of dollars."
"Novell GroupWise is amazingly stable. It just never goes down. It is immune to almost every e-mail virus out there and we've never had an infection. We also don't need extra consultants or administrators to run it."
Having a stable Linux system has eliminated daily workstation crashes, allowing users to work with consistent uptime. Because of its stability and security, Firefox has replaced Internet Explorer as their primary tool for online research.
"We can sit across the table from our management team and assure them that we have stable desktops and are protected against viruses and trojans," said Giroux. "We have also cut the amount of time we spend patching and maintaining desktops. And any time a technician is not touching their computers, our users are more productive."
Almost two years ago, Whitelaw migrated to Novell GroupWise from Lotus Notes, for one-third the cost of a Microsoft Exchange solution. Novell GroupWise provides a stable collaboration platform with all the necessary e-mail, calendaring and scheduling features, along with remote access from any Web browser. With BlackBerry Enterprise Server, BlackBerry users can stay in touch while away from the office.
"Novell GroupWise is amazingly stable," said Giroux. "It just never goes down. It is immune to almost every e-mail virus out there and we've never had an infection. We also don't need extra consultants or administrators to run it."
Whitelaw Twining at a glance:
Law Corporation Specializing in Litigation• Industry:Law
• Location:Vancouver, Canada
• Challenge:– Replace outdated desktops
– Reduce maintenance costs
– Eliminate system downtime
– Create stable environment for multimedia research
• Solutions:SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
• Results:– Reduced hardware costs by 30 percent
– Reduced desktop maintenance and support costs by 20 percent
– Unprecedented desktop and e-mail uptime
– Created stable and secure environment with no increase in IT budget
With SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, Whitelaw has reduced its hardware costs by 30 percent with the ability to run on cost-effective PCs, and reduced desktop maintenance time by 20 percent. Increased stability and security with Linux ensures that users can be productive, and saves thousands of dollars in potential downtime costs.
The firm implemented Novell GroupWise for a fraction of the cost of a Microsoft solution and without having to add more administrators. With GroupWise, the firm has had zero downtime to date and users have the flexibility to access e-mail from any location.
"Our Novell solutions paid for themselves immediately," said Giroux. "We would have spent far more money with other solutions, and would have required additional IT resources just to patch and manage them. We created a stable desktop and collaboration environment with no increase in our IT budget."