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An aging infrastructure and limited budget were preventing the Nevada Department of Corrections IT staff from keeping pace with its growth. Moving to Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server helped the department significantly control increasing hardware and software costs, while Novell ZENworks allowed existing staff to administer 75 percent more desktops.

> Overview
The Nevada Department of Corrections is the largest state-funded agency in Nevada with 2,600 employees and 24 correctional facilities. In one of the nation’s fastest-growing states, the department works to protect the community through safe, humane and efficient confinement of offenders.

> Challenge
Being one of the nation’s fastest-growing states in the nation has put a strain on Nevada’s correctional facilities. Some facilities were operating at 200 percent capacity. A small IT staff was taxed to manage multiple locations, some of which are an eight-hour drive away. The Nevada Department of Corrections needed to significantly expand and modernize its outdated infrastructure, adding dozens of servers and hundreds of new workstations, without a corresponding increase in support staff or travel budget.

> Solution
The Nevada Department of Corrections evaluated Microsoft Windows and Red Hat before selecting a Novell solution consisting of Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as Novell GroupWise and Novell ZENworks.

“We could not imagine running our organization without Novell eDirectory at the heart of it,” said Dan O’Barr, Infrastructure Architect at the Nevada Department of Corrections. “Microsoft and Red Hat simply have nothing comparable. In our large and dispersed organization, a flexible directory with remote management capabilities is critical.”

The department has migrated the majority of its servers to Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Novell eDirectory consolidates and simplifies user and workstation administration, and allows seamless authentication across disperse network resources. Novell iPrint, included with Novell Open Enterprise Server, allows employees to easily select and print to any authorized printer on the network, eliminating time spent copying and faxing.

The department is currently running most of its mission-critical applications on Linux including Oracle databases, incident tracking software, help desk systems, and the timekeeping system to schedule and manage shifts at all facilities. Running Novell GroupWise on Linux has boosted e-mail security and performance. The department can also use existing hardware because the resource requirements of GroupWise are much lower than Microsoft Exchange.

Novell ZENworks helps the department manage its Microsoft Windows desktops. The IT staff can use the remote control functionality to troubleshoot user issues without leaving their desks, and can deliver applications in minutes without having to visit individual workstations.

“Novell ZENworks has greatly improved the ability to respond to our users,” said O’Barr. “We can troubleshoot desktops or deploy applications in a fraction of the time it took before. This has improved not only the productivity, but also the morale of our IT staff.”

Having an open environment allows the department to leverage Apache, PHP, Postgres and other open source technologies to reduce its software costs. In response to a legislative mandate to control and reduce overtime, the department developed an application with open source software to manage staff scheduling at all institutions. The department is also evaluating SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, as many of its PCs do not meet the minimum requirements to run Microsoft Vista.

“Novell recognizes that it’s a complicated IT world, and an open, standards-based strategy is the best way—in my opinion, the only practical way—to manage everything,” said O’Barr. “With Linux, we get increased uptime, reduced hardware and software costs, and a unified code base that helps with administration and recruiting.”

We could not imagine running our organization without Novell eDirectory at the heart of it. Microsoft and Red Hat simply have nothing comparable.

> Results
The Nevada Department of Corrections moved to Novell solutions to modernize its infrastructure, improve uptime, and dramatically reduce and control expanding IT costs. The department has avoided significant hardware investments with the ability to run Novell Open Enterprise Server and Novell GroupWise on existing hardware, and a Linux environment is helping the department to save potentially millions of dollars in software licensing costs.

The department uses Novell ZENworks to centralize desktop management, and has contained a 75 percent increase in responsibility without additional desktop support staff. Without outside assistance, the IT staff was able to deploy and manage hundreds of new workstations and servers spread across one of the most remote states in the nation. With an open, Novell-based infrastructure, a small team of three can now set up new facilities in less than a day, rather than the week or more required before.

“With Novell solutions, we completed a radical overhaul of our infrastructure with our limited IT staff and no outside contractors,” said O’Barr. “We would have needed a significant staff increase to do it with any other vendor. Now we have a top-notch, open infrastructure with all the right tools to manage it for years to come. Nevada should be proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

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