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Arrested Development

California Highway Patrol

With just 125 IT professionals to support the organization's 10,000 users, the California Highway Patrol constantly seeks new ways to operate more efficiently and drive down technology costs. Novell ZENworks® Configuration Management has streamlined desktop and system management, while Novell Open Enterprise Server has contributed to the organization's server consolidation initiative.

Overview

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) provides highway safety, protects state facilities, conducts criminal investigations and assists local law enforcement agencies. It is the largest state police agency in the United States, with more than 10,000 employees.

Challenge

The CHP IT staff is responsible for supporting more than 150 sites, geographically dispersed across the state, including 20 emergency dispatch sites that respond to 9-1-1 calls from citizens. To continually deliver the best support resources within its limited budget, the CHP is always looking for new ways to leverage technology to automate processes such as desktop and user management.

"We only have a dozen people to maintain 7,500 desktops and 3,000 laptops across the state," said Bruce McLeod, system architect of Network Services at the California Highway Patrol. "Our IT support staff can't be everywhere at once, which makes desktop management and system administration difficult, particularly for these mission-critical sites."

Solution

The CHP now uses Novell ZENworks Configuration Management to centrally manage its 7,500 desktops and 3,000 laptops located across the state. The organization is using the software for application delivery, inventory management and system troubleshooting.

"The remote control feature of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management gives us the ability to centrally support our large, dispersed desktop environment with a very small staff," said McLeod. "It allows us to quickly troubleshoot our users' desktops and laptops in a consistent manner, which is especially helpful for our dispatch sites that obviously need to be up and running at all times."

Novell ZENworks Configuration Management has also made a significant impact on application distribution. "We're able to distribute new applications statewide overnight," said McLeod. "Without Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, we wouldn't be able to do that."

CHP is currently consolidating its data centers. As part of this effort, the organization was looking for ways to leverage virtualization to prevent further server sprawl. To that end, CHP migrated its physical NetWare servers to a virtualized Linux-based environment with Novell Open Enterprise Server and Xen for virtualization.

"The performance of Novell Open Enterprise Server running on Linux has been great and the fact that it ships with Xen for virtualization was a big plus," said McLeod. "Had we gone with VMware, it would have cost us an additional $800,000," said McLeod.

CHP uses many of the features within Novell Open Enterprise Server to simplify the delivery of network services and reduce the cost of its storage infrastructure. "Novell iPrint allows us to centrally manage our printer environment, which is a huge timesaver, as users can now install a printer driver themselves from any location in the state," said McLeod. "Novell Storage Services has been incredibly valuable as well, with the ability to efficiently manage multiple terabytes of data."

In addition, CHP uses Novell Identity Manager to simplify password management across more than a dozen applications, including CARS, its traffic accident reporting system. "Novell Identity Manager makes it easy to integrate with LDAP-enabled applications right out of the box," said McLeod. "Our developers can leverage the solution to build applications that use LDAP for authentication, rather than having to build their own security database, which would have been incredibly difficult to support."

Results

Novell ZENworks Configuration Management has enabled the CHP to support mission-critical applications across 150+ disparate locations with a very small support staff. With this solution in place, the organization has gained greater efficiency while reducing operating costs. "Using Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, we've improved the way we distribute applications, manage IT resources and resolve system issues," said McLeod.

The use of Novell Open Enterprise Server and Xen for virtualization allows CHP to give users the server resources they need without incurring unnecessary hardware costs. "Since migrating to Novell Open Enterprise Server and leveraging Xen for virtualization, we've been able to consolidate one third of the servers in our data center, "said McLeod. "We can now create a new virtual server on the fly, and have it up and running in less than a day."

Novell Identity Manager has nearly eliminated the time-intensive manual processes related to password management and has reduced the number of passwords users have to remember by 75 percent. "Each time a new user is added, they automatically receive access to the different applications they need, based on pre-defined user groups," said McLeod. "That's a huge timesaver for our IT staff and has strengthened security by ensuring the right people have access to the right applications."

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