About Lenzlinger Sons
Lenzlinger Sons is a family-owned business that specialises in the production and installation of raised/access flooring solutions for offices and data centres. Lenzlinger also fits inlayed floors, especially parquet flooring, and offers interior woodwork, metal construction, and tent rental services. The company has its headquarters in Nänikon/Uster, Switzerland, and locations in Zürich, Geneva, Lucerne, Vienna and Shanghai. It employs 250 people.
Lenzlinger had been using NetWare® as its main server operating system since 1990, running its file/print servers and Novell GroupWise® e-mail system on a dual-node NetWare cluster at its main data centre in Nänikon, and three other NetWare servers at other locations.
"We were very satisfied with NetWare from the point of view of stability and ease of management, but we were aware that it was reaching the end of its life," said Rolf Würgler, IT Manager at Lenzlinger. "We saw an opportunity to move to a new operating system, which would modernise the infrastructure, simplify support, and enable us to take advantage of a much wider range of applications."
The company wanted a new solution that would enable it to continue using software like Novell GroupWise, and that could be managed easily without requiring extensive retraining for the IT staff. It was also important to implement a new central backup solution that would protect the company's data without affecting system availability.
"We considered moving to a Microsoft Windows infrastructure, but it would have involved a lot of work to port our entire existing software stack," said Würgler. "Instead, we decided to use Novell Open Enterprise Server and migrate our systems to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server. This would enable a quick and simple migration, and would also allow us to continue using most of the same IT management tools that we were already using in the NetWare environment."
Working with NEXPERT AG, a Novell Platinum PartnerSM, the IT team performed a rapid migration of the NetWare servers.
"One evening we simply shut down the old NetWare servers and booted up the new Novell Open Enterprise Server environment," said Würgler. "When the users arrived in the morning, everything was running normally and they didn't even notice the difference. The whole process was very simple and worked out of the box."
Following the success of this migration, the team also migrated its NetWare cluster to a non-clustered Novell Open Enterprise Server environment, running on Linux. All Novell Open Enterprise Server systems run in virtualized environments based on VMWare.
The team also upgraded to the latest version of Novell GroupWise, introducing features such as personalised homepages with integrated RSS feeds, and enhanced teaming and calendaring capabilities.
To improve protection and recovery of the Novell GroupWise environment, Lenzlinger followed NEXPERT's recommendation and installed the GWAVA Reload plug-in, which works in parallel with the company's new SEP sesam backup tool to reduce backup and recovery times significantly.
"We're primarily a construction company: many of our users spend most of their time working at client sites, and they are not in the office very often," said Würgler. "They aren't power-users or IT experts, so when they need to access e-mail or file/print services, they need them to work reliably and be easy to use. The stability of Novell Open Enterprise Server and the user-friendliness of Novell GroupWise make an ideal combination for our business."
The nature of the construction industry means that some users start work as early as 5am, or finish late in the evening - which shortens the available backup window. By combining the GWAVA and SEP sesam solutions, the company has been able to reduce the time it takes to complete the backup process by 50 percent, ensuring that it finished before the first users come to work in the morning.
From an IT management perspective, Novell Open Enterprise Server makes life easy for the IT team: they can use the same tools to maintain the new Linux environment as they previously used in NetWare. This has minimised the need for retraining, and helped them support the new solution from day one.
"Novell has done an excellent job in making the migration process so smooth and easy, and NEXPERT also deserve credit for providing close support throughout the project," said Würgler. "Looking to the future, the move to Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise will be a wise strategy for our organisation, allowing us to take advantage of a wide range of open source software that was not available on the NetWare platform."