Municipality of Mariagerfjord
Mariagerfjord is a municipality in northern Denmark. The municipal government provides a wide range of services for more than 42,000 citizens. Education is one of its most important responsibilities: it runs 19 schools and 30 kindergartens across the municipality.
The municipal government of Mariagerfjord is based at several sites, which are located up to 45 kilometres apart. The IT infrastructure, which includes more than 1,100 PCs and servers, is divided between the sites, and is managed by one small in-house IT team.
"With so many computers to manage, we were constantly travelling between sites to perform audits, install patches or fix broken machines," said Chris Anthonsen, IT Manager at the Municipality of Mariagerfjord. "We had to do everything manually, which was very time-consuming¶and if someone had a problem with their PC, it could sometimes take us several hours to get to them, which reduced their productivity."
A further problem was asset management: there was no easy way to determine what software was installed on each machine, so it was difficult to ensure that the municipality had purchased the right number of licences for each of its applications. Failure to comply with software licensing agreements can have serious penalties, and the municipality wanted to avoid this risk.
The IT team at Mariagerfjord wanted to find a way to remotely manage its extended IT infrastructure from a central point of control, and began evaluating different solutions.
"We were impressed with ZENworks," said Anthonsen. "We had used other Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) software, and our general experience was very positive. We also realised that Novell was one of the few vendors that could offer all the functionalities we needed—asset management, patch management and remote support—in a single coherent suite of products."
At the same time, the in-house team was looking for an IT partner to help with the implementation.
"We had been disappointed by our previous supplier, so we wanted to find a new partner," said Anthonsen. "We came into contact with IT Quality because of their expertise with the ZENworks products, and we subsequently found that there was excellent chemistry between our two organisations. We have found them very competent and professional, and the documentation they provide is first-class."
IT Quality helped to implement the latest versions of ZENworks® Configuration Management, ZENworks Asset Management and ZENworks Patch Management. The whole implementation took less than three weeks.
"These three solutions basically give us everything we need to manage our IT infrastructure effectively," said Anthonsen. "If there is a problem with a PC or server, we can log in remotely using ZENworks Configuration Management to try and resolve it; and if it can't be fixed, we can install a new operating system image and start again from scratch. ZENworks Asset Management gives us a full and accurate record of the hardware and software installed on each machine, which helps us with auditing and software licensing. Finally, ZENworks Patch Management enables us to roll out software patches and updates to all relevant machines—eliminating hours of tedious manual work."
Mariagerfjord is now trialling Application Virtualization, and intends to use it to test new applications before they are deployed to users.
With the suite of ZENworks solutions, Mariagerfjord has dramatically simplified its IT administration processes. Instead of continually travelling between sites to visit individual machines, IT staff can now remotely access any PC or server on the network remotely, and can alter configurations or install software via a simple, user-friendly management console.
"The time-savings are considerable," said Anthonsen. "For example, if we need to set up a new machine, we can use ZENworks Configuration Management to deploy a standard operating system over the network in approximately 40 minutes. Previously, the installation might have taken an entire day if we had to travel to the site and do it manually!"
These time-savings become even more compelling when the IT team decides to roll out a new application or patch to all 1,100 PCs. Instead of visiting each machine with an installation CD and updating the software manually, the team can perform the entire rollout with a few clicks of the mouse, without leaving their office.
"Overall, ZENworks will cut our total cost of operations significantly—not only because it reduces administrative workload, but also because it helps manage software licensing more efficiently," said Anthonsen. "ZENworks Asset Management gives us a complete and accurate picture of how many licences we need, so we don't buy too many or risk the consequences of buying too few."