Friotherm AG manufactures integrated heating pumps and cooling systems for large-scale industrial applications, and offers a comprehensive worldwide service for them. The company is headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland, with branches in Europe, South America and Asia.
Friotherm was experiencing increasing performance and reliability issues with its ageing PC stock, which had been in use for more than eight years. The company also wanted to migrate from Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7, in order to take advantage of new functionality and stay up-to-date with vendor support.
The IT team calculated that it would take at least six months to replace the 60 desktops and laptops in use at company headquarters. “Our users run up to 130 different software programmes on each PC,” said Uwe Ruhnau, CFO of Friotherm AG. “It would have taken a considerable amount of time and effort to manually set up all of the machines, which would have posed a major inconvenience for users.”
It was simply not viable for Friotherm to undertake such a lengthy migration process, and the company looked for a way to quickly and cost-effectively handle the migration.
Friotherm has used Novell ZENworks® software for some 14 years. “For us, the decision was simple—there was no question of choosing any other platform than Novell ZENworks to manage our Windows 7 migration,” said Elisabeth Reinhart, Network Manager at Friotherm AG.
Friotherm was already running Novell ZENworks 4 to manage its desktop clients, and was well aware of the ease of use and capability of Novell management software. The company engaged Novell Platinum PartnerSM, Nexpert, to plan an upgrade to Novell ZENworks 11.
“Moving to ZENworks 11 was a big jump for us and we had our concerns, but Nexpert was very effective at addressing these and assuring us that the upgrade would be managed smoothly” said Ruhnau.
The Nexpert team led a five-day fast track deployment workshop, where it worked with the Friotherm IT team to build and test a single standardised Windows 7 desktop image with a package of basic applications. Nexpert then deployed the solution automatically across Friotherm’s PC landscape using Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and ENGL Imaging Toolkit. The solution runs on Microsoft Windows 2008 Server and is integrated with Microsoft Active Directory.
“We had a few interruptions on our end, which delayed the implementation somewhat, but we were still able to complete the process in three months,” said Ruhnau. “Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, together with the ENGL Imaging Toolkit, offers an excellent turnkey solution with great support.”
Now that its Windows 7 deployment is complete, Friotherm is using the Novell solution to easily manage application and operating system updates. The system’s integration with Active Directory enables a flexible, role-based software distribution setup, with the system’s Group Policy feature allowing centralised management and configuration of applications and user access settings.
Using the combined Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and ENGL Imaging Toolkit solution, Friotherm was able to complete its rollout of Windows 7 in half the time and at half the cost of an alternative installation.
“Novell ZENworks Configuration Management has been a great help in building and deploying a completely new Windows 7 setup from scratch,” said Reinhart. “The solution offers impressive ease of management, and enabled us to perform a very low risk rollout without having to invest significant cost or effort.”
In addition to accelerating the migration process, the new solution makes it easier for Friotherm to manage its desktop environment. The company uses Novell ZENworks Configuration Management to test new security patches and application updates centrally before rolling them out across the network. This helps to keep users secure and up-to-date with the latest software developments, while also reducing the administrative workload for IT staff.
Setting up new machines is also much simpler and quicker with Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and ENGL Imaging Toolkit. “In the past, it would take us at least half a day to manually set up a new PC. The new, automated solution has cut this time down to 90 minutes, and integrating new hardware types can be done in minutes rather than hours” said Reinhart.
“So far, our experience with ZENworks Configuration Management has been a completely positive one,” said Ruhnau. “The success of this latest project makes us certain that Novell technologies will remain an important asset to the business for many years to come.”