The Jefferson-Lewis BOCES provides educational services to local school districts and the communities they serve. For nearly two decades (since NetWare® 3.12), the organization has relied on Novell for secure, enterprise networking. The growth of mobile computing brought new requests for supporting BYOD (bring your own device) and a variety of platforms.
“The equipment that staff and students would like to utilize is extremely varied and in many cases doesn’t offer good support for the enterprise,” says Landas.
So he started looking for ways to accommodate various mobile platforms while extending the control, ease of support, and security of his enterprise systems outside of the server room.
With Windows, Novell® Open Enterprise Server and Linux running in a virtualized infrastructure, Landas could offer NCP, CIFS/SMB and AFP connections to the servers. Users could access their files from a web browser or WebDAV-enabled device—a solution many thought was too complicated.
“We didn’t really have a robust solution to support the access our educational community has been demanding,” he says. “As a result, mobile users started looking at outside ‘free’ solutions, without regard to the concerns IT has with many of these public cloud solutions.”
Rejecting cloud-based file storage as too risky, Landas and his networking team considered homegrown scripted solutions to serve files out to devices with VPNs. They also looked at virtual-desktop solutions and customized remote-access solutions that would give access to certain applications in a controlled environment.
“The complexity and cost of managing such an environment didn’t really fit the model of how our users work,” he says.
When Novell released Filr and iPrint with mobile capabilities, Landas knew the new mobility solutions would fit right in.
“Novell Filr would securely extend our existing storage infrastructure to the majority of mobile devices,” he explains. “Users would access the same files they do on our dedicated IT infrastructure, no matter where they’re located.
They’d also control who they share their files and folders with, without the need for our network team to assign access rights.”
“I can now say yes to accessing files from personal devices anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. I can help my users print from their mobile devices without the need for an expensive and complex network solution that only supports one platform or custom printers. And, I can do this while still controlling access and knowing what is shared with whom,” Landas says.
To facilitate collaboration with various mobile devices, he uses Novell GroupWise® 2012 with Mobile DataSync server for ActiveSync. “We can support virtually any ActiveSync-compatible device accessing our email and calendar infrastructure.”
In addition to secure mobile computing, Jefferson- Lewis BOCES realized an unexpected result: Novell Filr has made the staff enthused about file storage again.
“The sheer reliability of Novell solutions has allowed me to offer extremely stable solutions to my community. File storage is a normal part of our daily work lives, but now the perception of our mobile users is that we have freed their data,” he says.
Landas is looking forward to future versions of Filr and iPrint to support their varied educational environment. “Novell is again pioneering secure, logical solutions that meet our needs and doing so with the typical Novell rock-solid stability,” he says. “I’m excited to see what this newly reinvigorated Novell comes up with next.”
Novell technology lets Jefferson-Lewis BOCES keep its heterogeneous IT environment—existing file storage system, printers, and mix of devices for staff and students—without the expense of removing and replacing parts of their infrastructure.
“With Novell’s positive new direction, our future seems to be secure with Novell solutions,” he says. “I would seriously encourage those who haven’t previously used Novell solutions, or those who know Novell but have migrated away, to investigate how they can now integrate Novell’s new platform-agnostic solutions into their existing IT infrastructure.”
Like many long-term Novell customers, Landas watched the Attachmate acquisition with concern about the future of his installed products.
“The Attachmate acquisition has actually ended up solidifying for me that we’ve made the right decision long term, remaining primarily on Novell solutions. The reinvigorated Novell is not only listening more closely to its customers again, and enhancing existing solutions, but is actively working on new solutions to meet our ever-changing needs.”