Founded in 1954, Tropitone is based in Irvine, California, and is recognized throughout the casual furniture marketplace for its design leadership as well as its commitment to service and value. The company sells its products to retailers, designers and the hospitality trade under the Tropitone and Basta Sole trademarks.
A privately held organization, Tropitone Furniture is seeing enormous growth with sales volume more than doubling in the past few years. The company's small IT staff was challenged to add more servers to handle such growth, and was having to reboot its production servers at least once a week. Creating a reliable infrastructure to support rapid growth became a critical business priority.
The company also wanted to streamline desktop management. Managing workstations had been a manual and timeconsuming process as the small IT team had to visit individual workstations to deliver patches and upgrades.
Tropitone Furniture worked with Novacoast, a Novell Platinum PartnerSM, to select a comprehensive Novell solution consisting of Novell Open Enterprise Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Novell ZENworks and Novell GroupWise.
“With Novell, we get a lot of products and services under one big umbrella and don’t have to go looking for all the different pieces needed to manage our infrastructure,” said Walt Cornelison, Director of Information Technology for Tropitone Furniture. “Novell solutions are tailored for a business of our size and we see a lot more flexibility and opportunity with Linux.”
Tropitone deployed Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on IBM System x machines. With SUSE Linux Enterprise, Tropitone has a stable and reliable platform to manage increasing sales volumes and no longer has to regularly reboot its servers.
“With Novell’s flexible licensing, we can deploy more servers without onerous and expensive upgrade processes,” said Cornelison. “We like the direction Novell is taking with Linux and see the industry moving that way too. It was an opportune moment to make the change.”
Tropitone currently uses a variety of open source applications including SAMBA to manage its Windows domains, and Nagios and Groundwork to monitor network trafficking. The company also uses VMware for server virtualization.
“With Novell, we can build virtualized servers across our enterprise, without the need for a large staff of network administrators,” said Cornelison. “We also now have an open enterprise so we can find best-of-breed products to fit our business, rather than being forced to use a single software supplier.”
To centralize desktop management, Tropitone selected Novell ZENworks. The IT staff can now distribute applications and updates to all its workstations in a matter of minutes, without leaving their desks.
“Novell ZENworks gives us the option to distribute applications and patches all at once, or in phases,” said Cornelison. “We have been able to complete upgrades, such as Microsoft Windows XP, without any user disruption. We are a much more productive company when we can give users exactly what they need.”
The IT staff uses ZENworks Asset Management to automatically track and manage its inventory, replacing the need to manually update spreadsheets. Such tracking allows the company to make better purchasing decisions and maintain licensing compliance.
Tropitone also uses Novell GroupWise which requires little administration time. With GroupWise WebAccess, traveling users have secure remote access to e-mail without their laptops.
“We cannot afford a day of downtime and rely on Novell to provide a reliable backbone to support our fast-growing business,” said Cornelison. “We could not have done it without a partner like Novacoast. Our previous partner could not provide the support we needed—moving to Novacoast was the best decision we made.”
By moving to Novell Open Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Tropitone Furniture has a much more stable and manageable environment and has consolidated its servers by 50 percent. The IT staff no longer needs to add more servers to keep pace with the company’s growth and plans to move as much as possible to Linux in the next few years.
Tropitone has also reduced software costs by using open source software and can now choose the best applications for its business. Novell ZENworks has significantly reduced IT travel time and allows the IT staff to keep its workstations up to date from a central location.
“Novell solutions paid for themselves quickly and have helped us maintain the same IT budget we have had for the past five years,” said Cornelison. “We have a stable, reliable work environment and can add new virtual servers without the need for more IT resources.”