About University of Zittau/Görlitz
Newly inaugurated in 1992, the University of Zittau/Görlitz is situated in the 'three country corner' of Germany, near the borders of Czech Republic and Poland. Employing 130 professors and 100 research assistants at two sites in Görlitz and Zittau, the University offers undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in applied sciences to 3,800 students.
With 3,800 students and a large number of employees, the IT environment at the University of Zittau/Görlitz is complex to manage. When planning to roll out Windows 7 to workstations across the university's two sites, the IT department sought ways to ensure the migration was as trouble-free as possible.
"We wanted to minimise the disruption and time taken for the move to Windows 7, and our existing tools were simply not able to support this goal," said Olaf Koch, System Administrator at the University of Zittau/Görlitz. "It made sense to take the opportunity to upgrade other aspects of our system, at the same time as introducing measures to accelerate the migration."
Like most educational institutions, the university faced the challenge of balancing security with openness. It needs to ensure authorised students can easily gain access to the applications they require, while locking out threats to security.
The university was already using Novell ZENworks 7.5, and was highly impressed with the quality of the solution. A course run at Novell Gold Partner℠ and Gold Training Partner IntraConnect's training centre demonstrated the advantages of implementing Novell ZENworks Configuration Management.
"IntraConnect have been our maintenance partners for many years now, and have proved to be quick, reliable and goal-oriented," said Koch. "So after attending their Novell ZENworks Configuration Management training course we began seriously considering the value it could give us. The impressive price-performance ratio of the Novell solution was very appealing; as we felt confident it would provide significant benefits at a very reasonable price-point."
Following a successful pilot installation, the university's IT team began a staged rollout of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management. The solution was deployed as a virtual appliance on VMware ESX servers to ensure high availability and simplify both implementation and management.
Novell ZENworks Configuration Management facilitates rapid and hassle-free migration of machines to Windows 7. The university was able to take advantage of powerful imaging and Personality Migration capabilities to speed up a time-consuming process, while preserving personal desktop and application settings.
"The superb imaging and wake-on-LAN capabilities of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management have really made migrating machines to Windows 7 a breeze," said Thomas Jaeger, System Administrator. "Rather than starting from scratch, we can retain the desktop settings on staff's personal PCs, and application settings across all the shared PCs used by students."
Integrated with the university's global directory service, run on Novell eDirectory™, Novell ZENworks Configuration Management dynamically reads user identity data from the directory. This tight integration means the university avoids the cost of upgrading its directory system, while gaining the capability to manage applications and policies intended for those users.
"Novell ZENworks Configuration Management slotted in easily and effectively with our existing user directory, with no need for account replication or synchronisation," said Jaeger. "This made the implementation very simple, allowing us to focus on the Windows 7 upgrade."
The advanced remote management capabilities of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management include automated software updates and healing, saving time and effort for the university's IT team. The easy-to-use web interface enables them to see, at a glance, the status of all assets, so they can immediately see whether all end-user applications have the correct updates.
"Novell ZENworks Configuration Management gives us centralised control over updates, a massive advantage since the two university campuses are 40km apart," said Koch. "Now, using satellite servers, we can easily manage both campuses from our headquarters in Zittau. This is both cost-effective and more convenient, and ensures we can react quickly to issues, increasing user satisfaction."
Novell ZENworks Configuration Management also helps the university's IT team to keep track of all its assets. The university plans to use the Novell solution to create a formal inventory of all hardware and software on its network, creating a more accurate picture of assets that will enable improved budgetary planning and simplify the management of software licences.
The University of Zittau/Görlitz is rolling out Windows 7 in a staged manner as budget for the new operating system becomes available. The ultimate aim is to migrate 1,500 machines to Windows 7.
"Implementing Novell ZENworks Configuration Management means that the speed with which we rollout Windows 7 no longer depends on the size of our team," said Koch. "We now have the tools to step back and let the Novell solution do the work, enabling us to focus on more profitable work."