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Summit County Department of Environmental Services

With Novell Open Workgroup Suite and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Summit County Department of Environmental Services created a reliable network with over 99 percent uptime, while reducing IT administration and travel time by 80 percent.

About Summit County Department of Environmental Services

The Summit County Department of Environmental Services (DOES) in Ohio operates and maintains wastewater collection, transportation and treatment systems in the unincorporated areas of the County and in certain incorporated areas. Summit County DOES prepares the sewer bills and collects the user fees and charges for deposit into the County treasury.

Challenge

As with most government organizations, Summit County DOES needs to provide the best services for its citizens at the lowest cost. The organization had been running its core IT systems and applications on Microsoft' Windows' servers, but was concerned about increasing licensing costs as well as the resources required to maintain the environment.

Summit County DOES also had three physical networks across the organization, and its small IT staff had to travel to multiple locations to maintain its IT infrastructure. Without network connectivity across the organization, the organization's 150 employees also lacked centralized databases, data services, availability of enterprise applications and standardized e-mail and collaboration tools. Summit County DOES wanted to create and enterprise network to improve operational efficiencies, as well as collaboration among its employees across multiple locations.

Novell Solution

To create an enterprise-wide network, Summit County DOES selected Novell Open Enterprise Server running on SUSE® Linux Enterprise. Working with SaberLogic, the agency implemented a comprehensive Novell solution.

"With Linux and open source, we knew we could deliver what we needed, without the high cost of a proprietary solution," said Carol Chimera, Information Systems Development Manager at Summit County Department of Environmental Services. "Novell is aligned with our open source vision and gives us an open platform from a company we trust. SaberLogic is a knowledgeable and professional partner—and so far we haven't run across anything they cannot fix."

Novell Open Enterprise Server is now the organization's primary file server and has dramatically improved network reliability, keeping users more productive. Working with BPI Information Systems of Ohio, the agency implemented VMware ESX to create virtual Linux servers that will reduce the number and costs of physical servers. The agency also uses VMware VMotion, VMware High Availability and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler to eliminate downtime and balance the allocation of computing resources.

Novell ZENworks® helps the agency's small IT staff manage a dispersed infrastructure with the ability to distribute applications from a central location. The IT staff no longer has no travel to multiple locations to deploy updates and can troubleshoot user issues with remote control access to their machines.

Novell ZENworks Asset Management helps the company accurately track its inventory of servers, workstations and handheld devices to comply with the requirements of the Government Asset Standards Bureau.

With Novell GroupWise®, everyone in the company can now communicate company-wide and GroupWise Messenger provides secure instant messaging. BlackBerry Enterprise Server helps keep mobile users in touch.

"As a former Microsoft Exchange administrator, I saw viruses completely ruin systems while GroupWise just keeps running," said Chimera. "We would also have to pay at least three times as much and hire significantly more staff to run any other collaboration platform."

Summit County DOES plans to use Novell Teaming + Conferencing to improve collaboration with other agencies. The ability to share online workspaces will greatly improve communication, without the need to travel to other locations.

To continue to take advantage of an open source platform, the agency plans to run OpenOffice.org Novell Edition as its desktop productivity suite.

"We simply can't upgrade our desktops every time Microsoft comes out with a new operating system," said Chimera. "Our users love OpenOffice.org Novell Edition. They don't need a $700 office suite to write memos. We can't justify the cost when open source software is so good."

Results

By moving from Microsoft Windows to Novell Open Workgroup Suite and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Summit County DOES created a stable corporate network with over 99 percent uptime. The agency's virtualized Linux environment has not only reduced hardware costs, but also increased flexibility to rapidly and cost-effectively deploy new servers as the business requires.

"Our Novell solutions paid for themselves on day one," said Chimera. "Novell gives us best in class solutions and the best value for our money–there is no comparison with other vendors. Novell has come through for us every time."

Summit County DOES has reduced IT administration time by 80 percent and can support more users with a small staff. Centralized server and desktop management has also reduced IT travel time by 80 percent and allows the IT staff to manage each of its plants from a central location.

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