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Catholic University of San Antonio Murcia (UCAM)

The Catholic University of San Antonio Murcia implemented several Novell solutions to reduce the IT administrative burden while providing a flexible and creative learning environment for students.

About Catholic University of San Antonio Murcia (UCAM)

UCAM is a private university located in the autonomous region of Murcia, in south-eastern Spain. With approximately 10,000 students, the university offers undergraduate degrees and masters in all fields of study. The university is committed to providing a personalised learning experience for its students by offering teaching in small groups.

Challenge

The high administrative workload of IT staff at UCAM meant that IT technicians were hard-pressed to manage the University's demanding IT environment with its more than 10,000 users.

"The installation of new applications on university desktops was a particularly time-consuming and unrewarding task for IT staff," said Sergio León, IT Services Director, UCAM. "Installing new applications would take up nearly 200 man hours every academic year. Every time a new application was installed, over 80 other applications on each desktop needed to be run and tested to ensure compatibility. Often, the introduction of a new application would restrict the functionality of another existing application."

Another strain on the university's IT resources was the management of usernames and passwords, and the provision of new user accounts during busy student enrolment periods.

The IT department was looking to introduce a range of new solutions which would automate time-consuming manual processes carried out by university IT staff and help to optimise the university's teaching environment.

Novell Solution

Working with a Novell Partner, UCAM decided to implement a range of Novell solutions, namely Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization, Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, Novell Vibe® OnPrem (formerly Novell Teaming) and Novell Identity Manager.

"We were looking to create a unified platform with a range of integrated solutions," said León. "Having successfully collaborated with Novell on a number of projects over the past ten years, we felt that Novell was the right provider to establish this sophisticated new IT environment."

Opting to implement an application virtualization tool, UCAM selected Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization over competing VMware and Citrix solutions. "Ultimately, we chose Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization because it was the most independent solution and required no installation of additional components," said León.

Virtualized applications at UCAM now include SPSS, Adobe Cs5, Eclipse, QuarkXPress and Microsoft Word. New applications at UCAM are now tested using Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization and distributed using Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, university software repositories or by pen drives to independent computers. Running in an isolated environment, new virtualized applications pose no threat of incompatibility with existing applications.

UCAM is using Novell Vibe OnPrem to facilitate the sharing of information between university users. "Those who benefit in particular from Novell Vibe OnPrem are teachers and students," said León. "Teachers are able to create project workspaces which act as repositories of information for particular groups of students. These workspaces encourage students to work collaboratively by allowing them to upload and share research results and work on the same tasks simultaneously."

Novell Identity Manager has also been an important addition to the university's IT environment. "Novell Identity Manager has been particularly useful during the enrolment period at the start of each academic year," said León. "The solution automatically assigns a new user name, password and email account to each new student."

Results

The combined result of the implementation of Novell technologies at UCAM has been a significant reduction in the administrative workload of IT staff.

Novell Vibe OnPrem has enabled university users to create their own project workspaces without relying on the help of IT staff, while the implementation of ZENworks Configuration Management and Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization have eliminated the need for IT technicians to manually install new applications and spend time resolving application incompatibility issues.

Novell technologies have also promoted a more flexible learning experience for students at the University. "With Novell ZENworks, students can log onto any desktop in any classroom in the University safe in the knowledge that the application they require will be available and will function as it should," said León. "What's more, our teachers feel that the introduction of group workspaces with Novell Vibe OnPrem has encouraged students to have a more collaborative approach to studying."

Novell Identity Manager has ensured that matriculating students no longer have to wait to access their user account. "In the past, new students during the enrolment period would typically have to wait for a week for their user accounts to be established," said León. "Now, with Novell Identity Manager, they can begin using their accounts almost immediately."

"In terms of working with Novell, what stands out for us is the stability and reliability of the Novell platforms we've implemented," said León. "We've been able to launch these solutions and let them run with minimum supervision, while the man-hours they've saved us are incalculable. For this reason, I'd certainly recommend a Novell environment to other similar educational institutions."

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