About Catholic University of San Antonio Murcia (UCAM)
UCAM is a private university located in the autonomous region of Murcia, in southeastern Spain. With approximately 10,000 students, the university offers undergraduate and master’s degrees in all fields of study. The university is committed to providing a personalized learning experience for its students by offering small-group instruction.
The high administrative workload of IT staff at UCAM meant that IT technicians were hardpressed 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.”
The IT department was looking to introduce a range of new solutions that would automate time-consuming manual processes carried out by university IT staff and help to optimize the university’s teaching environment.
UCAM decided to implement a range of our solutions, namely Application Virtualization, ZENworks Configuration Management, and Vibe.
“We were looking to create a unified platform with a range of integrated solutions,” said León. “Having successfully collaborated with Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) 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 Application Virtualization over competing VMware and Citrix solutions. “Ultimately, we chose 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 Application Virtualization and distributed using 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 Vibe to facilitate information sharing between university users. “Those who benefit in particular from Vibe 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.”
The combined result of implementing ZENworks and Vibe technologies at UCAM has been a significant reduction in the administrative workload of IT staff.
Vibe 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 Application Virtualization eliminated the need for IT technicians to manually install new applications and spend time resolving application incompatibility issues.
These technologies have also promoted a more flexible learning experience for students at the university. “With 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 Vibe has encouraged students to have a more collaborative approach to studying.”
“In terms of working with Novell, what stands out for us is the stability and reliability of the 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.”