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University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico adopted a Multiplied SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop strategy to increase student computer access tenfold, and reduce lab setup costs by 80 percent.

About University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico (UNM) is the state's largest university, serving more than 32,000 students. UNM is home to the state's only schools of law, medicine, pharmacy and architecture and operates New Mexico's only academic health center. UNM is noted for comprehensive undergraduate programs and research that benefits the state and the nation.

Challenge

The University of New Mexico wanted to increase computer access for some of its students. However, creating more computer labs across campus would significantly increase the university's hardware and software costs, as well as the infrastructure costs required to wire the classrooms.

In addition, the university's small IT staff was bogged down trying to maintain a growing number of desktops. Walking across campus to install applications and updates, as well as troubleshoot user issues, was time-consuming. The university wanted to centralize and standardize desktop management to reduce administration time.

Novell Solution

Without the budget and dedicated staff required to create and maintain new Windows-based computer labs, the University of New Mexico turned to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Desktop. With the Linux Desktop Multiplier from Omni Technology Solutions, each Linux PC can support up to 10 simultaneous users.

"We built a new computer lab with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop for 80 percent less than the cost of a Microsoft Windows solution," said Adel Saad, Systems Administrator at the University of New Mexico. "We avoided expensive hardware, increased software licensing and maintenance costs, as well as the need to add any network wiring or cabling to our classrooms."

With the Linux Desktop Multiplier, powered by Userful, up to 10 users can use the same Linux PC. Each user has an individual keyboard and mouse to access a PC running SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, complete with the OpenOffice.org productivity suite and Firefox Web browser. The university plans to expand the use of Linux desktops throughout its campus.

"Many of our students are asking for Linux and want the benefits of working in an open environment," said Saad. "With SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, students can use the command line and open source development tools to create and modify their own software. They have also been surprised at the browsing speed of Firefox."

"SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop not only gives us tremendous cost savings, but is also much more reliable and easier to maintain," continued Saad. "We spend far less time patching and maintaining our Linux desktops and they are less vulnerable to viruses and security threats."

UNM also increased security by implementing Novell GroupWise® and Novell GroupWise Mobile Server as its collaboration platform. The university's staff and faculty now have remote access to e-mail and calendars from any Web browser, as well as from their Treo and Blackberry devices. GroupWise Messenger also provides secure instant messaging, based on user identity.

"We evaluated Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, but we were concerned with the vulnerabilities and maintenance costs," said Saad. "We also tried AOL for instant messaging, but had too many security issues. Novell GroupWise gives a stable system that really does the job for us university–wide."

Novell ZENworks® has greatly increased the productivity of a small IT staff. In the past, the university used a combination of systems for application delivery, imaging and inventory. Using the ZENworks suite, the IT staff can automatically deliver applications and troubleshoot user issues without having to travel to individual workstations. Imaging now takes 13 minutes, rather than 45 minutes, and the IT staff can easily create accurate inventory reports.

"In the past, solving a user problem often required a 15-minute walk across campus," said Saad. "Now we can do everything with Novell ZENworks via remote control without ever leaving our desks. ZENworks is a huge time saver."

Results

By adopting a Multiplied SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop strategy, the university has reduced its hardware and software costs by 80 percent and saves $24,000 in infrastructure costs with each computer lab. With the stability of Linux, the IT staff has also reduced management time for its desktops by 90 percent.

With Novell ZENworks, the IT staff can now distribute applications, image new machines and use remote control to solve user issues from a central location. Automating desktop management has reduced IT travel time by 90 percent and desktop imaging time by 75 percent.

"Novell has allowed me to provide the university with better products and greater computer access for our students, while achieving tremendous cost savings," said Saad. "Without Novell solutions, we would probably have to double our staff to do what we do now."

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