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Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza

Determined to computerize all administrative functions by 2010, Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza is migrating all desktop PCs from Microsoft Windows to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

About Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza

Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza is the municipal government of Spain’s fifth-largest city. The council employs approximately 5,000 people and provides a wide range of services to the city’s 660,000 inhabitants. Many of these services are now available online, and the council prides itself on being one of Spain’s leading public-sector investors in IT.

Challenge

In order to comply with central government policy on public sector IT, Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza is preparing to move all of its administrative functions online by 2010–eliminating old-fashioned filing systems and paperwork, and providing a faster and more accessible service to its citizens.

To prepare for the increased demand for IT resources, the council decided to re-think its IT infrastructure and ensure that its online strategy could be implemented in a cost-effective manner–a vital consideration where public money is concerned.

Around half of council’s 5,000 staff have computer workstations; these users were reliant on Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office–proprietary software with high licensing costs. In addition, several critical server applications were running on mainframe systems that offered limited support for Web-based environments.

Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza wanted a single operating system that would run on a wide variety of hardware platforms–both servers and desktops–and would help to keep costs low as the demand for IT resources increases.

Novell Solution

Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza had been using NetWare® as its network operating system for over 15 years, and was impressed with its stability and security. The council decided to investigate other Novell® solutions to find a modern operating system that could power its servers and desktops in a similarly secure and reliable manner.

“We wanted an open source solution that would enable greater flexibility in terms of hardware and software choice,” said Ricardo Cavero, Science and Technology CEO at Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza. “With open source, we can decide for ourselves what we want and when, rather than relying on what a proprietary vendor is prepared to deliver. Novell is one of the only major players in the IT industry that can offer the level of support for open source technologies that we need.”

The council chose to implement SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server on its server estate, replacing COBOL mainframe applications with a Web-services architecture on lower-cost hardware. For its desktop machines, the council chose to replace Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, which includes OpenOffice.org, an enterprise-class open source alternative to Microsoft Office.

To minimize the impact of the change, Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza managed the project in two stages. First, it installed OpenOffice.org on the existing Windows desktops, and trained users on the new software. During the second stage, the council will replace Windows with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

This second stage of the project is currently underway, and should be complete within just 18 months. The council is using Novell ZENworks® Linux Management to manage the rollout of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, enabling IT administrators to remotely provision machines on the network. By eliminating the need to visit each machine individually, the organization will realize significant savings in time and cost.

Results

“With SUSE Linux Enterprise, the performance is excellent, even on relatively low-end hardware,” said Cavero. “This means we won't have to upgrade our desktop machines as often, which will provide considerable savings. Moreover, the new open source strategy will reduce our software licensing costs by 50 percent–potentially saving as much as €500,000 per year compared with Microsoft Windows and Office.”

In total, the project is expected to save as much as 15 percent of the council’s total IT budget, demonstrating an effective use of tax-payers’ money to deliver better public services.

“The advantages of this new strategy amount to much more than just cost-efficiency,” said Cavero. “The technical support from Novell is far superior to what we received from Microsoft, even though we previously paid much higher licensing fees.”

Adopting an open source strategy based around SUSE Linux Enterprise will help Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza adapt more easily to the changing demands of public sector IT. High-quality open source applications are freely available, and can run on almost any hardware platform, so the council will be able to adopt the most effective solutions without significant further investment. With Novell as a partner, the council’s IT department can achieve a high level of flexibility with a minimal degree of risk.

“We chose to partner with the Novell team because they care about more than just selling licenses–they genuinely want to help us build a solution that will lay a secure foundation for Zaragoza’s future,” said Cavero.

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