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Medical College of Georgia

The Medical College of Georgia migrated to Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise for 90 percent less than the cost of an equivalent UNIX platform.

About Medical College of Georgia

The Medical College of Georgia is the 13th-oldest continuously operating medical school and research center in the United States. The college has approximately 5,000 faculty, staff and residents, and more than 2,400 students in five schools: Medicine, Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Studies and Nursing.

Challenge

The Medical College of Georgia wanted to upgrade its Web hosting platform to increase both security and reliability. The college also wanted give department managers the ability to maintain their own Web content, which required integration with its directory structure.

With nearly 6,000 desktops spread across 65 different buildings, a small IT staff was challenged to keep its IT environment updated and patched on a regular basis. By automating desktop management for its Microsoft Windows XP and Vista environments, the IT team could greatly reduce the time spent on enterprise support.

Novell Solution

After experiencing security vulnerabilities with Microsoft IIS, the Medical College of Georgia experimented with Apache on Sun Solaris as its Web hosting platform, but found that it lacked robust directory services and file system capabilities. The college ultimately selected Novell Open Enterprise Server running on SUSE® Linux Enterprise, along with Novell Cluster Services™ for high availability.

"We found that the Novell solution worked well with our other academic software and would allow us to leverage our existing Novell file system and eDirectory™ environment," said Lawrence Kearney, system support specialist at the Medical College of Georgia. "The enterprise-level support we've been accustomed to with Novell was also a major consideration."

One of the college's primary goals for its Web hosting project was to grant publishing rights to each of its departments, enabling them to maintain their own content using its web content management system, Adobe Contribute and Adobe Contribute Publishing Server. Novell Open Enterprise Server and Novell Access Manager™ allow the college to use a variety of authentication, authorization and file system access protocols to create a collaborative approach to maintaining its dynamic Web site.

"Instead of just a handful of IT personnel managing all Web content, we now have 325 users across each department who keep their own information up to date," said Chris Peavler, manager of Server Administration at the Medical College of Georgia. "The biggest benefit of moving to Novell Open Enterprise Server has been the ability to distribute the content management workload, while allowing us to maintain overall control over the access and presentation of our public Web site."

"Our new Web platform performs significantly faster running on SUSE Linux Enterprise," said Kearney. "We have much greater Web site performance, as well as greater flexibility to make changes using open source development tools."

The college uses Novell Identity Manager to synchronize 15,000 user profiles across dozens of systems, including Banner, PeopleSoft, Novell GroupWise® and other department-specific applications. By automating user provisioning and deprovisioning, the college can manage user accounts significantly faster, while increasing security.

Using Novell ZENworks® Configuration Management, the college has centralized management for its Microsoft Windows XP and Vista environments. The IT staff can now remotely deliver applications enterprise-wide in a matter of hours. Similarly, the IT staff can use remote control functionality to troubleshoot workstations without having to travel to individual machines.

"Our IT team is just too small to be spending much time traveling to various locations," said Peavler. "With Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, they can manage our diverse academic environment without leaving their desks."

The college took advantage of the Advanced Technical Training offered by Novell Training Services to improve the rollout of Novell Open Enterprise Server on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

"We took what we learned in Novell Advanced Technical Training and put it to use immediately in our production environment," said Kearney. "The concepts and information contributed directly to our success, resulting in a more predictable, reliable and secure Web hosting platform. The return on investment was remarkable and noticed by all."

Results

By moving its Web hosting platform from Microsoft IIS to Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise, the Medical College of Georgia has increased both the reliability and security of its public Web site. The college implemented its solution on Intel-based hardware for 90 percent less than the cost of an equivalent UNIX solution.

Novell ZENworks Configuration Management has reduced travel time and costs by 50 percent, allowing a small IT team to do more with less.

"We can go as long as a month without ever talking about an issue with our Web site," said Kearney. "In the past, it was at least a weekly discussion. We now have a secure and reliable Web hosting platform, backed by enterprise-level support from Novell."

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