About RBF Consulting
RBF Consulting provides consulting services for planning, civil engineering, design, surveying and construction management. The company is one of the most prominent, award-winning consulting firms in the United States.
With 600 employees across 15 locations, RBF needed a way to keep all employees, external consultants and clients informed throughout the lifecycle of each project "In addition to our internal consultants and engineers, we work closely with many outside specialists," said Steve Tucker, senior system analyst and associate for RBF Consulting. "We wanted to offer a central location that would enable internal and external constituents to collaborate on projects in real-time. A major component of this was the sharing and versioning of documents, such as project plans, survey manuals and CAD files."
RBF also was looking to bring greater consistency and reliability to its IT environment. "Because of the nature of our business, we were operating multiple versions of many complex applications," said Eric Esz, senior analyst for RBF Consulting. "Many of these applications couldn't co-exist on the same workstation and when we needed to apply patches, we practically had to rebuild machines to avoid uninstalling applications that could cause conflicts. The process took hours."
RBF worked with GDS2, a Novell Platinum Partner, throughout the technology evaluation and selection process. "GDS2 consistently introduces us to new technology that really benefits our organization," said Tucker.
The company selected Novell Teaming after evaluating several collaboration solutions. "Novell Teaming enables us to create virtual white boards to share information in real time across workgroups inside and outside the organization, which is very helpful for the type of work we do," said Tucker.
RBF now leverages several components of Novell Teaming, including document management, calendaring, blogs and other functionality. Each time a project document is changed, all subscribers are instantly notified. When a project is completed, all documents and images are packaged through a Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning tool within Novell Teaming. "We just copy the file structure to CD so we can present a complete deliverable to the client," said Tucker. "It's quite impressive and very useful, particularly for our clients in the government sector."
RBF also selected Novell ZENworks® Application Virtualization to eliminate application conflicts and accelerate deployments. "Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization is more lightweight and self-contained than the other alternatives we evaluated," said Eric Esz, senior analyst for RBF Consulting. "We looked at Altiris but it required a runtime environment, and we knew that would cause issues with our AutoCAD environment."
RBF uses Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization to deploy virtualized applications such as CAD, modeling and GIS software faster and with greater reliability. "Using Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization, we can test and deploy multiple applications on the same machine without compromising system reliability," said Esz.
RBF also uses Novell ZENworks to centrally manage its nearly 800 workstations. "Novell ZENworks gives us a reliable way to central and remotely manage our workstations and quickly and resolve user issues, which is ideal for supporting multiple locations," said Esz.
The company runs many Web-based applications such as Novell Teaming, Novell GroupWise® and help desk software on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server. "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a rock solid platform and has worked smoothly with everything we threw at it," said Tucker.
With Novell Teaming, RBF now has a central location for its consultants, external specialists and clients to view the status of projects and effectively collaborate in real time. "With increased visibility among our various users, Novell Teaming has improved decision making processes and helps prevent costly mistakes throughout the lifecycle of projects," said Tucker.
The company has also found Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization beneficial. "Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization helps us isolate programs to simplify and accelerate deployments," said Esz. "Because the virtualized applications run in an isolated environment, we now have no problem running multiple application versions at the same time."
In addition, Novell ZENworks has accelerated the imaging and deployment of new machines. "With Novell ZENworks, we can build new workstations up to ten times faster," said Matt Sollie, systems analyst for RBF Consulting. "And we've brought consistency to our workstations—a huge benefit from a support and security perspective."
The company will also deploy Dynamic Storage Technology, a component of Novell Open Enterprise Server, to offload an estimated 80 percent of its data to less expensive storage devices.
"Novell's strategic direction of embracing the Linux* market was a good decision," said Tucker. "It's been really beneficial to work with a company that provides a single unified product line from desktop to servers."