The City of Brampton has completed a centrally-administered, network-wide Windows 2000 Professional rollout.

Brampton’s municipal government was one of the first to engage in centralized deployment, according to infrastructure and client support manager Jack Marsman, who says the imaging capability of Novell’s ZENworks 3.0 allowed the city to save time and money with the upgrade.

“With ZENworks, we can do that remotely, whereas before, we had to do it with every single desktop,” Marsman says. “It allowed us to do this with in-house resources in a fairly limited amount of time.”

The deployment, handled by Novell partner Tenet Computer, ran from June until Nov. 30. Roughly half that time was spent planning and testing, while the second half was devoted to the actual upgrading of the city’s 900 desktops, a quarter of which are in remote locations.

Tenet presented the city with the option of using deployment tools other than ZENworks, including Microsoft Corp.’s InteliMirror software. But the city opted for the Novell product in part because Brampton’s computers were already running ZENworks 2.5 (the predecessor to ZENworks 3.0 does not have imaging capability). As well, José Nunes, the city’s senior network and systems integrator, says InteliMirror is limited in that it can only distribute Microsoft products.

Though the initial deployment was of a Microsoft product (Windows 2000), Marsman says it was perhaps more important to be able to consistently update the city’s desktops from a central console.

“If an employee inadvertently changes their desktop configuration, it (ZENworks) can put it back to where it belongs,” explains Don Chapman, Novell Canada vice-president and general manager. “What you get here is consistency in the organization. It’s very easy to keep everything up and running.”

Though Marsman could not say just how much of a savings the city would realize by using ZENworks, Jennifer May, Tenet’s account manager for The City of Brampton, says ZENworks can make city employees more productive on a day-to-day basis.

“For the actual city workers, it helps reduce downtime,” she says. “If there was a problem with the workstation, they’d just have to re-image them very quickly.”

Chapman says ZENworks can be used to deploy software to thousands of users at once, and is limited in its reach mainly by bandwidth.

“I don’t think we’ve reached a software limitation. It’s more of a management” limitation,” he says. Chapman says bandwidth slowdowns can be avoided by deploying software with ZENworks from various locations.

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