Enterprise management

To manage a large number of specialised applications, Kent Police Authority standardised its infrastructure to reduce costs, increase security and improve the management of 4,000 workstations across 70 locations.

Jan 22, 2009
By Paul Jacques
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To manage a large number of specialised applications, Kent Police Authority standardised its infrastructure to reduce costs, increase security and improve the management of 4,000 workstations across 70 locations.

Kent Police Authority has 6,500 employees, of which 3,600 are police officers who work in more than 70 police stations.

One of the biggest challenges for the authority is the sheer number of applications used to support diverse police activities. The IT staff manage more than 200 applications, many of which are specialised, such as those used for intelligence, forensics and crime reporting. The staff struggled to support and integrate a host of different applications running on multiple platforms, including NetWare®, Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris and Unix.

Standardising its infrastructure was a clear goal. Providing employees with fast and secure access to applications was also a challenge, as most users were required to remember multiple passwords. Security was imperative for the force and Kent Police Authority wanted to give the right users access to the right information.

Finally, Kent Police Authority lacked support personnel in each of its 70 stations and could easily have had its IT staff on the road full-time to support each location. The organisation needed a solution to centrally manage its infrastructure while providing fast, local support.

The solution

Kent Police Authority had already implemented a custom police application on Linux [its open source computer operating system] and was impressed with the results. This success prompted the authority to implement two new platforms – Open Enterprise Server and SUSE®Linux Enterprise Server from Novell, specialists in integrating mixed IT environments – and move away from several of its proprietary systems.

“We were pleasantly surprised with the stability and performance of Linux,” said Mark Williams, manager of specialist services for the Kent Police Authority. “We started out with Linux distribution vendor Red Hat, but the ability to use Novell eDirectory with SUSE Linux gave us an opportunity to easily integrate Linux into our existing infrastructure.”

Running Novell eDirectory™and Novell Identity Manager allows Kent Police to manage user identities and maintain security across its enterprise. Novell ZENworks® provides centralised management for its 3,500 workstations and gives users personalised desktops, regardless of their location, based on user identity.

Kent Police Authority also uses Novell GroupWise® to integrate its email, voice mail, fax and SMS messaging for streamlined collaboration.

Flexibility with an open enterprise

Kent Police Authority has consolidated its environment as much as possible to Novell Open Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server running on Dell PowerEdge hardware. In the past, many of its vertical applications came with specific operating systems and hardware, so creating a standardised Linux-based infrastructure significantly reduces administrative time and costs.

“The majority of our systems are now available on Linux so wherever possible, we use Novell Open Enterprise Server with SUSE Linux as our default operating system,” said Mr Williams. “Rolling out applications on the same hardware and software platform makes everything much easier to implement, maintain and support.”

Kent Police Authority runs its main enterprise network on the Open Enterprise Server and is gradually moving it to SUSE Linux.

The organisation currently runs its Oracle [enterprise software] applications, web servers and storage solution from enterprise content management specialists EMC on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and has also migrated Holmes II, its major crime management application.

Plans are also underway to move its SAP [business software] system to Linux.

“Our systems that are running on SUSE Linux have been immensely reliable,” said Mr Williams. “Havi

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