Royal Surrey County Hospital swaps Microsoft for Novell

ZENworks takes System Center’s crown at NHS foundation trust.


The Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Guildford has replaced Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) software with two IT systems management offerings from Novell's ZENworks suite.

The Novell products include, Asset Management and Configuration Management.

The Trust cited high upgrade costs as the main reason why it canned SCCM.

"SCCM wasn't up to the job," Andy Owen, head of IT at the trust told IT Pro.

"It would have cost a fortune to bring it up to date and it didn't have the capabilities we needed, particularly with regard to detailed reporting," Owen said.

The hospital was pointed in the direction of ZENworks by a number of neighbouring trusts that had already made the switch. Owen said he had also attended some NHS IT user group sessions where Novell's solutions were praised.

Following the roll out of ZENworks to all 2200 managed devices, which was completed in October, Owen said the biggest change he's seen is around ease of use.

"From my perspective, we get more accurate reporting, with 90 per cent of machines reporting back, whereas the figure was only about 70 per cent with SCCM," he said.

Paradoxically, Owen also stated it had been easier and more cost effective to roll out Windows 7 to all its estate with ZENworks in place than it would have been with SCCM.

"It was much quicker and easier to create the build,to alter the build both for new requirements and for new machines, and to deploy new application bundles and shortcuts," said Owen.

IT Pro contacted Microsoft for its response to Owen's claims, but nobody was available to comment.

There are also plans afoot to use the product for asset management in future.

"From an IT management point of view, this will allow us to budget better, as we will know in advance the number of machines coming out of warranty that need replacing," Owen said.

"We will also be able to monitor the use of applications, allowing us to reassign licenses if needs be, and renew or remove them as required."

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