Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Oxfordshire County Council Chooses Red Hat Enterprise Linux For County's 282 Schools

Oxfordshire County Council Chooses Red Hat Enterprise Linux And IBM System X And Bladecenter Systems To Deliver Rapid Safe Web Access For County's 282 Schools
Published 5th September 2006

Solution to help school children quickly and safely access key Internet resources...

London, UK - September 5, 2006 - Red Hat, Inc. (NASDAQ: RHAT), the world's leading provider of open source to the enterprise, and IBM, today announced that Oxfordshire County Council is nearing conclusion of the installation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on IBM System x and IBM BladeCenter systems across more than 282 of its remote client systems in the county's schools. The system is used to deliver local web caching within the County's schools system, to improve response times on the "safe" schools' Internet.

The council has deployed Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS and two Intel-based IBM System x servers at each secondary school. These systems also run Websense web filtering software to protect against inappropriate content. A single server solution is deployed in primary schools. The complete system comprises 426 Academic servers with provisioning modules and one Red Hat Satellite Server. Each school has tiered access to the county council's high-speed internet connection, via a central cache.

The Council also opted for Red Hat Network to enable central updates and patches. The Red Hat Satellite Server, deployed in the central computing facility, enables the Council's IT administrators to have maximum flexibility and save time in the management of the remote systems.

"As part of the government's provision of Grant 31B for improved Internet access in schools, we had to look a fresh at how best to enable our pupils to work in a safe environment but still deliver a fast and reliable online learning experience. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux we not only benefit from a cost effective solution, but we also receive a very stable, secure and reliable enterprise-class Linux distribution, that delivers on-going systems management and provides access to new releases via Red Hat's subscription model. This not only meets our educational requirements but also addresses the ongoing IT support issues we face," said Kathryn Proudlock, ICT Project Manager, at Oxfordshire County Council.

An IBM services team from Integrated Technology Solutions (ITS) worked together with Red Hat to build the Satellite environment and assisted with the subsequent deployment methodology and staff training. The consultation process began in February 2005, culminating in the installation of six secondary school pilot sites in August. The rollout commenced during November 2005 with the remaining secondary schools and the commencement of installation for the primary and special schools in January 2006. There have been 277 installations completed to date.

Oxfordshire County Council wanted the roll out to be as smooth as possible without its own IT people spending too much time and resources on each individual Linux installation. The deployment was undertaken by a third party company, Evesham, whose technicians had no Linux skills, so it was imperative that installation of the systems required minimal intervention and that adequate training was provided. By using the provisioning facilities of the Satellite Server and by packaging all third party applications into rpm format such that they could be managed by the Satellite Server, the only operation the technicians had to perform was boot the system from a custom CD.

Oxfordshire County Council has been so impressed with the simplicity of the roll-out process and the comprehensive training it received that it has taken on the remaining deployments single-handedly with the help of Evesham, with Red Hat and IBM only needing to provide occasional support as required.

"The solution for Oxfordshire County Council is a great example of how Linux can be used cost effectively within the public sector and the successful awarding of the solution to Red Hat, a reflection of the attractive academic pricing framework available for public sector organisations. The council's choice of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Network is also recognition of the quality of our services and solutions, as well as the performance, stability and high availability that an open source architecture can deliver," commented Werner Knoblich, Vice President, EMEA at Red Hat.

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