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on 16 December 2010

Landscape systems management simplifies maintenance


Based in Slovakia, the Skalica City Hall IT team must provide a reliable and easy-to-use desktop infrastructure to 120 users. The team found that its existing Microsoft Windows XP-based environment was too expensive to upgrade. It decided to switch to Ubuntu Desktop Edition and adopt systems management tool Landscape Hosted Server Edition, a key part of the Ubuntu Advantage subscription service. The transition to Ubuntu has seen Skalica City Hall reduce IT costs by 70 per cent and save time on day-to-day systems administration.


Skalica City Hall is responsible for providing a range of municipal services to users including the city police, the cultural centre, social workers and the local library. To keep its city services running smoothly, the city hall must provide a finely tuned IT environment to all of its users.

As with most governmental agencies, Skalica City Hall faces the challenge of continuing to provide excellent service levels within a tight budget.

Martin Andel, Systems Administrator, Skalica City Hall, says: “A year ago, we made the decision to make the transition from Microsoft to Linux. The licence pricing was becoming too much for us, and we didn’t want to adopt Microsoft Vista. Ubuntu was the best distribution we tested. It doesn’t compromise on user experience, it’s solid, and it works with all our hardware.”


Skalica City Hall deployed Ubuntu Desktop Edition across 120 desktops. Andel says: “We were really surprised by how easily everyone adjusted to the new operating system. We’re talking about users who are between 25 and 50 years’ old. Some of them are coming up to retirement age. They all made the transition with barely any support required from the IT team.”

Following the success of the Ubuntu Desktop deployment, the city hall decided to look for a systems management tool that could help it manage all the disparate computers in its network more easily. The city hall IT team decided to adopt Landscape Hosted Server Edition, a key part of the Ubuntu Advantage subscription service.

Andel says: “Before we deployed Ubuntu, we had to go directly to each computer to make local updates. Now, with Landscape, we can do it all from a central location.”


IT costs reduced by 70 per cent

Skalica City Hall has made significant cost savings by switching from Microsoft to Ubuntu. Andel says: “We estimated that we would need to spend €25,000 a year as part of a three-year multi-licence programme for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. We’re paying a tiny fraction of that for Landscape and our application streaming server.

“The change from Microsoft to Ubuntu has seen us reduce our IT costs by at least 70 per cent. So not only do we now have an IT environment that is stable, user-friendly and easy to manage, but we’ve made vital cost savings that can help us focus on innovation.”

Landscape simplifies management and saves time

The Landscape systems management tool helps the Skalica City Hall IT team manage multiple Ubuntu machines as easily as one.

Andel says: “Now that we can automate updates and manage our desktops from a single location, we’ve saved a lot of time on day-to-day systems management. It’s really made things easier for us and it’s helped us to reduce our management and administration costs.”

Reliable solution reduces downtime

Since implementing the Ubuntu solution, Skalica City Hall has enjoyed a reliable desktop infrastructure on which it can depend.

Andel says: “We’ve been amazed by the stability and the reliability of the Ubuntu distribution. We don’t have to spend time deploying lots of patches and worrying about security. And we don’t have any trouble with viruses, which gives us real confidence in Ubuntu as a solid technology platform.”

Stable IT environment encourages innovation

With a stable, solid IT environment in place, the Skalica City Hall IT team can concentrate on more innovative projects.

Andel says: “Now we can invest in things we really need. For example, the savings we’ve made mean we’ve been able to launch a new electronic forms programme to help citizens access their personal data. It means they can conduct activities like paying their taxes over the internet. Projects like that really help us to raise the profile of the city hall because citizens can see that we’re making a difference to their lives.”

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