'Conservative' choice leads dairy institute to NetWare rather than NT

Novell's NetWare is at the heart of plans to cut $1 million off the IT bill at the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute.

The New Zealand Dairy Research Institute plans to slash $1 million from its IT expenditure over the next three years following a complete overhaul of its network.

Palmerston North-based NZDRI has replaced its aging DEC Pathworks network based on DEC Vax machines with PC Direct servers running Novell NetWare 4.1.

The major research centre for the dairy industry, NZDRI now runs a network of 270 PCs and five servers across three sites. In the third phase of the upgrade project, it is upgrading from thin net cable to UTP (unshielded twisted pair) category 5 cabling. Overall the project will cost in the region of $500,000.

“Changing the environment brought with it a number of benefits like reduction in the number of costs of our on-going site licensing contracts, access to much better tools and the ability to introduce email on a global basis,” says NZDRI joint system manager Phil Tuttiett.

“In purely financial terms, the NZDRI stands to save $1 million over the next three years that would have been paid out in upgrading and maintaining the Vax hardware.”

NZDRI’s software supplier, Software Spectrum, provided key implementation staff and systems operation functions such as backup and helpdesk have been outsourced to local service contractor Zero-One.

Tuttiett says the project team has taken a conservative approach and chose NetWare over Microsoft Windows NT because “Novell has more history in networking and is widely accepted across the industry”.

“Novell offered greater functionality and a far more responsive management system because their products were designed for the Lan environment. The criteria was to minimise operational and future capital costs, provide a better managed network environment, enhance productivity at the desktop and achieve compatibility with key organisations like the New Zealand Dairy Board.”

The NZDRI is also using Novell Groupwise 4.1 and ManageWise.

“GroupWise has fundamentally changed the way we operate and we’re only just starting to scratch the surface.

“Installing an efficient email system was the crucial component for us in our selection of GroupWise but we’re starting to see people using scheduling and the task components to operate more effectively.”

Tuttiett says the NZDRI is looking at implementing an intranet and is seriously considering upgrading to NetWare 4.11 or IntranetWare by March next year. It is currently using only one processor on its PC Direct Dual Pentium 100 server but will increase this to two with the implementation of NetWare 4.11.

Although the NZDRI team had no Novell experience 12 months ago, they have found their relative inexperience no barrier.

“We’ve had good advice and support from Software Spectrum, particularly from Matt Rounthwaite, who is something of a GroupWise API guru here in New Zealand.”

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