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All Eyes on ITV

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Liz Tanner

01 Feb 2006

ITV is the largest commercial broadcaster in the UK, watched by nearly 45 million people each week. With the largest programming budget in Europe, ITV shows nearly 6,000 hours of original programming each year.


ITV was formed several years ago as the result of a merger between Carlton TV and Granada. As a result, the company had a variety of platforms, including 50 different UNIX systems, which were expensive and difficult to maintain. Updates for a range of legacy software and hardware were either costly or non-existent.

The IT staff was struggling to simplify and standardize its diverse environment and maintain consistent uptime. A major goal for ITV was to consolidate and simplify its infrastructure for 6,000 users across 90 locations in the UK, U.S., Germany and Australia.


ITV selected a number of Novell solutions as key components of its new infrastructure including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Novell Open Enterprise Server, a Novell identity and access management solution, and Novell ZENworks.

"We chose SUSE Linux Enterprise Server because it offered the best overall package of support, a stable distribution of Linux and a long-term relationship with a trusted partner," said Nick Leake, Director of Operations and Infrastructure at ITV. "The Novell direction around Linux is second to none. We found that the combination of training, managed software releases and support was superior to what we could get elsewhere."

ITV began migrating all of its UNIX data center systems to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, replacing expensive servers with low-cost, Intel-based hardware. The company runs many of its mission-critical applications on Linux, including many UNIX and Oracle systems, with significantly better uptime to keep business applications available at all times.

"For us, running Linux in our enterprise data center makes a lot of sense," said Leake. "It provides us with high levels of reliability and performance, as well as a low running cost. We can't beat it."

ITV is realizing substantial cost savings by consolidating its servers. With the resulting space savings, the company can create scaled-down data centers at fewer locations. ITV is also reducing licensing costs by having fewer servers that are dedicated to specific systems, such as its Oracle databases.

Novell Open Enterprise Server will allow ITV to consolidate even further with the ability to run file, print and mail servers on Linux. With Open Enterprise Server, the company can take advantage of trusted Novell services on a cost-effective platform. ITV is also considering Novell Linux Desktop for many of its users.

"We are very comfortable running enterprise systems on Linux and have been considering Linux on the desktop for quite some time," said Ben Goodyear, Head of Infrastructure at ITV. "We believe we can cut costs while offering the same user functionality. That is partly because Novell has done a good job of application distribution with Novell Linux Desktop."

A Novell identity and access management solution helps ITV secure and manage user identities. All user identity information resides in Novell eDirectory, while Novell Identity Manager automatically synchronizes information across diverse applications. Linking applications to eDirectory helps automate many business processes, such as HR services, and enhances security by giving users access to the right information based on their roles in the organization.

"Novell identity management solutions are the most scalable within the industry and can handle well in excess of the number of identities we will need to manage," said Leake. "We are able to provide secure access to the freelance producers and camera operators who move through our organization on a regular basis."

ITV uses Novell ZENworks to standardize its workstations and manage 600 applications across a dispersed enterprise. The IT staff can now deliver new applications enterprise-wide in a matter of hours. ZENworks ties into eDirectory so ITV can deliver personalized desktops to users, based on their roles within the organization.

"We found that Novell ZENworks was superior to anything else in the marketplace," said Leake. "It is an invaluable tool for a centralized IT staff like ours."


By standardizing and consolidating its infrastructure with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, ITV has created a high performing and resilient environment. The organization is seeing substantial performance gains with several of its mission-critical systems and has close to and in excess of 99.999 percent uptime for its production environment.

Novell Open Enterprise Server running on SUSE Linux allows ITV to further consolidate file, print and mail servers to simplify IT management, while significantly reducing hardware and software costs. A standardized environment has also simplified IT training, allowing ITV to focus primarily on Linux, rather than splitting its training across multiple platforms.

"Without a Novell Linux solution, we would have had some difficult decisions to make," said Leake. "We would have had to choose an alternate platform that would not have offered the same level of scalability across our enterprise, or the same degree of performance and cost savings."

* Originally published in Novell Connection Magazine


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