Published on 30-Mar-2011
Validated on 19 Nov 2012
"My business manager loves me for saving money. The solution has truly exceeded our expectations." - —Tim McGrath, Senior Network Administrator, Chichester School District
Chichester School District
Chichester School District is a regional school district in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Lack of visibility with previous patching product; inefficient, complicated and manual software distribution and patching process; need to optimize IT investments within a tight budget
The integrated patch and power management capabilities of IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix technology, provide IT staff with real-time information on remote computers to simplify patch processes, conserve energy and reduce onsite troubleshooting.
Increased first pass patch success rate from 50 to 99 percent; reduced annual energy costs by nearly 70 percent per PC; reduced time to install and validate a patch from one week to one hour
The IT staff at Chichester School District, a regional school district in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, manages more than 2,000 Microsoft® Windows® desktops and 50 Microsoft Windows servers throughout a six-school network. While the district’s fiber-based network provides fast and reliable connectivity, its previous patching solution lacked the real-time visibility and control to confirm that the proper patches were installed correctly. In some cases, technicians had to drive to each school site to execute manual installations and updates—introducing unacceptable “exposure windows” to district computing resources and increasing labor costs.
Additionally, the IT team wanted to reduce energy usage and computing costs. While individual educator efforts to turn off classroom PCs at night and on weekends helped to slightly reduce energy usage, a more centralized program was necessary to truly deliver consistent savings. Finally, the PC power management program needed to be integrated with the patch management process so that machines could be automatically “woken up” remotely to apply patches overnight.
Installing and validating patches on 1,000 machines in an hour
Using the integrated patch and power management capabilities of IBM® Tivoli® Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix® technology, Chichester School District is overcoming these challenges. The software’s patch management capabilities provide real-time visibility into which patches are required on which machines, and validate installation of these patches within minutes—obviating the need for technicians to drive to school sites doing tedious, manual work. In fact, a recent Microsoft update was remotely distributed, installed and validated on 1,000 machines within an hour or so. The district estimates that it would have taken a week to perform and validate a similar update using the district’s previous tool.
Additionally, the Chichester School District is able to implement energy conservation using the software’s power management capabilities. Distributed “Wake-on-LAN” (WoL) functionality allows the IT team to distribute and install patches to those machines that are turned off at night. This allows for a reduction of energy resources and confirms machines are securely patched—without impacting employee productivity.
Achieving a 99 percent success rate
These technology and process improvements have resulted in significant benefits for the district. IT staff can query the environment on virtually any configuration detail and receive up-to-the-minute answers. “In terms of accurate asset inventory and configuration information, this solution blows every other tool out of the water,” says Tim McGrath, senior network administrator for the district. “I know immediately if a patch is installed or fails, so I can fix it in minutes. I never had that capability with the other tool we used.”
With IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix technology, the district has achieved a first pass success rate of 99 percent. This is a marked improvement over the district’s previous patching tool, which would only reach 50 percent of the environment—requiring technicians to manually “touch” half of their environment to resolve missed installations and waste time tracking down root causes of the errors.
The solution has also helped reduce computing energy costs by 70 percent. Using a single policy-based management console allows IT staff to easily optimize power management profiles while confirming machines are patched during off-hours and then brought back up in time for students, faculty and administrative staff to get to work.
Improving problem-solving with a single management framework
The ability to solve multiple problems with a single management framework was the ultimate reason that Chichester School District chose BigFix technology (now IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager). Compared to a single tool that can only do patch management, McGrath describes the solution as “an all-in-one solution”—where the problem-solving capabilities are truly unlimited. One key example is the district’s recent reprovisioning of software licenses based on the real-time usage statistics provided by the software’s asset inventory reports. This level of visibility and control maximizes the district’s existing software licensing investments and enables the IT staff to deliver the specific software to those faculty members and staff who need it, when they need it. Finally, speed and ease-of-use were additional selection criteria. McGrath’s hyperbolic endorsement says it all: “The software distribution wizards make it so easy, even a monkey could do it.”
For more information
To learn more about IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix technology, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/tivoli/endpoint
You can get even more out of Tivoli software by participating in independently run Tivoli User Groups around the world. Learn about opportunities near you at: www.tivoli-ug.org
For more information on Chichester School District, visit: www.chichestersd.org
Products and services used
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