The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: May 2006

Home Affairs taps Novell Linux

1 May 2006

The South African Department of Home Affairs has inked a deal with Novell that will see the governmental organisation implementing a worldwide collaboration system based on Linux.
Novell and the South African Department of Home Affairs have announced the launch of a global project to deploy the Novell GroupWise collaboration solution running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server at each of the department's 635 foreign missions, border posts, and local offices. The project represents one of the biggest Linux-based solutions in the South African national government.
As a result, South Africa's Home Affairs Department gains a reliable, secure collaboration platform that leverages the low cost and flexibility of open source.
"We need follow-the-sun technology, since wherever the sun goes, a Home Affairs official wakes up with the intent of rendering a service," said Kgabo Hlahla, deputy director general of information systems at the Department of Home Affairs. "Our officials need access to information and communications capabilities at their fingertips. Since we are also dealing with confidential and private information, security is a key priority." The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for a range of services for South African citizens, including identity and travel documents, marriage, adoption, and more, and it also handles immigration services for travellers to the country. The Novell-based collaboration project is the second phase of an initiative to modernise and connect the department's worldwide branch infrastructure. The rollout will comprise 435 local branch offices, 60 border posts and 120 foreign missions. It will connect 7500 employees to e-mail and collaboration services this year, expanding to roughly 11 000 employees next year through the department's capacity building initiatives. Management and auditing of the worldwide system will be centralised to lower costs and strengthen security.
Kgabo Hlahla and Nhlamulo Ndhlela
Kgabo Hlahla and Nhlamulo Ndhlela
The department plans to use two local partners, NetCB and Shimo IT, for the domestic deployment of the system and will handle ongoing support and administration through its own internal IT resources. It will tap into Novell's worldwide skills ecosystem for the global rollout of the solution. Driven to GroupWise by its strong feature set and security, the department saw deployment on Linux as an important step in introducing open source into its environment.
"While GroupWise was the main draw, Linux and open source are massive priorities for us," Hlahla added. "Although the South African government's open source strategy has been approved at a high-level, some departments have been slow to adopt Linux and open source. We feel that Linux adoption by the Department of Home Affairs can be a meaningful proof point of the value of Linux for other departments."
"Novell's technologies, global presence, strong partner relationships, and technical support are helping South Africa make the move to Linux," says Nhlamulo Ndhlela, executive, Public Sector Business at Novell South Africa. "By leveraging SUSE Linux Enterprise for a reliable, low cost platform and deploying Novell GroupWise as a secure, world-class collaboration solution, the Department of Home Affairs gains the best possible result - a state-of-the-art open source operating system plus powerful collaboration infrastructure that is easily installed and managed for a global deployment."
For more information contact Trish Barwick, Novell South Africa, 011 322 8300,

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