Open source without business risk… Top tips for a seamless Linux desktop deployment
April 2011

© Copyright Canonical 2011



You’ll also want to choose your Linux variant carefully. As with most things. from reduced licensing costs and improved hardware performance. Linux deployment and maximise your returns on investment. especially given the pressure IT managers are under to keep critical services up and running 24 hours a day. critically. proprietary systems on the desktop. It might seem like a daunting task. future-proof and. successful. In spite of all this.Executive summary It’s well known that open-source software delivers some great business benefits. it’s just too difficult to contemplate large-scale technology change – even if it’s change for the better. partnership is often the key to success for Linux deployments. This reluctance to make the move to Linux is natural. to streamlined systems management and highly-secure. Finally. with no business risk. The software is ready and waiting. without any risk of downtime or disruption for end users. but you’re bound to need some professional help to deliver the best possible experience for your employees. The purpose of this paper is to show how you can achieve the cost and performance benefits of open-source software. but there are actually a number of simple tips that can help you ensure a seamless. however. most IT managers still choose to stick with their existing. opting for something that is fully supported. easy to manage and maintain. 02 03 . virus-free computing. Read on for our top tips for ensuring a seamless Linux desktop deployment. the devil is in the detail. Often. and effective preparation can help you make the move to Linux desktops quickly and easily.

Contents Open source without business risk… Top tips for a seamless Linux desktop deployment Set realistic targets Minimise deployment risk Minimise impact for end users Streamline systems management Get enterprise-class support Future-proof your desktops CONCLUSION THE CANONICAL AdvANTAGE 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 10 .

An experienced commercial partner can help you set realistic targets for phase one of your Linux desktop project. It’s often best to leave this type of user on their existing desktop systems to ensure continuity and minimise disruption. To do this. you’ll need to understand the applications used by different teams and departments today and identify which employees can transition most easily to Linux desktops. stock and barrel. you’ll also be able to ensure users have open-source equivalents for all the tools they currently use.SET REALISTIC TARGETS In the past. the vast majority of information workers will be able to adopt Linux software quickly and with minimal training. you can minimise frustration and resistance to change. However. helping you make quick wins with little or no impact on productivity. 04 05 . By setting realistic targets for your Linux deployment. you can minimise the challenges typically associated with technology change. disruptive changes across the IT environment. You can then turn your attention to additional target user groups over time. Critically. helping them work productively from day one of the deployment. By migrating users who can move easily to Linux first. this “rip-and-replace” approach often meant administrators and end users experienced massive. IT managers have tried to replace proprietary desktops with Linux lock. It’s likely that a small number of users in your organisation will rely on legacy lineof-business applications or other specialist software. However.

An effective deployment strategy is essential for implementing Linux desktops with no risk of disruption or downtime. many first-timers choose to work with commercial partners to get deployment right first time and minimise the risk of downtime and disruption. centralised software deployment and management. To start with. If you already have several Linux desktop deployments under your belt. However. you may feel comfortable going it alone. some organisations have successfully deployed hundreds of Linux desktops a week. you’ll need to conduct a comprehensive proof of concept with a small group of end users before deploying the solution seamlessly in your production environment.MINIMISE dEPLOYMENT RISk With 24x7 dependence on IT. you’ll be able to roll out open-source desktops far more quickly and efficiently. depending on your needs and the size of your infrastructure. Working this way. you should also develop a realistic deployment timeline. As a second step. 06 07 . ITIL-based principles. By choosing a Linux environment that supports remote. To ensure your employees continue to work productively. Linux desktops should be rolled out according to established. your critical systems and data must be constantly available for end users. this means developing and testing Linux software to ensure it provides a like-for-like alternative to existing proprietary systems.

whatever the underlying technology. you could always engage a commercial partner with the right skills and experience to bring your internal resources up to speed. Centralisation and automation are the name of the game. Proprietary software vendors will tell you their technology is simpler to manage. it’s a good idea to choose software that is familiar and highly intuitive – with many of the same controls that employees are already used to. intuitive. STREAMLINE SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT Systems management is a challenge. Once they are accustomed to Firefox as their browser and LibreOffice for their desktop productivity tools. GUI-based console. they will be able to make the change to an underlying Linux system with no fuss. If you’re worried about doing this yourself. Another way to minimise impact is to deploy open-source applications on your existing desktop operating system. or deploy it in-house if you have specific security needs. update and upgrade multiple desktops from a centralised. To make sure end users can continue to work productively on Linux desktops. but that isn’t necessarily so. 06 07 . helping employees get used to them gradually. Look for world-class Linux management tools that can help you deploy.MINIMISE IMPACT FOR ENd USERS If you suddenly replace employees’ systems and productivity applications with new technology tools. or to manage a large enterprise infrastructure. Also ensure that you can access this service online. and you can greatly reduce workloads by minimising manual interventions. there may be significant disruption and reduced productivity. Finally. for example. you’ll need to deliver some targeted training to ensure your systems admins are ready for the change.

This kind of system will enable you to maximise returns from your Linux investments. as well as long-term support. and you’ll be able to ensure all servers and desktops are updated regularly. ensuring that you don’t waste time on anything you don’t strictly need. FUTURE. you should choose software that offers scheduled releases for updates and patches. then so much the better. Also. you have to upgrade – which is often expensive and unnecessary. without so much as making a call.GET ENTERPRISE. To make sure you can. However. but you have to be able to keep them current and properly patched. and which machines. Finally. 08 09 . your Linux desktops must be properly supported on an ongoing basis. and it’s true that their partner network and community resources are impressive. and commercial partners can now provide the enterprise-class support you need. As software becomes unsupported. It’s extremely valuable to have someone who can help you continually improve your Linux environment and represent your interests to the developer community. Proprietary software giants say their support is the best. so you can meet your needs at the lowest possible cost. are covered. Linux systems will never force an upgrade. including forums. You’ll be able to guarantee a useful lifespan of several years for a long-term-release operating system.CLASS SUPPORT To ensure employees can work productively at all times. the Linux world is evolving rapidly. FAQs and knowledge Bases that can help you resolve issues quickly yourself. There should be different support options available. if you manage a large enterprise infrastructure. and to reduce the friction of technology change. To minimise patching workloads. Look for a commercial partner that can give you access to qualified Linux support analysts who are trained to resolve service issues quickly and effectively.PROOF YOUR dESkTOPS Proprietary software vendors have a technology roadmap that’s set in stone. make sure your partner is up to the job of supporting it. with on-site engineers. choose a partner that can give you access to a wealth of community support resources. If there are dedicated support options available. and you should be free to choose how many machines. you might consider getting help from a commercial partner. There’s a lot that can be done to pre-screen updates.

When asked specifically how they minimised deployment risk. pilot and test Pay attention to training and support Determine Windows apps requirements 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Freeform dynamics survey to enterprise Linux users In this paper. To a large extent. streamline systems management and enhance the performance of older hardware. deployed in the right way.275 respondents shared their experiences of deploying Linux in their organisations. effective end-user training and meeting ongoing requirements for Windows apps (see figure below). to choosing the best support options available.unless constant uptime for key services can be guaranteed. we’ve taken a look at how you can minimise the risk of Linux deployments and maximise returns on investment – from setting realistic targets for your deployment. In a recent survey from Freeform dynamics Ltd. 1.Conclusion Linux desktops offer compelling benefits compared to proprietary alternatives. they can help you achieve massive licensing savings. realistic deployment targets. 08 09 . Do you have any general advice on how to minimise the risks associated with a desktop Linux deployment? Consider end user thoughts and needs Thoroughly assess app compatibility Take things slowly. they put most importance on understanding and meeting end-user needs. however. In spite of these clear advantages. the success of your deployment will depend on your choice of Linux software and the capabilities of your commercial partner. IT managers can’t risk making significant changes to their desktop environments . closely followed by application compatibility.

you can access our Landscape systems monitoring and management tool. or at www. day-to-day activities.. many organisations have eliminated the stress and risk typically associated with technology change. The Canonical professional services team helps you identify users who can migrate seamlessly to Ubuntu.” Werner Schmidt CIO.. • Future-proof your desktops… Canonical helps you update your Ubuntu environment effectively based on expert consultancy. “We needed a Linux-based desktop client that had a clear and future commitment to the desktop to ensure that we were getting the type of hardware coverage we needed” said Werner Schmidt CIO at LvM versicherungen. • Minimise impact for end users… Canonical consultants help you minimise the impact of technology change for end users and support them through the transition to Ubuntu. • Streamline systems management.com.. which helps systems admins improve their productivity dramatically. contact us today at https://pages.canonical. LvM versicherungen 10 11 .. has helped a large number of customers roll out open-source desktops to achieve significant cost savings and performance benefits. ensure a seamless transition for end users and maximise availability for your critical IT services.ubuntu. • Minimise deployment risk… Canonical consultants ensure a smooth transition to Ubuntu based on tried-and-tested. Ubuntu’s been deployed in our company for some time now for a range of use cases . • Get enterprise-class support. By choosing to roll out Ubuntu on the desktop with Canonical.The Canonical advantage Canonical. has successfully migrated 10. By subscribing to Canonical’s Ubuntu Advantage service. Ubuntu’s programmed release cycle and long-term support options. the company behind the Ubuntu project.canonical. Alternatively. Canonical can help you: • Set realistic targets for your open-source desktop project.com. German insurer LvM versicherungen.com/contact. with no negative impact on their normal. IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)-based processes. you can minimise disruption during deployment.and we’re very impressed with what we’ve seen. Support available through the Ubuntu Advantage service helps you resolve issues faster and achieve maximum uptime and productivity. Specifically.000 desktops to Ubuntu. “Ubuntu was an obvious choice once we were convinced by Canonical of its ability to scale and company’s commitment to support businesses pursuing our Linux client strategy.. for example. By partnering with us from the earliest planning stage of your open-source project. To discover how Canonical delivers open-source desktops without the risk of downtime or disruption. visit us at www..

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