Isendoorn College is an IT pioneer, and was quick to deploy tablet devices as learning aids and maintain an extensive Wi-Fi network for its students.
The College worked closely with Micro Focus to introduce a modern technology suite. Running on Linux, the College chose Micro Focus Open Enterprise Server (OES) as its secure file and print environment. NetIQ® eDirectory was also implemented, as a full-service, secure LDAP directory to provide a scalable and agile platform to run the College’s identity infrastructure and multi-platform network services.
Jan Hoetink, System Administrator at Isendoorn College, explains how IT supports the learning environment: “We work with G Suite for Education and are in the process of rolling out managed iPads to all our students. We also support 350 school-owned Windows devices, so we needed a multi-platform management environment. Students were already bringing in their own devices for learning purposes, but we have introduced a more structured process so every student can access the same set of applications without version or connectivity issues. This means centralized configuration management and for this we use ZENworks® Configuration Management.”
Jan’s colleague, Alexander van Bruggen adds: “Because we are dealing with children, we want to make the iPad installation and configuration process as easy as possible. Students can purchase an iPad through our school scheme and the easiest way for us to provide zerotouch configuration is through Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP). Unfortunately, ZENworks Configuration Management didn’t support this functionality at that time.”
The first 380 student-owned iPads needed to be deployed during the summer holidays, so that students could take advantage of the IT-enabled learning environment at the start of the academic year in September. As luck would have it, Micro Focus was about to release ZENworks 2017 Update 1 which includes DEP functionality. Isendoorn College signed up to become a Beta customer and joined the Lighthouse program where they installed a release candidate of the Update 1 in their production environment a few weeks prior to the official release. This enabled them to meet their timelines.
Hoetink on the project: “We were assigned a direct support contact from Micro Focus to guide us through the process. We came across a couple of minor issues which needed engineering support, but on the whole ZENworks 2017 was very robust, and any issues we encountered were quickly ironed out with great support from Micro Focus.”
Previously an Apple mobile device management solution was used and Hoetink and van Bruggen can clearly see the difference between this and ZENworks Configuration Management: “The Apple server used to be really busy with just a couple of hundred devices and we would worry about system performance. We also noticed some application synchronization issues where applications didn’t download to the right devices. With ZENworks Configuration Management the increased workload is taken on transparently while performing imaging and other tasks. We can already see that scalability is great and we have no concerns at all about growing our iPad estate to 2,000 devices within the next year.”
When new applications are deployed to students, the team create a ZENworks Configuration Management bundle, assign this to a group, class, or even an individual, and execute a push deploy to either or both of the Windows and iOS environments. When students purchase an iPad through the school scheme, DEP connects the device straight onto the ZENworks Configuration Management server resulting in true zero effort networking.
The roll-out of the first-year group of student-owned iPads went without a hitch, as van Bruggen comments: “Students received their device with a letter containing log in and configuration details, including how to register for ZENworks Configuration Management through DEP. Of the 380 students, and bearing in mind they are 12 years old, we only had support requests from five, and the rest all managed it themselves.”
Hoetink concludes: “Micro Focus offers a fantastic licensing deal to educational establishments and we often wonder why all schools don’t use the solutions. We are delighted that DEP functionality is now included in ZENworks Configuration Management 2017 and are excited about a wide-scale iPad deployment to all our students.”