Returning Arizona State University West students were introduced to Linux-based workstations in the Fletcher Library on Monday.
Returning Arizona State University West students were introduced to Linux-based workstations in the Fletcher Library on Monday. The Library has successfully completed a 14-month conversion project which includes the replacement of Microsoft Windows NT servers and clients with Linux. Scattered throughout the Library are 71 diskless workstations that are network booted. The client custom disk image is locally stored on a workstation using a 1 gigabyte RAMdisk. Sixteen Linux servers drive all aspects of the Library IT operation.
"We are very pleased with the results of this conversion. We were able to cut our total cost of ownership by 50% and deliver a customized experience to our users that offers more meaningful content and tools," said Perry Horner, Coordinator of Library Technology Support & Development at the ASU West Library. "The foundation we have established using a Linux platform enables us to tap into the open source collective to complement our existing expertise, to address our users needs with fewer barriers to solutions, and allow for creative endeavors that were not available to us while using Windows."
The library workstations offer ASU and non-ASU users access to Internet resources using the Mozilla browser, access to floppy, Zip 250, and network storage, two virtual desktops, Microsoft file viewer applications through the use of WINE, and a disk management tool. The workstations take advantage of network PXE booting and receive a clean disk image into RAM. The workstations utilize Kerberos authentication and LDAP directory services for accounts. Since the disk image is in memory, once the power is dropped to a workstation, all footprints are erased. When the workstation starts up, a clean image is served to the workstation.
The ASU West Library plans to use this architecture as a launch pad for creating open source library solutions for the library industry.
Celebrating its 20th year, Arizona State University West is a community-focused, metropolitan campus of ASU, located in northwest Phoenix. The campus serves the community and more than 7,000 students of diverse ages, ethnicity and experience, through 29 baccalaureate programs, nine master's programs, and eight professional certificate programs.