NHS support focuses on servers, Novell says

Novell's work with the U.K. National Health Service will primarily be in the server area over the next 3 years, a company official said Tuesday.

Novell said Tuesday its work with the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) will focus on how open-source software can lower the cost of the organization's massive program to revamp its IT systems.

Much of that work will be in the server area, where there is an even split within the NHS between use of Microsoft's Windows OS and open-source software, said Chris Papayianni, area general manager for the U.K. Novell will assist with the use of its Suse Linux Enterprise Server.

Novell's tasks will be focused on how applications are distributed along with "effectively managing a lot of the workstations which are based on Microsoft Windows," Papayianni said. The NHS has about 600,000 workstations on Windows, a figure that is projected to grow to 900,000 over the next three to five years, he said.

The NHS has committed itself to both open-source and proprietary software as it seeks to modernize its IT system. In November 2004, the NHS reached a 9-year agreement with Microsoft Corp. for up to 900,000 desktop licenses.

Novell will be consulting with Richard Granger, director general of NHS IT, on how to lower the cost of managing key applications, Papayianni said. The company will also work on a system to allow patient records to be viewed from any workstation along with electronic appointment bookings and prescription systems, he said.

Earlier this month, the NHS and Novell announced a 3-year, £21.8 million (US$38.6 million) agreement to work on the IT project.

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