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Gassmann Boosts Workflow with the Kodak Virtual Operating Environment

Press release from the issuing company

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, - Print service provider W. Gassmann AG in Biel / Bienne is the first European company to utilize the Kodak Virtual Operating Environment for its Kodak Prinergy Connect Workflow System. This implementation will enable the organization to enhance operating performance and system utilization, streamline administration, and reduce energy costs.

Gassmann is one of Switzerland's leading publishers and printers. The company employs around 280 staff, and specializes in the commercial printing and newspaper markets, as well digital media.

In its native bilingual region, Gassmann publishes two dailies – Journal du Jura and Bieler Tagblatt – plus several ad journals and weeklies.

In the market for commercial sheetfed offset products, Gassmann and its Courvoisier SA subsidiary enjoy a reputation as high-quality print service providers. Among their output the companies print exclusive collateral for world-famous brands in the Swiss watchmaking industry. In 2010, Courvoisier won the European and international SAPPI Printer of the Year awards.

Workflow system virtualized

Gassmann's adoption of the Kodak Virtual Operating Environment was motivated by the success of virtualization projects in other areas of their business. The company received comprehensive support in setting up the Virtual Operating Environment from one of Kodak's channel partners, the OFS Group.

In a conventional set-up, an operating system runs on the hardware while various software applications run on the OS. In a virtual environment, the virtualization software – which creates virtual environments, and is also referred to as virtual servers – is installed on the physical hardware. This means several virtual machines that behave like ordinary standalone computers can be hosted on physical computer hardware, such as a workflow server. The technology enables users to make far more efficient use of their hardware capacity. Other core benefits of virtualization include reduced overall hardware requirements, lower energy consumption, and better portability of software to new hardware if the latter is upgraded in the future.

"In summer 2010 we were looking into renewing the server hardware for our Prinergy Connect Workflow," reports Fritz Schmid, head of the Prepress department. "We needed to replace the primary and secondary servers, and decided to virtualize the system at the same time."

The new hardware, which includes 12GB of RAM and 1TB of disk space, was virtualized using VMWARE Virtualization Software. While the Prinergy Connect Workflow runs on one virtual server, other virtual machines – for Kodak InSite Solutions, for example – could also be configured on the same hardware.

Efficient prepress work

The virtualization of the Prinergy Connect Workflow has not changed the way the prepress operators work. They carry out their workflow tasks in the same way using the workshop client software, with two floating licenses for the Kodak Preps Imposition Software. Production is generally organized in two shifts, enabling 950 color pages a day on average to be processed with the workflow system.

On the output side, the Prinergy Connect Workflow controls two Kodak Trendsetter News Platesetters, two Kodak Matchprint Inkjet Proofing Systems, and two color laser printers for reduced-size imposition proofs.

Gassmann uses the same CTP equipment for newspaper plate imaging as for sheetfed offset. For the company's four sheetfed offset presses, Gassman works with two Kodak Trendsetter News Platesetters, enhanced with upstream plate preloaders and the commercial option for high-res output and uses a KODAK :MERCURY P-HD 850/1250 Processor to alternate between Kodak ThermalNews Gold Digital Plates for the newspaper presses and Kodak Electra XD Thermal Plates.

As Gassmann's Prinergy Connect Workflow configuration comprises two physical workflow servers that are managed within the Virtual Operating Environment, redundant server functionality is guaranteed. If one server fails, it can be detected by the system, and the affected server functions automatically transfer to the working hardware.

"Availability is paramount to us," adds Schmid. "We wanted to be able to access the system using the software from wherever we happen to be, and not have to walk back to the server room. The KODAK Virtual Operating Environment has delivered on its promises, and has made system administration and maintenance far simpler."


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