John Edwards, head of technical services at Surrey Council, said the savings - equivalent to 42% of his IT budget - would come from moving from a mixed NT and Netware set-up to a single operating environment.
He said the reduced complexity of a common infrastructure, as well as some of the remote-working features in Netware, would help cut costs over the course of the three-year deal.
Edwards said, "When I was interviewed for the post I said I could save 30% for technical services. I was given the target of 42%, which we hope to achieve by restructuring technical services in the council."
The split legacy environment resulted from when the council ran on two systems - social services on NT and the rest on Novell. The entire infrastructure is planned for migration to Netware 6 by the third quarter of 2003.
Edwards said savings will come partly from standardisation but also from some of the "bells and whistles" to be found in Novell's software. He highlighted Novell's remote management features and said Novell's directory "seems to work better" than Microsoft's offering.
A review is planned for two years time, at which point the department will assess whether to continue with Novell.