Though its moving to Red Hat, Chicago hasnt abandoned Sun. I still have a few systems that arent ready for Red Hat, Niersbach says. One of them is Oracle Financials, which is made up of probably six or seven Solaris servers. Sun also powers Chicagos customer service request (CSR) system, which routes work orders to numerous city agencies.
A decision to migrate to a new platform requires plenty of homework, she says, noting that many apps have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis: Will they support Red Hat?" Also, managers must weigh factors like what file system theyll be using for example, that of Veritas or Oracle.
A migration decision is like playing three-dimensional chess, in which a plethora of interlocking variables vendors, hardware, software must be considered.
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Because every time you make a change to the environment you have to think how easy or how complicated youre going to make it.
One big question: is a given product going to be supported for a lengthy period? Oracle threw us another surprise recently when they said that theyre only going to support their 9i release 2 for so long. If you dont upgrade by a certain date, then theyre going to penalize you for that, she says. So those kind of issues make it difficult for everyday users like us.
Amid all the factors, an especially vital one is certification, Niersbach says. Is the application certified at the level you need it to be on the hardware youre using?
Looking ahead, Niersbach expects to do more with virtualization. Wed like to reduce the number of servers. Because a lot of companies, they may have 3-400 servers, but the CPU utilization is usually very low. The way to reduce that and maximize that uses virtualization. So were looking in to that.
At this point Chicago is contracting with Red Hat for its Linux support. But Oracle recently announced it was offering low cost Linux support. Would Niersbach consider that?
I dont know yet, she says. I think Id have to be a little open-minded about it, find out more information. Id have to find out the pricing. But, she notes with a laugh, I pay Oracle enough money a year.
In the mean time, she has her hands full. Theres a lot more proof of concepts that we have to do. Weve grown significantly and I see us migrating to still more Red Hat. There are so many projects its about trying to make time for them all.
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