Thursday, June 13, 2024

Linux Wins Canadian Convert

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By Sean Michael Kerner

TORONTO — Government IT organizations and corporate enterprises that have to manage increasing requirements with decreasing budgets have an ally in Linux, an HP told attendees of the Real World Linux show Wednesday.

“Linux’s killer app is not Apache, it’s cost,” HP’s C.J. Coppersmith, HP’s director of Linux strategy, said. “The [total cost] benefits of moving from UNIX to Linux are just incredible. Everyone is facing the question of how do I do more with less.”

Coppersmith went on to highlight the Palo Alto, Calif., company’s offerings, emphasizing support as a critical differentiator. HP’s strong presence at the Real World Linux show also includes one of the largest booths (alongside Novell and IBM), well-stocked with sales representatives pitching the enterprise customers that filled the exhibit hall.

Coppersmith introduced a riveting presentation by the City of Calgary’s Manager of IT Infrastructure, Dan Ryan. The western Canadian city is an HP client and UNIX migration success story.

Calgary began a proof-of-concept in January of last year to see if Linux could help it maintain service levels in the face of an aging IT infrastructure. At the same time, the city was dealing with staff and budget cuts mandated by the City Council.

Ryan began to take Linux seriously at that time because IBM , HP and Oracle had become involved with the operating system, giving him a certain degree of comfort.

Calgary first test case was on a tax application that processes more than 330,000 data-intensive records. Ryan explained that on his 8-way UNIX boxes, it took 60 hours to complete the processing. On a generic 2-way Intel CPU running Linux it took only 13.5 hours.

“On the spot we put our UNIX boxes in ‘containment,'” Ryan said. “We put a time-out on all UNIX purchases.”

Calgary’s IT department consistently realized performance gains of 400 percent to 500 percent and a significant cost reduction that allowed him to maintain service levels and keep staff. Ryan said the city worked out an agreement with HP for a 5-year pre-paid maintenance plan on all their Linux servers.

Ryan explained to the audience that the City of Calgary is currently migrating applications from existing UNIX and Windows servers to Linux “every seven to 10 days.” at this point.

In response to an audience question about whether Calgary’s IT department would switch its 11,000 users to a Linux Desktop, Ryan was less than enthusiastic. “We’re intrigued,” Ryan said. “But it’s not on our short-term horizon. We’re very well served by Microsoft at this time.”

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