Group goes fishing for Linux

Astronomical maintenance costs have forced the Australian Fisheries Management Authority to migrate off its proprietary Unix systems to commodity Intel servers running Linux. The outcome was a saving of an estimated $45,000 a year with further changes on the agenda.

AFMA’s senior systems manager Sean Lincolne said the move to Linux for central business systems was an obvious progression as the organization was an early adopter.

“We started using Linux in 1994 when we had to decide between spending many thousands for a proprietary system or use PCs running Linux,” Lincolne said. “The result has been very positive. IT is now 3.6 percent of net operating expenses so for a business entirely managing information we're doing well.”

AFMA migrated HP-UX PA RISC running Computer Associates’ (CA) Ingres database to Linux, which Lincolne said was easy because of CA’s “excellent Linux support”.

“It’s definitely a good thing to have commercial applications on Linux as this allows us to spend money on the things that make money,” he said. “Ingres has all the functionality of Oracle and a low administration overhead of about one day per month. You can basically let it run and not touch it.”

Lincolne is happy with the $38,000 per year licensing fee for Ingres because “24x7 support is included”.

“Linux is now a top-three release platform for Ingres, alongside Solaris and Windows, and above HP-UX,” he said. “We have no need to replace Ingres as we can’t see any benefits from changing it.”

Dominic Schiavello, Computer Associates’ director of field marketing for Australia and New Zealand, said CA offers a “worry free” path to Linux in the enterprise.

“CA is in a good position because we started adoption of Linux three years ago,” Schiavello said. “So now all areas are available on Linux which is well covered by the CA solutions suite. Ingres has a great heritage of being a ‘black box’ database.”

Schiavello said IT managers and CIOs need to be looking at Linux as it will be a dominant platform, adding that there are upcoming announcements from CA regarding Ingres on Linux.

AFMA’s next move is to replace its two remaining HP-UX PA RISC Ingres systems to Dell Intel machines running Ingres on Linux this year. “HP makes good [Intel] stuff but it has a price premium,” Lincolne said. “We can get better value from Dell and it is reliable. For now we will go with Dell but we have a choice of Intel systems vendor.”

HP’s Asia Pacific director of business critical systems, Peter Hall said HP is well equipped to provide its PA RISC-based customers with Intel-based 64 or 32-bit computing.

“HP spends more money than Dell on R&D, has more value-adds for systems management, and offers a lower TCO,” Hall said. “The cost of servers is more than the initial purchase price.”

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