Victoria University’s adoption of an open source platform for its student administration, human resources and finance system does not set a precedent for a more general move in the open source direction, says IT services manager Alan Dempster.
The move is a one-off cost-saving measure and was driven by the university’s existing commitment to Oracle as an ERP system. Adoption of Oracle clustering software was seen as an appropriate way of bringing the three systems together. This meant moving the Banner student administration system across from Sun Solaris processors, and upgrading the Oracle financials, since the current 8i version will not run on Linux. There is still a considerable saving to be had from the more economical hardware and no longer paying Solaris licence fees, Dempster says.
The hardware chosen for the combined system consists of 10 low-cost Intel PowerEdge servers running Red Hat Linux.
However, there are no other major systems in the offing for which Linux might ba adopted as a solution, he says. The university still has, in particular, a big commitment to Windows 2000 servers for file and print tasks.
Dempster says he encountered no scepticism about the Linux change from staff of the departments concerned. “They were interested in maximising cost-benefit and saw it as an opportunity.”