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INSIDE...

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onto:r s s a p sible fo lease

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pon ues res orks, Colleag ement, Netw g s, a IT Man are, System . in n Softw an g y or Pl Strateg

Breaking the barriers to adopting Virtualisation page 3 FREE Managed Service launched for new Red Hat users page 5 Satellite Server Case Study page 5 Cutting costs with SUSE page 6 Novell launches new version of PlateSpin Forge page 7

The

www.thelinuxadvantage.com

For Ambitious Managers of Linux and Mixed IT Environments.

TCO reduced by data centres migrating to open source BUILT IN Virtualisation Virtualisation has become an essential technology for delivering better service levels at lower cost, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports enterprise class server virtualisation with unlimited virtualised guests and high-availability clustering and failover. It also provides exceptional scalability.

The proven value of open source software running on industry standard servers is driving adoption deep into the enterprise data centre, enabling companies to replace aging UNIX/RISC deployments with more powerful, flexible, and affordable solutions. A recent total cost of ownership (TCO) study by Alinean, a company specialising in helping organisations optimise their IT cost models, indicates that a cost saving of nearly 50 percent can be achieved in a typical migration to Red Hat® Enterprise Linux (RHEL) on Intel® processorbased servers, and some success stories have indicated even greater savings.

conditions magnify these concerns, forcing IT budgets downward despite growing requirements.

complete enterprise solutions RHEL running on Intel processorbased servers gives organisations tremendous choice in vendors, systems, and applications, and it can scale easily to support diverse requirements. Intel Xeon processorbased servers offer leading performance and energy efficiency for mainstream implementations, and a new generation of scalable systems targeting mission-critical enterprise applications are now available.

MISSION CRITICAL SUPPORT Intel and Red Hat have been working together for more than a decade to deliver complete enterprise solutions and offering mission-critical support options for many years. Their technology roadmaps are well aligned, engineering collaboration is extensive and ongoing, and customer service teams provide 24/7/365 service with a single point of contact. More recently, Intel and Red Hat have teamed up with select hardware vendors to provide an even higher level of support for the most demanding mission-critical applications.

There are many reasons for migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux® on Intel processor-based servers. A few high level drivers include:

• COST REDUCTION - If cost is a key driver, there are many ways to increase your savings, such as consolidating more applications onto fewer and more powerful servers and increasing your use of open source software versus third-party vendor applications.

• Migrating from ageing hardware/software - Solutions nearing the end of their useful life

Camden Council covers an area of 22 square kilometres (2,180 hectares) of inner London, north of the west end and city of London. It delivers almost 600 different services to approximately 228,000 residents and a daily flow of visitors and commuters, increasing its ‘population’ threefold. THE CHALLENGE

or vendor support cycles often offer

Traditional Proprietary Stack

Industry Standard Choice (Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® on Intel® processor-based servers

(Sparc* & Power*)

Increasing value through migration

particularly good candidates for migration, since they need to be upgraded or replaced anyway. Of course, high operating and maintenance

Services

IT costs and requirements are on a collision course for many organisations, particularly those in the public sector due to impending budget cuts trailed in the pre-election Budget. Multiple software deployments over a span of many years have resulted in IT solutions that are costly to maintain and difficult to adapt - yet essential to the business. Supporting existing infrastructure now accounts for roughly two-thirds of total costs for many businesses, and rising energy bills are pushing data centre costs ever higher. Difficult economic

Managing UNIX to Open Source Migration

Camdenmoves towards a single view of the Citizen

Services

Solutions

OS

costs often justify migration long before a solution reaches end-of-life, or a lease

Closed CPU Centric Solutions

Choice, Flexibility & Value

Open Ecosystem & Solutions

comes up for renewal.

Mission-critical OS with Open Source Solution Stack

• Changing business requirements - Growing workloads, new performance requirements, and

Multiple OEMs Hardware

mergers and acquisitions can all trigger necessary changes and provide opportunities to inject higher value into the infrastructure.

Open systems based on RHEL and Intel processor based servers can deliver greater choice, flexibility and value than proprietary UNIX.RISC architectures. Continued on page 3...

Individual citizens often communicate with multiple areas of the Council simultaneously. For example, due to the nature of planning applications, five different teams within the Council needed to be consulted and in agreement for applications to be approved. This process could prove frustrating and time consuming for residents, and had been identified as an aspect of Council service that could be improved. Camden Council’s objective was to centralise all these enquiries into one contact centre for Planning Licensing and Enforcement (PLE) enquiries. Providing a single view of the citizen would reduce the confusion associated with multiple Council contact points for residents. Continued on page 3...


The

For Ambitious Managers of Linux and Mixed IT Environments.

Welcome Our aim in bringing you ‘The Linux Advantage’ is to provide new and innovative thinking for ‘real world’ IT management. Management solutions to achieve greater system and team productivity, efficiency, cost reduction, compliance and more. Also reliable technology solutions to support operating systems, email, databases, web server, security, data management, virtualisation and middleware. And specific examples of these solutions in action. If you have the time, I would appreciate your feedback on what you like/dislike about this edition and what you would like to see in future issues. Please email me at ceo@linuxit.com I do hope you and your colleagues find this issue of interest and value.

Peter Dawes-Huish Chief Executive LinuxIT

PS Should you need extra copies for colleagues/events do please email marketing@linuxit.com

Do more than just free-up vital resources by outsourcing There are indications that the demand for outsourced system management is growing, particularly among managers of larger server based operations. According to Mark Reynolds, Head of Services, at LinuxIT there are many reasons behind this, the most common being: • Departmental budget pressure outsourcing can save over 50%

• The need to reduce business exposure to IT system risk

• The need to free-up resources to address key IT environment development opportunities

• The need to focus support teams on their core activity eg achieving system peak performance

• The need to confidently predict future monthly costs for system management

• The need for specialist skills, for instance Change Control, Patch Management etc

• An overstretched IT team, due to the need for 24x7x365 cover

• Excessive downtime leading to user complaints, inefficiencies and missed opportunities

• When mission critical systems are not being given the attention they require

• The desire to pre-empt server system problems before they occur

• Access to relevant in-depth technical experience

• The need to have a complete, constant and scalable service solution to server support

A WIDE RANGE OF FUNCTIONS LinuxIT’s Managed24, provides a proven, reliable and seamless solution and can address a very wide range of day to day management functions including onsite and remote systems management and administration: server, desktop and network management and administration:

24x7x365 helpdesk – fault handling and resolution: change control management: license and patch management: 24x7x365 system monitoring and reporting: system audit and documenting: systems design and evolution: management of back up and disaster recovery: email and network security management and user administration.

Mini Case Study 1 A shining example of a support program that has made a significant contribution to business performance.

A leading provider of high quality logistics services for food and drink companies in the UK, Culina specialises in the development and implementation of total supply chain solutions for major or niche ambient and chilled brand manufacturers and distributors.

THE BENEFITS The new infrastructure and Thin Client terminals drastically reduced the cost of maintenance and support. LinuxIT’s Support9 provides in-house expertise around the operating systems and software applications as well as managing the hardware maintenance contracts with major suppliers.

THE CHALLENGE Culina urgently needed to replace its ageing IT infrastructure. Its legacy environment was outdated, expensive to maintain and overly complex to manage. This impacted adversely on staff motivation, data security and the overall continuity of its business processes.

2

THE SOLUTION LinuxIT was chosen to rationalise their network, implement a centrally managed thin client architecture using Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®. Selected for their unrivalled expertise in implementing commercial Linux systems and industry specific knowledge, LinuxIT ensures that the systems are always available and meeting the ever changing needs of a dynamic industry.

Commenting on the success of the project Culina’s IT Manager said “Our IT support calls from operational staff literally dropped to zero”. What’s more, the extended lifecycle of the new desktop hardware, which has risen from three years to over ten, will result in further savings over the long term. Security has been enhanced too, with a new failover capability that eliminates the need for tape-based backup.

Managed 9/24 from £209.00 pcm

A GROWING TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS Developed and delivered over many years, managed services are tailored to client needs with performance regularly reviewed. And in these tough economic times it can be a refreshing change to discover that if you choose outsourcing the high quality doesn’t equate to sky high prices. This is one of the reasons why LinuxIT Managed24 is the fastest growing service of its type in its category. At its heart a managed service enables you to place your selected IT operations under the management of experienced specialists. Fully certified friendly staff with relevant technical experience. You benefit from increased operational efficiency, lower costs, and reduced exposure to IT risk, and more. This can enable you to free up vital management time and company resources, enabling you to focus on your core strengths. Making a significant, continuous contribution towards your organisation’s competitive advantage.

TAILORED The service can manage as little, or as much, of your systems deployment, development, administration and support as you need, enabling your IT team, if you have one, to focus on your core business. With tailored and detailed SLA (Service Level Agreement) driven performance metrics, you can be assured that the performance levels you set will be met.

What do Managed Service users say about the service they’ve received... ‘Linux IT were very thorough in understanding our needs for ongoing maintenance. Which is exactly what you need when handing over responsibility for the platform upon which the success of your business is based.’ Thibaud Defretiere, Head of Commerce, Encore Tickets For more information on LinuxIT Managed Services please contact one of our account managers at LinuxIT on 01454 333002 or email sales@linuxit.com

LinuxIT wins Novell® Gold Partner Status CEO Peter Dawes – Huish has welcomed the Gold Partner status recently awarded by Novell. Jason Walker Novell Channel Manager commenting on the Gold Partner Award said “We were impressed by the experience, quality of service and ambitions shown by LinuxIT to support and contribute towards the Open Source community and the effective introduction and maintenance of Novell based systems. LinuxIT is a key Novell partner in the UK and we look forward to working closely with them serving both existing and new customers.”


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Camden moves towards single view continued from front page...

The

Interview with Geert Jansen Geert Jansen is Product Marketing Manager EMEA at Red Hat®. He is responsible for product marketing of Red Hat infrastructure products in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). TLA - Is RHEV (Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation) a proven system in terms of stability/reliability?

TLA - What are the hardware and software implications to benefit from RHEV? And how easy is it to introduce, monitor and maintain?

?

GJ - Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation (RHEV) consists of two main components: a web based management interface and the hypervisor. The hypervisor is based on a revolutionary architecture called KVM. KVM stands for Kernelbased Virtual Machine which should be thought of as simply a Linux device driver for the Intel and AMD Virtualisation features on recent chips. But the result of this is quite amazing: KVM transforms the world’s most reliable, secure and high performing operating system into a hypervisor. This means that the decade of hard work that Red Hat has done to make Linux what it is today, has become available to customers from day one. For the management toolkit Red Hat are currently in a private beta phase for version 2.2. The code is over two years old and is in use already with some major customers world wide.

?

GJ - Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation is easy to set up. In the default configuration it does not require any Linux skills to install. More complex installations are available that allow an organisation to access the Linux based hypervisor directly. TLA - How secure is it?

?

GJ - Because the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation hypervisor (RHEV-H) is built on Linux, the security infrastructure (and matching track record) are available to customers today. One such infrastructure deserves special mention: Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux). This is a military grade security technology that Red Hat has developed in collaboration with the US National Security Agency. It is enabled by default on any RHEV installation. TLA - How scalable is it? What TCO benefits does it offer?

?

GJ - Scalability has multiple dimensions. On the system level RHEV can scale from just a few servers to a complete internal cloud. Each virtual machine can have up to 16 virtual CPUs and 256GB of memory. On the host side we support 96 CPUs and 1TB of RAM.

?

TLA - What resource efficiency gains can be expected?

GJ - Virtualisation overheads should in most circumstances not be over 5%. Specific overheads depend on the type of workload.

?

TLA - How does the TCO of RHEV compare with alternatives? GJ - The TCO of RHEV can be between 30% and 80% less than a similar solution based on proprietary virtualisation technology. The exact savings depend on the time frame used for the calculation and what software it is compared against. TLA - What is the nature of the support behind RHEV?

?

GJ - Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation customers enjoy the same industry leading support as Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers. Red Hat has been selected as No.1 for value over the last 6 years by CIO magazine in their annual “Vendor Value Study”.

?

TLA - If I want to know more where can I go to find information? GJ - People are invited to visit our web site at www.redhat.com/rhev. A lot of information is available there, including a document library and a TCO calculator. The TCO calculator will allow prospective customers to calculate their TCO and compare it with solutions from VMware and Microsoft that are available in the market today.

TCO Reduced - continued from front page... • Data Centre Relief - Migration

• Dispersion - Workloads running

to the latest Intel Xeon processor based

on one or more large systems can be

servers can often dramatically reduce

distributed onto smaller servers in a very

data centre space, power, and cooling

flexible and highly managed environment.

requirements, especially if you take

Virtualised server blades are increasingly

advantage of virtualisation technologies

popular for this deployment strategy.

offered in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Intel processors to consolidate multiple

• Aggregation - Large numbers of

workloads per server.

existing applications can be migrated onto a single, highly scalable and fault-tolerant

• Define Your Deployment Strategy - Your migration strategy will

Intel processor-based server.

depend not only on your business goals,

• Cloud Computing - Customers

but also on your long-term data centre

can run some or all of their applications

plans. In general, there are four basic

on third-party Infrastructure. Red Hat

deployment strategies, all of which can be

Enterprise Linux on Intel Xeon processor-

used with Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Intel

based servers is a widely deployed cloud

processor-based servers to deliver very

computing platform and this trend can be

robust solutions.

expected to continue.

• Consolidation - Red Hat

Red Hat and Enterprise Linux are registered trademarks of Red Hat Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Enterprise Linux virtualisation can be used to consolidate multiple workloads per physical server. Servers can be sized to optimise performance and value across the data centre.

7 Step Strategic Migration Roadmap 1. Analysis of existing hardware 2. Consolidated deployment scenario and virtualisation analysis 3. High level hardware redeployment analysis 4. Consolidated risk analysis and risk mitigation plan update 5. Training Plan 6. Detailed cost estimate 7. Master migration roadmap

For more information on RHEL please contact one of our account managers at LinuxIT on 01454 333002 or email sales@linuxit.com An extract from: Migrating from UNIX/ RISC to Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Intel processor based Servers. Copyright Red Hat inc and Intel Corporation.

While the Council had gone some way to solve this issue by providing a CRM system to Council workers, five different systems were in place, meaning that teams had to log into multiple systems to respond to enquiries. These systems store information in different ways, due to their different nature (relational databases, files, proprietary systems, etc.). This complex process was not only time consuming for staff, as they often had to enter information across multiple systems, but it also contributed to error and compromised the quality of the Council’s customer service.

The Council agreed that this PoC was a success and met the critical success factors. The resulting project to roll this model to the newly built Planning Licensing and Enforcement team took just 10 weeks from initiation, and it is currently used in production by the Council.

Due to the innovative and thriving nature of Camden Council, flexibility and scalability were key requirements for the final solution. Camden has been very satisfied with these aspects of the project, particularly with regards to the user interface. The user interface can now be tweaked and amended for specific user/team requirements It was clear that the Additionally, Camden’s without having business processes along with the use of JBoss Enterprise Data to change the underlying technical underlying Services has reduced the infrastructure and data structure, reducing the data assets needed amount of training needed to be organised in a development for staff coherent manner. As cycle. with any public sector organisation, Key to the success of this project cost efficiency, long term viability, was the close working relationship minimal maintenance, and low exit between Red Hat Global Consulting costs are key requirements for any and Camden Council’s internal project and were at the centre of development team. Through the decision making and solution the collaborative nature of the assessment process. deployment, the development and integration team was able to call THE SOLUTION support from specialists who had a deep understanding of the project. Camden Council evaluated various methods and toolsets to solve this “The knowledge transfer that occurred complex challenge. The Council was during our site engagement means keen to provision development in my internal team house to directly meet Customer satisfaction knows more about its requirements the technology and build internal was improved as a single and how to use knowledge about it effectively. point of contact can now the to-be selected This component technology for answer most enquiries added value to our smooth operational consulting purchase transition and future developments. and lasted long after the consultant had left,” said Francois Mounier, The ability to leverage the current data integration and development manager, assets was also key for the Council. corporate ICT, Camden Council. JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform offered a way to rapidly Ultimately the major objective for the integrate existing datasets using project, to provide a better experience modelling technology, regardless of for the citizen when dealing with the native source of format. the Council, was met. Customer satisfaction was improved as a single An initial Proof of Concept (PoC) was point of contact can now answer most constructed within a week of receiving enquiries, and Council representatives the brief from Camden Council, and its have a more complete view of the objectives included: citizen when answering enquiries. • To prove that the JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform could integrate disparate information silos across the Council (RDBMS, Webservices, CSV files) • To provide the ability for all customer services representatives to be able to interact with the system through a single user interface, with minimal training • To demonstrate the expansion potential and short development cycle such a solution could facilitate

The time needed to answer enquiries from customers has also been reduced. Camden estimates that it takes around a third of the time, compared to the previous solution. Additionally, Camden’s use of JBoss Enterprise Data Services has reduced the amount of training needed for staff. New staff members can now quickly answer most customer questions from one system. For more information and support on the entire Red Hat offering contact LinuxIT, Red Hat Advanced Partner on 01454 333001

3


The

For Ambitious Managers of Linux and Mixed IT Environments.

MINIMAL DOWNTIME

Linux - the natural choice City College Brighton & Hove has used Novell Open Enterprise Server to migrate its NetWare environment to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server, enabling a flat, low-latency network capable of carrying VOIP traffic. The College also implemented PaperCut print management software, which integrates with Novell iPrint to provide complete control over its print rooms. For many years, City College has been using NetWare to provide file and print services. The College wanted to move to a more modern operating system, but did not want to have to change its existing flat network. “Our network topology is unusual,” said David Turner, Head of IT and Learning Resource Centre at City College. “We have 1,500 PCs, 200 Macs and all our servers on a single flat network. This gives us extremely low latency, enabling us to use VOIP telephony without affecting the rest of our network traffic.” To minimise latency and maintain performance, the College needed a new operating system that could

“The whole transition was completed with almost no downtime and no negative effect on users,” said Matt Barber, Server Engineer. “The only thing they noticed was that file and print services are ten times faster with Novell Open Enterprise Server than they were on NetWare.”

work with this flat network, and could operate with very low levels of background ‘chatter’. “Most people said it just couldn’t be done,” said Turner. “And if we’d looked at a Microsoft solution, they might have been right. Novell Open Enterprise Server and SUSE® Linux Enterprise gave us the answer.”

SIMPLIFIEd MIGRATION City College has been using Linux to run its Web servers for several years, and has also moved most of its applications onto the platform– including a Moodle virtual learning environment, an Oracle financial system, a PHP-based student records system, and Novell GroupWise®.

“When it came to choosing a new operating system for file and print services, Linux was a natural choice,” said Turner. “Moreover, compared to Windows, Linux generates very little network traffic, so we knew it would support our flat network strategy.” As long-term users of Novell software, City College opted for Novell Open Enterprise Server running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the platform for the new file and print environment. “Our IT team has considerable expertise with Novell technologies, and the support that Novell provides is excellent,” said Mark Wilson, Technical Coordinator. This gave us an easy learning curve and ensured that we got up to speed quickly with the new environment.”

Mini Case Study 2 Another shining example of a support program that has made a significant contribution to business performance.

Delta Rail provides software and systems to railway network operators across the world, with specific areas of expertise in dynamic signalling and signalling control solutions, support for operational planning and real time railway management, support for real time railway management.

These systems are integral to many worldwide rail’s operators major signalling centres, providing the intelligence needed to make informed decisions and respond rapidly to what is happening on the ground. The system provides comprehensive fault diagnostics and monitoring, plus Automatic Route Setting (ARS) to optimise traffic flow, even under disrupted conditions.

4

The migration was completed rapidly, with minimal downtime. The NetWare server was kept online while 1.5TB of data was moved into the new Novell Open Enterprise Server cluster. A number of smaller synchronisations then took place, and finally, the users were switched over to the new environment.

City College has also implemented PaperCut software, which integrates with Novell iPrint to enable central management of all printers and photocopiers. The software manages print quotas and accounts for different departments and individuals within the College, which has already saved them nearly 13 percent on printing costs – and should help them enforce a 20 percent saving over the course of this academic year.

TEN TIMES BETTER PERFORMANCE “The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server kernel gives us ten times better performance, even on comparatively few servers,” said Richard Brown, Systems Engineer. “A Microsoft solution would have required up to 75 percent more investment in hardware,

and up to 50 percent for licensing, support and maintenance. Moreover, we have limited accommodation in our inner-city campus, and we simply would not have space for all the additional equipment.” The low latency of the network also enables City College to run VOIP telephone system across all sites, which increases flexibility as well as saving on phone bills. The solution delivers better than 99.9 percent availability, thanks to its cluster configuration. “Clustering in Novell Open Enterprise Server is a definite improvement over NetWare,” said Wilson. “If a system goes down now, it’s because we’ve brought it down ourselves: unplanned outages just don’t happen anymore.” Finally, by moving file and print services to Novell Open Enterprise Server, the College is closer to its strategy of having a single operating system for all its servers. Many processes have now been automated, cutting system administration by 25 percent. “With our applications, Web servers, e-mail and now file/print services on Linux, we can run multiple systems on a single node, which is much simpler,” said Turner. For more information on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server contact LinuxIT on 01454 333002 or email sales@linuxit.com

Novell® OES provides an ideal solution for Netware users

THE SOLUTION

THE CHALLENGE Network rail companies across the globe rely on Delta Rails solutions to be up, available and performing 24 hours a day every day. Delta Rails solutions are certified only for Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® operating systems and Informix databases. The requirement was for the support of the platform of hardware and software. Delta Rails priority was to identify a company that could take responsibility for the entire delivered system and manage a responsive delivery of support to customers in the UK, across Europe and Pacific Rim.

LinuxIT was chosen to provide Support24 directly to Delta Rails customers. LinuxIT’s unrivalled expertise in supporting mission critical Linux systems made them a natural choice for Delta Rail. LinuxIT provides holistic support including a front line of support to record and manage the in-house Linux and software support as well as orchestrating the hardware support from hardware partners worldwide.

THE BENEFITS The solution has given Delta Rail the confidence that there solutions are supported globally. This allows Delta Rail to focus on their core strengths of continually product development and improvement leading to increased customer satisfaction. Delta Rails customers use their solutions to manage rail networks knowing that there is one point of call to contact when things go wrong and that there systems will be back up and running with the minimum of delay.

With Novell withdrawing support for Netware from the end of March 2010 users are in danger of losing the support they have come to expect and depend upon. As the UKs leading authority on the application of Linux based systems Linux IT have looked at the options from an impartial and informed perspective and have strongly recommended Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES). A variant of Linux based SUSE®, OES provides a unique advantage over alternatives in that it enables users to continue to utilise Novell product families in which Netware users have invested, and are familiar with, thereby avoiding data migration costs, and other dangers. As a Novell Gold Partner LinuxIT have the knowledge and experience of serving hundreds of clients spanning the private and public sector. For more information please visit www.linuxit.com or call 01454 333002


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World class training Within the Linux training world, LinuxIT is driving standards, with world-leading qualifications including the LPI and RHCE Certification. As well as our own extensive training portfolio, LinuxIT provides courses authored by Red Hat®, Novell® and Ubuntu®. Programs cater for all knowledge levels, from a basic introduction to Linux and Open Source, to advanced courses. LinuxIT training covers both vendor specific and neutral applications. LinuxIT offers a choice of public scheduled courses or onsite courses for your employees. Whether for personal advancement or to broaden the skills of your IT

Complimentary Managed Service for Red Hat® users worth £3,000 pa Red Hat system users with 10 or more servers can now benefit from a free basic level managed service. The unique service is being offered by LinuxIT, the UK’s Linux specialists and Red Hat Advanced Partner. personnel, you can trust LinuxIT to deliver training to the highest quality.

THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE Red Hat certifications are among the most respected credentials in IT. Certifications are earned when a user demonstrates, by way of a performance-based exam, the ability to solve and perform real-world tasks. A full hierarchy of credentials provides the comprehensive and flexible program required by the highly specialised enterprise IT organisation of today.

Choosing the right certification depends on your background, job role and goals. Whether you have advanced or minimal experience, Red Hat has the training that will enable you to develop the hands-on, real-world skills you will need for the job and the exams. LinuxIT can work with you to identify the most relevant Red Hat Certification depending on your level of experience and what you are trying to achieve and training needs.

MINIMAL DOWNTIME

For more information on please contact LinuxIT on 01454 333002 or email sales@linuxit.com

For more information on RHEL please contact one of our account managers on 01454 333002 or email sales@linuxit.com

The free managed service complements the service provision offered by Red Hat alongside their software offering and comprises a comprehensive 1/4ly system review, and a ‘how to’ service focusing upon the client’s Linux estate. Recipients can also opt for a chargeable LinuxIT Managed Service at Standard or Premium level if they so wish.

The BIG Case Study

practices, and has checked in with us routinely since the engagement,” said Pennington.

Another shining example of a support program that has made a significant contribution to business performance.

In 2008, Whole Foods began using Red Hat Cluster Suite and Red Hat Global File System (GFS) to further improve system administration through enhanced system backup and failover services..

Whole Foods reduced costs, increased performance and manageability of businesscritical applications with Red Hat® solutions

THE BENEFITS

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (www. wholefoodsmarket.com) is a leader in the natural and organic foods industry and was America’s first national certified organic grocer. In fiscal year 2008, the company had sales of $8 billion and currently has more than 275 stores, nine distribution centers, and more than 54,000 team members in the United States, Canada, and the UK.

Pennington attributes Red Hat Satellite’s reliable and easy-to-use management capabilities with cutting company costs. “Red Hat Satellite has allowed us to reallocate resources,” said Pennington. “We’ve been able to assign new hires in strategic business roles because Red Hat Satellite’s management capabilities allow me to manage all of the systems without the additional help. Help would be nice, but with Red Hat Satellite, it’s not as needed.”

THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE Since opening its first store in 1980, Whole Foods has experienced rapid business growth and success at both the national and international levels driven by the market’s desire for natural and organic products available in a friendly, neighbourhood shopping experience. As the business grew and technology advancements were made, Whole Foods IT department began evaluating technology solutions

The company needed a stable and reliable operating system to run its business-critical homegrown ordering systems and its middleware environment.

and vendors that would enable cost-effective expansion of its IT infrastructure while simultaneously meeting the performance demands of its internal technology users. The company needed a stable and reliable operating system to run its businesscritical homegrown ordering systems and its middleware environment. The company also realised the need for a reliable management solution that would enable its IT staff to focus on strategic projects.

THE SOLUTION After testing and cost evaluations, Whole Foods selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux® running on commodity HP x86 servers to run some of its critical order processing and middleware environment components. It also selected Red Hat Satellite as its Linux systems management solution. “As a cost-conscious company, our IT department is always looking at

ways to cut costs without sacrificing performance. More and more of our leadership team is recognising that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is an easy way to do that. Take for example our other major UNIX platforms. While they are stable environments, the hardware, license, and support costs are prohibitive. With Red Hat on an x86 platform, it is a significant difference. In addition to the direct cost benefits, Red Hat Satellite’s management tools allow us to focus on strategic business initiatives,” said Bryan Pennington, senior systems administrator at Whole Foods. Currently, with more than 90 servers deployed, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the largest operating system environment at Whole Foods. As the performance of the order processing applications and middleware are highly important programs to the internal customers, Whole Foods’ Enterprise Linux deployment is considered mission-critical to its business.

“Our order processing applications are critical to our daily business operations, and if these systems are down, orders are not put through, deliveries could be delayed, and products might be unavailable to our customers,” said Pennington. “With Red Hat, we have experienced the stability, reliability, and performance we expected and required, and have not encountered interruptions to our daily business operations.” Whole Foods used the expertise of Red Hat Consulting to install and deploy Red Hat Satellite to manage its Red Hat systems. Built on open standards, Red Hat Satellite provides powerful systems administration capabilities such as management, provisioning, and monitoring for large Linux deployments. Pennington, a Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) himself, found great value in the Red Hat consulting team. “Our consultant worked with us side-byside during the installation, answered all of our questions, provided best

The increased performance of some of the homegrown applications resulted in increased internal user satisfaction and the opportunity to grow the Red Hat technology presence at Whole Foods. “Simply put, with Red Hat Satellite I am able to manage the provisioning, updates, patching, and maintenance of our entire Red Hat environment myself, which would be very difficult otherwise. A result is in cost benefits and resource efficiency gains due to our high Red Hat administrator-tosystem ratio.” For more information please contact Red Advanced Partner LinuxIT on 01454 333 002, or email sales@linuxit.com Red Hat and Enterprise Linux are registered trademarks of Red Hat Inc. in the United States and other countires.

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The

For Ambitious Managers of Linux and Mixed IT Environments.

Mini Case Study 3

GREAT WESTERN AMBULANCE SERVICE

Another shining example of a support program that has made a significant contribution to business performance.

Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) fulfils the range of responses that health and social care services provide to people who require, or perceive, the need for urgent advice, care, and treatment of diagnosis. The ambulance service relies heavily on its IT infrastructure.

THE CHALLENGE GWAS relies on its IT infrastructure to be up, available and performing 24 hours a day every day. The core IT infrastructure uses a mixture of Linux and Microsoft servers delivering the platform for monitoring calls, tracking responses and delivering ambulances and services to meet government standards. GWAS operates an in-house help desk 24/7 providing the full range of planned and reactive maintenance

services, to deal with emergencies. Because of its dependency on the IT infrastructure and the potential consequences which could result of a failure, GWAS wanted an external organisation to provide monitoring of all essential IT systems with a prescriptive fault diagnosis and correction service.

THE SOLUTION LinuxIT was chosen to provide Vitalsigns as LinuxIT’s unrivalled expertise in supporting mission critical systems in a mixed Linux and Microsoft environment made them a natural choice. Around the clock performance monitoring is carried out by a dedicated support team using a suite of bespoke tools that enable the performance of the whole network to be analysed, using real-time information about disk and processor usage, bandwidth availability, throughput and many other factors.

Cutting costs with SUSE® To bring greater efficiency and added capabilities to its IT infrastructure, The George Washington University (GW) has taken advantage of many Novell® solutions.

The IT team at GW set out to improve the university’s collaboration capabilities while strengthening security and reliability. “Our goal is to provide a sustainable, highly efficient IT infrastructure to support the needs of faculty, staff and students,” said Raoul Gabiam, IT operations and engineering manager. One key area in need of improvement was the university’s e-mail system. “Users had access to the university’s funded email system, but it didn’t

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THE BENEFITS The solution has given GWAS the level of reliability it needs to operate in a dynamic environment where lives rely upon the IT systems being available. The infrastructure is proactively managed and users are supported, making it possible for GWAS to optimise uptime and respond efficiently to clients.

systems coordinator for The George Washington University. “Rogue computers are more vulnerable to worms, viruses and other issues.”

The University was looking to gain efficiency and lower costs. At the same time, the university was looking to gain efficiency and lower costs. “Managing user requests for desktop troubleshooting, printer installation and other tasks was time-consuming and expensive,” said Gabiam. “We were also struggling with storage consumption and its associated costs.”

Located four blocks from the White House, The George Washington University (GW) was created in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the capital. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study as well as degree programs including medicine, public health, law, engineering and education.

IMPROVING CAPABILITY

Top team calls in LinuxIT

THE SOLUTION

offer integrated calendaring and was limited in terms of information sharing,” said Gabiam. “Our users are always on the run, and want access to their calendar and other information from their mobile devices.” GW was also determined to bring greater stability to its IT environment. Occasional hardware failures or application crashes were disrupting business and the university’s workstations weren’t managed in a consistent manner. “We needed to lock down workstations to prevent unauthorised downloads,” said Eric Davis, senior information

“Many of our departments manage their own calendars, so it can be a challenge to keep up with what’s going on,” said Gabiam. “With Novell GroupWise® and BlackBerry Enterprise Server, users’ e-mail and calendar appointments are automatically synchronised with their Blackberry devices, significantly increasing their productivity while they’re on-the-go.” The university makes extensive use of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and is considering moving additional environments to the platform to further reduce operating costs. In addition, GW leverages several components of Novell Open Enterprise Server, including iPrint, to further increase efficiencies. “It used to take us 20 minutes just to install a print driver, not to mention the travel time

When No 10 wanted to discuss their utilisation of Linux based systems recently they turned to the UK’s specialist, LinuxIT. Peter Dawes-Huish and Jo Saxby, seen here outside the famous door, met with the IT team to listen to their issues and to advise on how their use of Linux could be made more productive.

involved,” said Davis. “Novell iPrint saves us several hours a day. We are also in the process of deploying Dynamic Storage Technology to identify infrequently accessed data and have it automatically offloaded to less expensive storage devices.” The university deployed Novell Cluster™ Services to ensure high availability and extend the lifecycle of its existing hardware. “We have several servers that are out of warranty, potentially putting us at risk if a piece of hardware failed,” said Gabiam. “With Novell Cluster Services, we can continue to leverage hardware we purchased more than six years ago.” GW also relies on Novell ZENworks® to manage more than 3,000 Windowsbased workstations across its two campuses. The University uses the Novell solution for application distribution, workstation imaging, patch management and remote control.

EFFICIENCY Novell GroupWise has brought greater efficiency to GW. “The collaboration and mobility features of Novell GroupWise are very popular with our users,” said Gabiam. “Having two main campuses 30 miles apart, our users aren’t always in the same location and have become dependent on the GroupWise Instant Messenger client. It’s now part of our day-to-day operations.” By leveraging Novell Cluster Services, the university has improved reliability. “In the past, if a server failed in

the middle of the night, we had to have someone on call to address it immediately,” said Gabiam. “Using Novell Cluster Services, we’ve eliminated unplanned service downtime due to hardware failures.” Novell software has already proven helpful for driving down IT costs. “Without Novell Cluster Services, we would have had to replace our out-ofwarranty servers, which would cost well over US$100,000,” said Gabiam. “We also anticipate cutting our storage costs in half by using Novell Dynamic Storage Technology.”

Using Novell cluster services, we’ve eliminated unplanned service downtime due to hardware failures. With Novell ZENworks in place, GW has gained a more stable workstation environment. “It’s hard to imagine working without Novell ZENworks,” said Davis. “We can deliver applications in a swift, standardised manner and with standardised desktops, troubleshooting has become much easier. We’ve also gained better control over patches and can quickly ascertain which computers are vulnerable and in need of updates.” For more information on Novell software and support, contact LinuxIT on 01454 333002 or email sales@linuxit.com


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Disaster recovery for less than the price of a cup of coffee per day

The technology allows organisations who are still in the process of virtualising to leverage virtual machines for disaster recovery purposes immediately, even for servers that remain physical in production. Rather than using traditional backup archives, PlateSpin allows users to leverage virtual machines as a standby backup.

In today’s post-recession world, organisations can no longer take any chances. Internally business practices must be sound and, equally importantly, the infrastructure supporting those practices must be robust and also protected.

PRODUCT VERSUS FRAMEWORK

Leaving infrastructure vulnerable not only jeopardises the applications that organisations rely on, but can also impact on business processes and ultimately damage organisational reputation as well. As a result, business continuity and disaster recovery are topics that bubble to the top of mind of many organisations today. In this article we explore some of the issues around disaster recovery in Windows and Linux environments.

workloads. In the world of disaster recovery, this consolidation can be even higher as performance becomes less critical.

The power of virtualisation, the challenge of change

Virtual machines also introduce new levels of management simplicity. Rather than having to manage and administer racks of physical servers, users can now simply manage a directory of files – or virtual machines.

A recent customer poll by Novell® found that when looking at virtualisation and workload management solutions, disaster recovery was one of the top drivers of research. No wonder, as server virtualisation has changed almost every aspect of datacenter management, especially disaster recovery. Consolidating servers with virtualisation can result in a tremendous infrastructure reduction. Running hypervisor software on top of today’s modern server platforms can result in a single physical machine running a dozen or more discrete

This ease of use is tremendously attractive in the realm of disaster recovery, where less is always more. However that’s where a problem arrives. Like all other infrastructure change, the adoption of virtualisation in most production datacenters is still a work in progress. To take advantage of all of the value of virtualisation implies that the production datacenter needs to be virtualised first. This leaves only virtual machines able to use disaster recovery tools geared to virtual environments.

New partnerships strengthen LPI LPI is a vendor neutral certification program, teaching both the Debian and Red Hat methodology. LPI is the world leader in Linux Certification, with over 200,000 exams completed and over 100,000 Certified Individuals. LPI (Linux Professional Institute) the world leader in Linux Certification has announced two Partnerships that strengthen the LPI Brand. The first Partnership was Novell announcing that they were going to standardise their entry-level Linux certification programs on LPIC-1. Under this program, Linux professionals who have earned their LPIC-1 status will also satisfy the requirements for the Novell® Certified Linux Administrator (CLA) certification. In addition, Novell Training Services has formally agreed to include required LPIC-1 learning objectives in its CLA course training material. “As a proven provider of enterprise software and services for more than

What about servers that have not yet been migrated to virtual machines? Is there a way to still leverage new technologies to protect them?

25 years, and the provider of the most interoperable Linux platform, Novell is well positioned to deliver a comprehensive training program that ensures Linux professionals can achieve the globally recognised LPIC-1 certification enabling them to address diverse data center requirements with technical skill and confidence,” said Markus Rex, general manager and senior vice president for Open Platform Solutions at Novell.

COST SAVING SOLUTIONS Adoption of Linux, including SUSE® Linux Enterprise from Novell, is accelerating as the industry pursues cost saving solutions that deliver maximum reliability and

IT departments are increasingly being asked to do more with fewer resources, including staff. That’s why more than ever organisations are looking for discrete use products, rather than frameworks allowing them to do everything under the sun. Administrators and managers can no longer dedicate time and energy to configuring complex clusters and other high performance disaster recovery solutions for any application deemed less than mission critical. That’s where products that allow point and click can be exactly what they need. Like many vendors, Novell addresses these needs by bringing their previously Windows-only solutions from PlateSpin to the Linux world. With the upcoming release of PlateSpin Protect 10.0 and PlateSpin Forge 3.0, the ease of use and administration of point and click disaster recovery can be leveraged to protect not only Windows workloads, but Linux workloads as well.

Novell are bringing their previously Windows only solutions from PlateSpin to the Linux world.

THE REALITY OF MIXED DATACENTRE SYSTEMS One product to manage workload protection across Windows and Linux is something more and more users are looking for as the reality of a mixed platform datacenter becomes more common. This is no different in the world of disaster recovery and, coming this summer, Novell look again to be at the forefront of mixed platform management with their new product releases. Rather than having difference licenses and consoles for protection of different platforms, their new offering enables users to take care of the needs of the entire datacenter, with one central view, and one universal product..

OUT OF THE BOX SOLUTIONS PlateSpin Forge and PlateSpin Protect allow users to virtualise their disaster recovery infrastructure, without having to impact or change their production servers. With PlateSpin Forge users can deploy a completely discrete out of the box solution, which includes a built in hypervisor that can house and run virtual copies of production workloads.

recovery landing pad. By creating a flexible virtual recovery infrastructure users can quickly run virtual copies of production workloads at the click of a mouse. Once a disaster has passed, PlateSpin Forge and PlateSpin Protect give users a worry free return to normal by migrating the recovery virtual workloads, back out in to any physical or virtual infrastructure. Whether newly acquired or simply the repaired original hardware.

WHAT’S THE SECRET The secret behind this flexibility is a technology called workload portability. This technology ensures that server workloads can be migrated, or copied and replicated in the case of disaster recovery from anywhere to anywhere. Windows or Linux, PlateSpin disaster recovery solutions from Novell help to reduce cost, complexity and risk in the datacenter, helping to bring IT together as one. For more information on new PlateSpin Forge and PlateSpin Protect contact LinuxIT on 01454 333002 or email sales@linuxit.com

PlateSpin Protect gives users the freedom to transform any existing virtual infrastructure they have in to a virtual disaster

manageability. A 2009 global survey of IT executives revealed that 40 percent of survey participants plan to deploy additional workloads on Linux over the next 12-24 months and 49 percent indicated Linux will be their primary server platform within five years. This was followed in quick succession with CompTIA, the leading provider of vendor neutral skills certifications for the world’s information technology (IT) announcing an international partnership to standardise their entrylevel Linux certification programs on LPIC-1.

CompTIA’s candidates, they will have access to LPI’s higher level programs and certifications in Linux. Under this program, CompTIA will adopt LPI’s Level One certification exams (LPIC-1) for its CompTIA Linux+ certification. This innovative program will enable successful candidates to earn both the new “CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI” certification and the existing LPIC-1 certification.

“Our collaboration with LPI is an important and significant step in building a robust workforce that is educated and certified in all aspects of Linux,” said Todd Thibodeaux, President and Chief Executive Officer, CompTIA. “By combining CompTIA’s recognised leadership in IT certification with LPI’s high-quality Linux exam development processes, we’re strengthening the quality and reach of this vital skills certification.” With independent reports indicating that the number of Linux jobs in 2009 grew as much as 5 percent and that there was a 10 percent salary premium for IT professionals with Enterprise Linux Skills, this joint effort by CompTIA and LPI will enable

IT professionals to gain two vendorneutral Linux certifications for the price of one. “LPI has long been recognised as the leading vendor-neutral provider of Linux certification. With this new initiative we join a widely recognised non-profit association of the leading vendors in the IT industry. For CompTIA’s candidates, they will have access to LPI’s higher level programs and certifications in Linux,” said Jim Lacey, President and CEO of LPI. For more information on LPI please visit www.lpi-uk.org or call 01454 333009.

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For Ambitious Managers of Linux and Mixed IT Environments.

Mini Case Study 4 Another shining example of a support program that has made a significant contribution to business performance.

Encore sells in excess of 1.5 million theatre tickets annually. A growing number of tickets are now sold online through a network of over 300 online affiliates and prestigious clients such as Laterooms, Visit London and many more. Thousands of transactions are processed every day through the Encore online distribution platform. THE CHALLENGE Encore Tickets needed to create a more secure and stable platform to support future business growth, meet PCI DSS security compliance and reduce total cost of ownership.

Industry: Online Booking Delivery Services: • Project Definition Workshop • IT Infrastructure Analysis • Systems Deployment • PCI DSS Compliance Support Program: LinuxIT Hosted24 Support Services: • 24x7 x365 Helpdesk • Monitoring & Reporting • Managed Services • Hosting • Audit & Document

THE SOLUTION Encore Tickets worked with LinuxIT Europe to mitigate the risks of the IT infrastructure through the provision of a securely hosted Linux environment and the delivery of comprehensive 24x7 technical support and managed services.

KEY SOLUTION COMPONENTS

THE BENEFITS The LinuxIT project team planned and delivered a successful, lowrisk migration that was completed on time and within budget. In addition to providing a secure, PCI DSS compliant platform for the deployment of the ecommerce solution, LinuxIT has improved the performance and reliability of the Encore Tickets websites.

“LinuxIT were very thorough in understanding our needs for the ongoing maintenance of this solution. Which is exactly what you need when handing over responsibility for the platform on which the success of your business is based” Thibaud Defretiere Head of Ecommerce Encore Tickets

System evolution – survival of the fittest Planning, implementing, deploying and maintaining Linux systems requires specialist technical and operational skills.

Support 9/24 from £89.00 pcm

Vitalsigns 9/24 from £109.00 pcm

LinuxIT qualified engineers assist hundreds of organisations and many thousands of servers to ensure systems evolve to meet the changing needs of organisations. There are 4 support programs to choose from each offering a range of proven services.

Managed 9/24 from £209.00 pcm

Hosted 24 from £299.00 pcm

For more information please visit www.linuxit.com or call sales at LinuxIT on 01454 3330002

Efficiency savings feature on GBTV Over 50,000 public sector senior managers, including IT specialists, and members of SOCITM recently had the opportunity to hear about how LinuxIT supports local and national Govt departments, and agencies. The Health Protection Agency chose to participate in the broadcast to explain their role and to outline how LinuxIT supports the management of their IT environment. LinuxIT has saved the public sector hundreds of thousands of pounds though the use of Linux and Open Source as an alternative to Unix and proprietary software.

Anthony Underwood of the Health Protection Agency speaking on GBTV

To view the broadcast and see the entire LinuxIT offering please go to www.linuxit.com/hpa

Resourcing when you need it, where you need it Many organisations need system administration support but not necessarily full time. A resource they can trust and know will be there when they need it. Others are driven by the need for additional resourcing to implement a new IT project, to cover annual leave, long term sickness or just an additional resource to call upon to supplement their internal capability. LinuxIT has been working alongside system specialists for many years contributing through their in-depth knowledge of Linux and mixed IT environments to the efficient and effective management of systems across a wide range of sectors, private and public. The trend in occasional outsourcing under beneficial terms continues to grow with LinuxIT receiving many calls every week from organisations looking for reliable provision. For more information please visit www.linuxit.com

Contact Us Do you have a linux project or topic that could be featured in future issues? If so please contact The Editor on 01454 333004 or email editor@thelinuxadvantage.com

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All LinuxIT engineers are RHCE certified.

Published by: LinuxIT (Europe) Ltd. 1 Oaklands Business Park Armstrong Way Yate, Bristol , BS37 5NA www.linuxit.com

The Linux Advantage 1st Edition  

Welcome to The Linux Advantage, the newspaper for ambitious managers of Linux and Mixed IT Environments. Our aim is to provide new and innov...

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