ORIX Australia was established in Sydney in 1986 and specializes in the acquisition, financing and management of both passenger and commercial vehicles. ORIX Australia currently employs more than 270 staff and owns or manages assets with a value of circa $1 billion Australian dollars with offices located in major cities across Australia and New Zealand.
ORIX Australia is part of the ORIX Group, a Japanese-based diversified global financial services organization which was established in 1964 and has the largest fleet management presence in Asia Pacific. ORIX Group’s global network of approximately 33,000 employees spans 1,900 locations in 36 countries and regions
With its existing operating system approaching end-of-life, ORIX Australia Corporation Limited (ORIX Australia) needed to upgrade to ensure continuity of performance, reliability and security for its business-critical ERP environment. Upgrading its SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) landscape has enabled ORIX Australia to provide compatibility with new server purchases and ensure ongoing support and patching.
ORIX Australia seeks to be a partner in vehicle services for its customers, rather than simply a leasing company. To this end, it provides detailed fleet reporting and other online information tools that draw data from ORIX Australia’s custom-built ERP system.
Phil Crooker, Senior Systems Administrator, says: “Our ERP system runs the entire business, handling the leasing lifecycle from purchasing to maintenance to the sale of end-of-lease vehicles. It also has connections out to maintenance providers and car dealers, handles the regulatory checks and billing, and feeds our customer-facing tools. The critical importance of this system to our business means that we cannot afford any unplanned downtime or security issues.” To maintain its excellent track-record of reliability and to benefit from ongoing security patches, ORIX Australia needed to refresh the operating system for its ERP environment.
“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a very solid Linux distribution backed by reliable support and high-frequency updates.”
ORIX Australia’s ERP system was originally developed on a commercial UNIX platform, and subsequently migrated to Linux to take advantage of significantly lower costs. The company has approximately 45 Linux servers, the large majority of which are virtualized and run on the VMware hypervisor. These include customer- and partner-facing web servers, Oracle databases for the ERP environment, front-end ERP applications, development systems and services including email, systems monitoring and DNS.
“We migrated to SLES in the late 2000s when it was clear that Linux was mature enough to replace our Unix business-critical systems without compromise,” says Phil Crooker. “The cost advantage was significant—we could buy and run three Linux servers for every UNIX server we replaced and performance was improved. Increased flexibility with commonly available hardware and open source software meant less time installing and troubleshooting applications and other tools. As SLES for VMware approached end-of-life, we needed to reconsider our options so that we could continue to maintain system security and enjoy full vendor support.”
ORIX Australia looked at Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server and the incumbent SLES. “We considered price initially, and immediately ruled out Red Hat, which was more than 30 percent higher over three years,” says Phil Crooker. “While Oracle Linux was priced lower than the SUSE option, I was more comfortable with the sales approach from SUSE, much more confident in the quality of their support and their proven commitment to open source.”
Using a shell script provided by SUSE, ORIX Australia completed the upgrade to SLES 11 SP4 within a single day for more than 40 systems, and experienced no major issues.
By upgrading to SLES 11 SP4, ORIX Australia ensured continuity for their virtual server landscape supporting its mission-critical systems. “Essentially, we were happy with the SUSE operating system, which has worked well for us, and we saw no good reason to change,” says Phil Crooker. “SLES is a very solid distribution backed by strong support and high-frequency updates.”
ORIX Australia plans to start using repository mirroring to maintain a store of patches locally, which it will then use to update all machines in a controlled and efficient manner—potentially saving up to six hours of work each month. It also values the ability of the SUSE YaST® tool to simplify package management and configuration, as Phil Crooker explains: “Trying to configure something like the Apache web server from scratch is a pretty unpleasant task if that isn’t your focus. With YaST, you can just go in, click a few options, and get the result you want. Recently, I used it to configure a new system using the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority, and it ran first time with an ‘A’ score in the SSL Labs test. It’s great to be able to skip a load of tedious steps and have systems that just work right away.” He concludes: “We have a lot of trust in the quality of the SUSE OS and the support the company provides. A single major outage could easily cost the business A$100,000, so it’s great to know that our most critical systems are running on what we consider to be a secure and reliable platform.”