Steven Mertens, Global Service Lead Infrastructure, NGA Human Resources, said: “We provide worldclass HR services to enterprises, and high quality of service is a vital element. To develop and administer our systems we have globally distributed operations and engineering teams.
“Naturally, anything we can do to standardize the underlying technology helps minimize the barriers to smooth global collaboration. For this reason, we wanted a single platform for all enterprise systems.”
“The cost of the previous platform was relatively high, especially because we were locked into using a proprietary server platform from a single vendor,” said Steven Mertens. “Using Linux is much more cost-effective, and in our experience, it is just as well matched to enterprise needs. We run our HR and Payroll systems on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and we have complete flexibility in terms of our choice of hardware.”
Aside from a small number of software packages that are only available for Windows, NGA Human Resources runs all of its critical services on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, including payroll applications developed and managed in-house. Almost everything runs on a virtualized platform, with just a handful of bare-metal installations where this is mandated by the application.
“VMware and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server work very well together,” said Steven Mertens. “When we originally went down the path of virtualization, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server was the first distribution to include drivers for our chosen virtualization technology as standard, which made things much easier. In general terms, we find that SUSE is often ahead of the other Linux vendors in introducing support for new technologies such as new file systems, for example. This means we can get the benefits of cutting-edge technology without the usual risks of being an early adopter.”
NGA Human Resources provides managed HR services to thousands of enterprise clients. Smaller companies will generally share a secure multi-tenant environment, while larger clients will have a dedicated Payroll instance. NGA Human Resources uses the open source Puppet tool to manage the resulting large Linux landscape.
“In total, we are running more than 1,000 instances of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and this environment is constantly changing and growing,” said Steven Mertens. “Stability has always been excellent: we’ve never had any serious issues. In fact, over the eight years I’ve been here, I doubt we’ve needed to open even 10 support tickets with SUSE.”
“Outsourcing a business function is a big step, and one concern is always whether the chosen provider will continue to offer a reliable and cost-effective service,” said Steven Mertens. “At NGA Human Resources, we have built an exceptionally strong platform that enables us to focus on giving our clients the highest quality of service. And because SUSE Linux Enterprise Server works efficiently with minimal intervention on our part, we can invest more time and effort in developing new features for our clients.”
He concluded: “As we continue to grow our business, using a standard operating system for most functions reduces the complexity and cost of service delivery. We pride ourselves on offering consistently high-quality and efficient HR services to our clients, and this capability is founded on the stable platform of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.”