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Industry: .edu & .gov
Location: Turkey
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Istanbul Technical University selects SUSE efficiency over Red Hat complexity to expand its software-defined network

Highlights

  • Facilitates world-class IT education
  • Reduces administration costs
  • Eliminates potential for vendor lock-in

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Founded in 1773, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) is one of the oldest universities in Turkey. It trains more than 40,000 students in a wide range of science, technology and engineering disciplines. In addition to maintaining the university’s internal IT systems, ITU’s IT department teaches students to develop and operate a variety of network and infrastructure technologies.

At-a-Glance

Istanbul Technical University (ITU) has worked closely with SUSE for many years, including running training courses in the use of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). When ITU’s server infrastructure became too costly to manage with its existing Linux setup, the university decided to implement SLES for its own environment. The university deepened its partnership with SUSE, gaining a more open and cost-effective platform for IT operations and reducing the administrative burden.

The Challenge

Universities increasingly depend on their IT departments, with thousands of students relying on educational and administrative services powered by information technology. As well as training students for careers in technology, ITU’s Office of Information and Technologies supports the university’s diverse IT across 80 physical servers and more than 100 virtual ones — running everything from admissions data to library administration to faculty payroll.

However, complex pricing plans for its existing environment led ITU to seek a new operating system provider.

“We were running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which relied on fairly expensive hardware and restricted the number of virtual servers that we were permitted to run,” says Hakan Velioğlu, system administrator at ITU. “On top of that, we found Red Hat’s pricing regime very convoluted, which made it difficult to track how much the solution was really costing us. We wanted to find a way to manage and reduce our costs while continuing to support first-class education at ITU with strong, reliable IT systems.”

With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, everything has become more open, more cost-effective and easier to manage.

SUSE Solution

For some years, ITU has partnered with SUSE to run a SLES technical course for its students. Familiar with SUSE’s helpful local team and its flexible, easy-to-manage solutions, it was natural for ITU to turn to the company as its new enterprise Linux provider. Velioğlu says: “We began reviewing the costs and virtualization capabilities of SLES, and determined that the SUSE technology would provide superior flexibility and value for money compared to our previous Red Hat solution. In addition, we knew from our educational partnership that we could rely on SUSE as a company.”

ITU migrated its entire server environment to SLES. The SUSE team offered support during the transition, but ITU was able to handle the migration smoothly on its own.

Velioğlu says: “Although some of the configurations are different to our previous solution, it was very easy to install SLES both on bare-metal servers and as virtual machines, and to migrate all the relevant data.”

ITU also deployed SUSE Manager, a single-pane-of-glass management solution for its enterprise Linux environment, covering both physical and virtualized servers. The university had originally used the application as a teaching aid, but found it was far superior to its previous solution for managing its own server network. ITU was especially impressed with SUSE Manager’s intuitive interface.

“We liked the GUI for SUSE Manager so much, we now use it to manage our entire server infrastructure,” says Velioğlu. “SUSE Manager gives us the power to centrally administer hundreds of servers at once, which helps keep overall administration workload manageable.”

The Results

Following its migration to SLES, ITU enjoys all the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of SUSE’s open technology, as well as benefiting from its ongoing educational partnership.

ITU can now run its growing virtual server landscape efficiently and without concerns about increasing costs. The SUSE solution’s lack of restrictions on the number of virtualized servers means the university can more easily expand its software-defined network. Additionally, SUSE offers a simple pricing structure that enables ITU to gain clearer understanding of its operational costs and identify areas for further savings and efficiency.

“With SLES, everything has become more open, more cost-effective and easier to manage,” says Velioğlu. “Operating costs are no longer artificially inflated by rigid hardware requirements and restrictions, and SUSE’s clear pricing plans mean we can easily track how much we are paying for the solution. Having spent all these years teaching students how to manage SUSE environments, we now practice what we preach, and the university runs more efficiently for it.”

He adds: “We are thrilled with the new SUSE solution, and our partnership with SUSE is stronger than ever before. We are now in an even better position to teach our students about the long-term benefits of SUSE technology.”