Air India required a resilient, scalable, low-maintenance platform to support critical messaging and calendaring services for more than 10,000 employees. By selecting SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems to run its Lotus Domino environment, the airline gained a responsive platform for corporate communications that can be managed with just two dedicated staff. The stability of the SUSE operating system keeps maintenance tasks to a minimum and helps ensure high quality of service.
When Air India merged with Indian Airlines in 2007, it was important to consolidate IT systems in order to help realize the targeted financial benefits of the merger. One key decision was around the corporate messaging and calendaring system—vital for smooth internal operations as well as communications with external partners and customers. With only limited internal IT resources, and a growing focus on taking cost out of the business after the merger, the airline required a solution that would ensure strong performance for a large number of users without requiring significant administration. This implied finding a solution that would offer a high degree of stability and resilience, as well as consistent long-term vendor support.
The merging companies selected Lotus Domino as the new corporate standard for messaging and shared calendaring. To minimize disruption and staff training requirements, Air India planned to benefit from existing investments in platform technology, bringing the choice of platform down to AIX on IBM Power Systems hardware or Linux on the IBM z Systems mainframe platform.
Air India decided to deploy its Lotus Domino environment on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE. The company uses three Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processors on a mainframe that is dedicated to the Domino workload.
Sanjay Agarwal, AGM (Systems/Maintenance) at Air India, said: "We felt that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE would be the best platform for supporting a large number of email accounts—we did not want to have any issues with scalability or performance."
IBM recommended the use of the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform over competing distributions, and the ability to deploy it on IFL processors helped Air India to keep the ongoing cost down.
"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE was launched as long ago as 2000, so it's a highly mature enterprise operating system," said Sanjay Agarwal. "We know that both IBM and SUSE are committed to continually refining the already-excellent performance and stability, and it's good to know that we have their backing."
Running on two logical partitions, the Lotus Domino landscape at Air India is split into two nodes that are clustered at the application level to ensure high availability. In the event of any loss of service, users are automatically switched from the failed node to the remaining node in the cluster. This approach also facilitates maintenance and backup tasks.
"Using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE gives us a highly responsive platform that also simply keeps working without any real need for maintenance," said Sanjay Agarwal. "We can therefore focus our attention on administering the Lotus Domino environment itself, so that we can offer a fast, high-quality email service to our users."
For Air India, a key advantage of using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE is the reliability of the platform, which helps the company both to minimize the administrative overhead and to ensure excellent levels of service.
"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE has a very long track-record of extreme stability at Air India," said Sanjay Agarwal. "We simply don't see any crashes or instability, which translates into better availability and performance for our users, as well as minimizing the administrative effort for the IT team."
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE provides several unique tools for system administrators to help reduce the maintenance burden, including ZYpp for optimized package management, and YaST® and AutoYaST for system installation and configuration. Combined with strong local and international support, these tools help make the operating system a true enterprise- class platform for critical workloads.
"In our limited experience, the support from SUSE has been great," said Sanjay Agarwal. "It is vital for us to ensure exceptional performance and constant uptime for our 10,000-plus email users, so we absolutely need an operating system that is up to the task. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE, we need only two personnel to manage this whole environment, which is a great advantage from the perspective of operational costs."