To support rapid growth in demand for its accreditation and certification services, CNCA IT Centre needed to improve the performance, capacity and security of its IT infrastructure. By selecting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as its strategic operating system, the organization has increased system availability, reduced administrative workload, cut costs and enabled faster response to new business requirements.
The CNCA IT Centre supports operations across a wide network of training institutions, consulting companies and laboratories throughout China. As the rapid growth of the Chinese economy has raised demands on these nationwide operations, the pressure on the CNCA IT infrastructure has also increased.
With business-support systems running on a mixture of Microsoft Windows and various Linux distributions, the lack of standardization and common management tools made it difficult for the IT department to ensure high levels of availability and performance. As data volumes grew, the IT department had deployed a number of new middleware products and databases, putting additional strain on servers and network resources.
Equally, management costs were high, with four or five full-time employees typically committed to server management tasks. Maintaining software and applying frequent security patches was a particular challenge.
To support the growing demand from Chinese businesses for certification, CNCA IT Centre planned to standardize on a single operating system that could offer the reliability, security and flexibility it needed. Based in part on its existing experience with Linux, the organization selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as its strategic platform for business services. “Our previous server infrastructure was running out of capacity and could no longer meet our requirements for speed of processing, security and flexibility,” said Xin Liu, Technical Manager of the IT Centre at the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China.
“Linux draws on the heritage of UNIX, so it’s more stable and scalable by design—and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is backed by excellent support in China.”
CNCA IT Centre has implemented SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on a number of different servers in its headquarters and regional offices to support a variety of in-house applications based on IBM DB2 and Oracle databases. The resilience, security and high availability of the operating system have reduced the server management workload at CNCA IT Centre, freeing up skilled staff to focus on new software development and direct support for the business applications and users.
“We provide a comprehensive range of services to business users around the country; SUSE Linux Enterprise Server gives us a platform that is both stable enough to support the business and flexible enough to permit the rapid development and deployment of new services,” said Liu. “In the past, our staff would spend a lot of time fixing unexpected problems with servers or installing software patches. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we have a single set of efficient server management tools, so we can focus instead on business software development.”
CNCA IT Centre was formerly compelled to work in a reactive manner, responding to security and performance problems on servers as and when they became apparent. With the autonomic optimization features of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and easy access to the SUSE knowledge base, the organization can now solve issues before they have any detrimental effect on live systems.
By standardizing on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, CNCA IT Centre has gained a unified platform for supporting business users across the whole of China. With advanced automatic upgrades and powerful built-in management tools, the SUSE solution saves time and effort for the IT department. “Our IT department is relatively small, and of the ten full-time employees, up to five were previously occupied largely with routine server management and updates,” said Liu. “With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we require just one full-time person to handle all server administration—an 80 percent improvement in efficiency.”
The SUSE solution offers better availability and security than the previous mixed infrastructure, helping CNCA IT Centre to support growing demand from Chinese businesses for certification and accreditation services. Using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has also reduced the total cost of ownership by an estimated 15 percent for CNCA IT Centre, both by freeing up skilled employees from routine server administration and by cutting software licensing costs.
“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has given us a stable, secure and highly reliable platform that will support us as we provide more services to a larger number of businesses,” said Liu. “With strong support from SUSE technicians, we are able to achieve high service levels with much less effort than before.”