Micro Silicon Electronics Corporation wanted to reduce costs, improve security and simplify management by migrating its servers from Microsoft Windows to an open source operating system. Seeking a solution that would meet the requirements of its ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification, the company chose SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server.
MSEC was running its primary IT systems on a number of machines running Microsoft Windows Server 2003. When Windows Server 2008 was released, the company realized that it would eventually need to upgrade or move to a different operating system.
“The existing solution was not ideal in terms of licensing costs and security,” said Andrew Huang, Engineer in the IT Department at MSEC. “We often had to deal with hacking, viruses and other problems. We were also concerned that upgrading to the latest version would require more powerful hardware, and that our existing systems might not be fully compatible.”
To avoid these problems, the company considered moving to an open source solution. “We had some experience with FreeBSD, but the company considered this an academic solution, not suitable for enterprise systems,” said Huang. “To support our ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications, we needed a solution with full documentation and excellent support.”
MSEC evaluated a number of different Linux operating systems, and finally chose SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. “We saw SUSE as the best option because of the responsive support that SUSE Technical Services provided during the evaluation,” said Huang. “Their ability to solve problems quickly was impressive. Many large companies around the world rely on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server because it is designed for use by enterprise-level businesses. It also provides a range of functionalities that facilitate compliance with our ISO certifications.”
Following the evaluation period, a two-person team from the MSEC IT department completed the migration from Windows to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. From evaluation through to go-live, the project took less than one year. The new environment is hosted on 10 HP and IBM servers, and runs a number of applications, including document management systems and various interfaces with the machines on MSEC’s production line.
“As SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is more secure and stable than our previous solution, we have been able to introduce some new features that make our operations more efficient, which increases our operating income,” said Huang. “For example, previously we used to manually copy data from the production line machines; now, because we have more confidence that the data will be managed securely and reliably, we have automated this process.” The stability of the new solution is also helping MSEC’s IT department and end users.
“Even though we keep our servers running for long periods, we rarely have any problems with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server,” said Huang. “The availability of our systems has improved significantly, which means there is less disruption for our business users. When we were using Windows, we needed three people to work full-time on maintenance. Now, one person can manage the whole environment, so the other two employees can focus on more valuable work.”
As an open source solution, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server enables MSEC to avoid the heavy licensing costs of proprietary operating systems, and also gives the company access to a wide range of free open source software.
“By comparison with the SUSE solution, upgrading to Windows Server 2008 would have been an expensive option,” said Huang. “We estimate that moving to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has reduced our software licensing costs by 70 percent.”
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server can also deliver excellent performance even on relatively low-end servers. As a result, MSEC was able to perform the migration without purchasing the expensive new hardware that many other solutions would have required.
“Choosing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server saved us 40 percent in hardware costs, compared to alternative solutions,” said Huang. “It also requires 20 percent fewer physical machines, which means there is more free space in the data center, and our electricity and air-conditioning requirements have been reduced.”
With fewer servers and a more stable operating system, management workload for the IT department has also been reduced by more than 60 percent—a significant operational cost saving.
“Whether you look at hardware, software or administration, the SUSE solution has reduced our costs significantly,” said Huang. “But cost is not everything: the real benefit for our business is that the new environment is more stable and secure.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server gives us complete confidence that our systems will deliver the performance and availability that our users require, and that our data will be protected from viruses, hackers and other threats.”