Coal miner unearths riches in comms network

Mining company Mitsubishi Development is unearthing massive savings in the cost of communications after successfully bedding down a $100,000 Lotus Notes and Cisco-based network.

While Nigel Stewart, Mitsubishi's systems administrator, could not provide an accurate estimate, he concedes it is a dramatic improvement on the cost of maintaining legacy Telex machines.

Under the guidance of Netbridge Systems Integra-tion, Mitsubishi installed Lotus Notes 4.6, Cisco PIX Firewalls and Cisco 3600 and 1603 routers for its 25 Sydney and Brisbane users, joining an estimated 5000 staff worldwide connected using Lotus Notes. The company also deployed a Compaq ProLiant server to house the Notes database.

Stewart said the purchasing decisions were the result of a consultative process the company undertook with Netbridge, the integrator that also supplies Mitsubishi's Oracle financials.

"Rather than deal with another integration company we decided to keep it all in the one house," he said. Mitsubishi recently added frame relay connections and replication capabilities between its Tokyo and Sydney offices. According to Stewart, the key business benefit is the ability to share information with other business units around the globe. "All our information now comes over the Internet," he said.

Stewart said he has no complaints about the integration process and ongoing performance of the system.

The new network is also impacting Mitsubishi's partners and investors, including BHP and Rio Tinto, with investors now able to cost-effectively monitor coal prices and operations at the mines.

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