Hutchison completes IT infrastructure roll out

Hutchison Telecommunications has completed the installation of its server infrastructure that runs Australia’s first 3G mobile network.

With some 400 servers – ranging from blades to large SMP systems – Hutchison’s CTO Victa Mclelland is wary of vendor lock-in.

“One of the main reasons why Hutchison has a combination of hardware vendors is to avoid being locked into a specific vendor,” Mclelland said. “With the selection of any solution, Hutchison will always take into consideration not being locked into a proprietary solution.”

Hutchison chose a combination of hardware vendors “mostly following” what the company has done internally elsewhere, but went with Sun for most of the infrastructure.

“Hutchison did not choose Sun above other hardware vendors,” Mclelland said. “The quality and performance of the Sun servers that we have installed is very competitive in comparison with our other hardware vendors.”

Although Sun servers make up the core of Hutchison’s systems, the range is diverse with everything from blades to 56-way Sun Fire 15K (F15K) servers.

“The various business requirements need various hardware solutions,” he said. “The variety of hardware components that the compay purchased is to provide it with growth in various directions. Some solutions require a horizontal expansion while other solutions need a vertical expansion.”

Mclelland said the blades are predominantly used as front-end servers that have direct interaction with a user, while the F15K’s are used for the bigger applications that require high availability and redundancy.

While Mclelland declined to comment on the cost of the systems, saying he believes the money has been well spent.

“The Sun servers have been reliable and perform as expected,” he said.

Although Hutchison plans to follow the development of Sun’s technology “very closely” and consider new Sun technology as part of future requirements, the company does not have any plans to replace existing desktops with Sun offerings, Mclelland said.

Sun Microsystems’ Hutchison account director Suzi Wood said the company was one of the early adopters of blade servers and has a number of volume servers performing various tasks.

“All of Hutchison’s volume servers, including V240, V480, and V880 systems, are running Solaris and support a range of business processes such as fraud prevention and CRM,” Wood said.

“This is a ‘futureproof’ architecture that can grow with Hutchison’s needs.”

Sun enterprise solutions architect David McKay said core F15K servers are also flexible.

“One F15K is a mirror of the other and it is possible to logically divide the system into eight or nine subsystems,” McKay said. “Most of the applications running on the backend servers are J2EE apps and all of Hutchisons phones support J2ME.”

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