Uni enrols Oracle, Linux to administer IT

The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) has selected Oracle’s E-Business Suite with Dell hardware running on Linux as part of a massive revamp of its administration systems.

The multimillion dollar solution devised by Oracle for UTS will see the university implement the suite on an Oracle 9i database to manage its finance, payroll and human resources processes. The suite will run across real application clusters on Dell PowerEdge 6650 and 2650 servers, operating on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.

According to UTS technical services manager Peter James, the university was initially looking for an applications package to replace its ageing financial and human resources systems. Potential solutions were sourced through a standard tender process, he said.

However, the introduction of a new front-end applications package also expanded into choosing an appropriate back-end system to run the solution on.

As UTS’s back-end servers currently run on a Sun Solaris (Unix-based) platform, “we needed some flavour of Unix”, James said.

The university looked at a Solaris-based replacement solution initially “as a risk aversion” strategy, he said.

But while Sun’s products worked well and had already proven “stable”, the combination of Oracle’s clustering processes, alongside the cost-effectiveness of going with a Linux-based solution, came up trumps.

Although Linux was not a main criteria for UTS when it started looking into upgrading its systems, “it became apparent early on in the review process that the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform offered many benefits”, he said.

“There’s massive cost savings for us by using Linux in the back-end,” James said.

“Hardware savings alone are close to a quarter of a million.”

In addition, being able to cluster all of its systems under a single infrastructure (using Oracle) will also prove cost effective, he said.

James admitted he wasn’t confident about moving to Linux straight away, saying he was not one to sit “on the bleeding edge” of technology.

“It’s all very well to say you have the support [within the Linux community] but you don’t have the commitment in the Linux environment that you get with the bigger vendors,” he said.

With the backing of both Dell and Oracle however, the risk of implementing Linux upfront “was worth making”, he said.

In addition, UTS had put risk management processes in place in case the Linux-based back-end system failed. James said they were currently looking like a “wasted” effort, as the system has proved successful.

UTS completed the first phase of replacing its older financials system with the Oracle’s financials application across the Dell/Linux platform in January.

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