IWL Limited ditches Sun and moves to IBM

Entire infrastructure replaced

Wealth management technology firm IWL Limited has overhauled its Sun Microsystems server and storage environment and replaced it with IBM hardware, a move that has led to a six fold improvement in application performance and significantly reduced maintenance costs.

Executive general manager of infrastructure and services at IWL Limited, Phil Moore, estimates cost savings in the range of $300,000 per year.

The company replaced existing Sun Microsystems servers running Solaris with IBM System x3950 and System x 3550 servers, as well as IBM BladeCenter chassis and HS20 Blade Servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

It also replaced its existing storage with an 18TB IBM System Storage DS4800 storage area network and an IBM System Storage TS3500 tape library.

A phased rollout over six months was completed in January 2007.

Moore said the entire infrastructure was replaced and the total project cost was $1.7 million with $1.3 million going to IBM.

"The core infrastructure we inherited was four or five years old, it wasn't delivering the performance we needed and most of the equipment was out of warranty," he said.

"Once the systems went out of warranty, maintenance costs went through the roof.

"We met with both vendors and they offered aggressive discounting on both sides but in the end we went with IBM as there is better maintenance and support."

Performance monitoring undertaken by IWL shows the new solution is much faster than the previous kit.

"We've reduced response time for critical business functions from around three seconds to half a second," Moore said.

"The number of transactions that exceed five seconds has dropped from 12 per cent to well under one per cent.

"This is particularly important because we have service level agreements around system performance that include financial penalties if we don't meet them."

The hardware refresh also allowed IWL to improve its availability and disaster recovery capabilities.

Moore said the systems run as a cluster across two datacentres with the capacity to fail over almost immediately if one of the servers should fail.

IWL Limited provides a range of broking solutions, a suite of financial advisory software products and incisive equities and managed funds research to financial advisory groups, financial institutions and retail and wholesale investors around Australia.

Moore said IWL inherited the Sun kit after its acquisition of Perth-based JDV in October 2005.

He said IWL had a pre-existing relationship with IBM and staff were more familiar with the configuration of the equipment.

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