Standards group adopts innovative hardware approach

Needing to replace its ageing hardware systems and upgrade its PeopleSoft applications, SAI Global was looking for a technology infrastructure that would help it deal with its worldwide expansion and deliver Web-based services to its customers.

Having grown from an Australian-based operation to an international organization, with offices in the US, New Zealand, Indonesia, Mexico and India, the standards and business publishing company needed an IT infrastructure to accommodate its growth.

SAI Global chief executive officer, Ross Wraight, said the company decided to service global operations centrally, but this meant upscaling its server infrastructure and application environment.

While committed to PeopleSoft for its core business operations, including HR, retail, portal, financials and payroll, SAI Global needed a hardware platform to facilitate the rollout of Itanium 2-based servers.

Despite considering both Sun and IBM, SAI Global went with two HP Integrity rx2600 servers and five ProLiant DL380 servers, making the solution a world first based on HP, PeopleSoft 8.45 and Intel Itanium 2-based technology.

Project conception to implementation took only eight months, and went live in November 2004. Rollout to global sites will be completed in 2006.

The company now has PeopleSoft Financial Management and PeopleSoft Retail running on an Oracle9i database and HP-UX 11i v2 went live in January.

SAI Global group director of IT and telecommunications Rohit Dass says the Intel Itanium 2 processor was reasonably priced and could be used to map the company's future.

Dass said there was little software alteration and the company went with a single vendor because it offered a complete product range to fit their requirements.

"We believe the 64-bit computing environment in Itanium 2-based servers will give our systems greater cost benefits across the entire infrastructure, extended product lifespan and substantial performance throughout, making our systems faster," Dass said.

SAI Global can now support a growing number of transactions related to online sales of published standards as well as scheduling, tracking and billings for training and audits.

"Previously our overnight batch processing of transactions took a full eight hours. Based on early tests, this can now be completed in just four hours," Dass said.

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