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The Way Business Is Moving

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Issue Date: May 2006

Clientèle chooses Red Hat

1 May 2006

With its legacy server solution no longer able to keep up with transaction volumes and hampering the growth of the company, Clientèle Life earlier this year went in search of an improved hardware and software solution for its core business systems. As the platform of choice for the new solution, Clientèle chose Red Hat Enterprise Linux, entrusting Linux specialists Obsidian Systems with the configuration, migration and rollout of the new solution.
Fergus McLoskey, IT manager for Clientèle Life provides the background: "During the course of last year we examined our current IT systems to gauge how they were performing."
Fergus McLoskey, IT manager for Clientèle Life and Litha Dumse, sales consultant for Obsidian
Fergus McLoskey, IT manager for Clientèle Life and Litha Dumse, sales consultant for Obsidian
"We immediately found that we would have to implement a new server. Since this system serves our main line of business systems, namely the administration of the insurance policy master system, it is truly the lifeblood of the organisation. Looking at what we had in place, we felt that simply transitioning our system to newer hardware was just not going to get us through. We needed to replace our legacy platform with something newer, running on a certified hardware platform."
McLoskey says that Obsidian Systems was the first and only company considered in assisting Clientèle with this upgrade.
"Obsidian's expertise is outstanding and they have a full understanding of the priorities and requirements of their clients," he affirms. "When it comes to piecing together a solution that requires hardware from one vendor and software from another, we knew we could trust them to bring it all together. I knew I would enjoy full continuity from them from the outset of the project right through to delivery and beyond, in terms of support when and if it is required."
Litha Dumse, sales consultant for Obsidian, explains what problems Clientèle Life was encountering with its previous system: "When we got on site, we found that Clientèle's servers were old and that parts were difficult to find should anything critical have gone wrong. Apart from that, simply making allowances for additional storage, for example, was a very expensive exercise.
"Furthermore, Clientèle found that security updates were no longer available for the legacy version of Linux it was running. This was only compounded by the fact that the company also had problems finding skills for the older version of Linux.
"The final straw was the fact that Clientèle's growing organisation was being hampered by the ceiling of 256 simultaneous connections to the server the older solution provided. Quite simply, staying on this older solution was hurting Clientèle's business."
Dumse explains what the solution Obsidian provided to Clientèle as a pilot now comprises: "We have successfully migrated all of Clientèle's data onto the new server, running the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 AS on an HP ProLiant server. We are satisfied that this solution will comprehensively solve the performance and capacity issues that the company was facing."
"Red Hat offers a guaranteed seven year life cycle from the day of release," enthuses Dumse. "This means that Clientèle will be running risk-free on this version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux until 2012."
Obsidian Systems has also made allowance for emergency server swapping, he says. "We have provided Clientèle with a fully configured standby server."
At present, the solution's pilot phase is drawing to a close, free from incident. "We have been testing the system for three weeks now without any hiccups, touch wood. I know, however, that should we run into any problems, I need only call Obsidian and they will provide me with a resolution," McLoskey concludes.
For more information contact Litha Dumse, sales consultant, Obsidian Systems, 011 792 6500, litha@obsidian.co.za


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