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Queensland Transport surveys road to Linux

Queensland Transport surveys road to Linux

In an effort to consolidate its server architectures and platforms, Queensland Transport will evaluate migrating some 300 NetWare, Solaris, and Windows systems over to Linux, according to the department's IT innovation and planning unit leader Sam Higgins.

QT's server landscape consists mainly of Sun's Solaris for J2EE applications, Novell's NetWare for file and print, and Windows Server, including NT, for specialty applications.

"We're a big Notes shop and Novell house," Higgins told Computerworld. "Notes used to be supported on NetWare and when we upgraded Notes we had to have NetWare file and print servers and a Notes server. Novell's strategy of providing people the Linux option and with IBM also supporting Notes on Linux means we can consolidate that infrastructure back."

Higgins said another plus with Linux is that it run all of QT's J2EE infrastructure. "Also, our whole management centre staff would be all Unix whereas at the moment they are all a mixture of NetWare, NT and Unix," he said. "There's always NT kicking around."

Higgins said QT already uses a lot of open source software for application development and "in bits and pieces".

"All those little utilities that drive people insane we tend to use open source for those," he said.

Higgins described the the scale of the migration project as "big" as it is in the order of 250 NetWare and Windows systems and between 50 to 60 Solaris systems.

"A few years ago we made a strategic decision to go with Sun and now we're moving to pilot that Linux environment," he said. "And then there's things like WSDM that have MySQL and JBoss built into them. We do run JBoss on the development platform [and] all the developers target JBoss."

Although the business case for the migration is yet to proceed, Higgins said in the next six months a pilot will be run and if the pilot is successful a transition plan for the migration will begin.

QT systems architect Shaun Travers said the primary motivator for the project is to move to commodity Intel machines and reduce potential cost increases associated with supporting multiple architectures.

"We have to do something," Travers said adding that the move could be to Linux or Windows.

Higgins believes QT is the only agency doing open source on the back-end. "There is some talk within the Queensland government about testing Linux on the desktop but we're really more interested in the back-end servers for skills and consolidation," he said. "We're not looking at doing open source on the desktop because we've built up a fair level of competency in the Microsoft-based SOE and our back-end server environment has always historically been Unix. So we will have a neat split - a pervasive Microsoft front-end and a Unix back-end."

Higgins said QT has been in discussions with Centrelink regarding Linux migration strategies

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