Linux replaces Microsoft at Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand moves from Windows NT servers to IBM mainframes running Linux. As more Linux geeks climb the corporate ladder, could the trend be about to take off?

Air New Zealand is replacing 150 Compaq NT servers with two IBM mainframes running Linux, saving the company a potential NZ$600,000 (£180,000) in licence fees alone, according to a report in The New Zealand Herald. The company will then be in a position to replace 4000 Microsoft Exchange clients with Bynari, an open-source email application. The IBM Z800 mainframes will run Linux, Websphere Application Server, DB2 database and Tivoli software.

Air New Zealand spokesman Cameron Hill told the newspaper that the airline believed Linux "has come of age in its ability to be used by major IT users," and that the operating system reduced costs. Bob Morton, IBM regional manager, told the newspaper that it will "take Air New Zealand through a migration programme to put several applications on Linux on the mainframe," reducing the total cost of ownership. IBM will continue to own the mainframes, one of which will process live transactions while the other provides disaster recovery and system redundancy.

Roger DeSalis of the New Zealand Network Operators Group said that input-output (IO) advantages benefited mainframes over PC servers, and that Web serving was all about IO. "With Air New Zealand moving as much of its activity as it can online, it needs serious Web capability," he said. He also commented that other New Zealand companies were likely to increase their use of Linux, particularly as technical people familiar with it moved into positions of authority.

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