Lloyd's Register chooses Microsoft over Linux

Case study: Not quite what we were expecting, says IT boss...

Case study: Not quite what we were expecting, says IT boss...

When risk management organisation Lloyd's Register started on an exercise to choose a single operating platform from Windows, Linux and Unix, it didn't expect to end up plumping for the Microsoft option.

The organisation, which operates from 234 offices in 120 countries, began life examining the sea-worthiness of merchant ships but has now expanded into other areas such as land-based industries and oil and gas.

Recently the organisation conducted a feasibility study to see if a consolidated environment should exist at the server level.

Stephen Hand, group IT director at Lloyd's Register told silicon.com that he inherited a very fragmented IT infrastructure when he joined.

"We were very unhappy with total cost of ownership and were looking for reductions across the board. We concluded that a consolidated operating platform was something that we should be doing," he explained.

In the feasibility study each operating system was given a score out of 140. And even though it was expected that Linux would come out top, this wasn't the case.

"Our preconceptions about where the exercise was going were wrong. We thought we'd be open source by now," Hand admits.

On its tests Windows 2003 scored 120 out of a possible 140, with RedHat Linux scoring 90 and HP Unix 86.

Hand said: "We decided Windows 2003 was the direction we should be going in."

In particular what swung Lloyd's Register towards the Microsoft option were issues such as interoperability and availability of staff - and the organisation's future plans to move to a hosted environment.

"We've been moving to the Windows platform for the last 18 months. We decided to take a pragmatic approach to migration," Hand said.

The organisation isn't planning an overnight migration but will move systems over when there is a good reason, he said: "We have a roadmap over the next two to three years. What we've decided to do is replace applications [when there is a] business reason for renewal."

As a result the organisation will slash the number of servers it has to manage from more than 70 to around 20. And the move to a Microsoft infrastructure has allowed it to cut a third of its IT spend over the last three years, with operational spend dropping from £24m to £16m.