Local poultry producer Bartter Enterprises is evaluating the future of around 70 Microsoft Windows servers, in the context of a recent migration of other systems to Red Hat Linux.
Bartter claims to be the nation's second-largest producer of poultry products such as chicken and turkey, with around 4,500 employees nationally. The group's business systems director, Janelle Endacott, spoke with ZDNet Australia yesterday regarding the favour that Red Hat's variant of Linux is currently finding within the organisation.
"What we have done is move all of our Unix servers to Linux," Endacott said. "So we moved the Unix first, that's all now done.
Bartter had previously been using Hewlett-Packard's True64 Unix operating system for a number of functions including order entry shipping, but a large migration took place late in 2005 to Red Hat Linux running Oracle in a clustered grid configuration.
"Going forward, we're currently in the process of evaluating the Windows servers," Endacott said, adding Bartter had commissioned Red Hat to do a preliminary analysis of the software running on those systems.
The Windows machines are running applications such as Microsoft Office, Exchange and SQL Server, in addition to, for example, some printing and shipping solutions.
Plans for the Windows machines will be finalised at some point over the next year, in line with Bartter's three-year refresh cycle for its technology.
"We lease all of our hardware, typically on a three-year lease," said Endacott. "So the hardware will be coming out of lease next year. And in addition to that, obviously Microsoft will be coming out with their Vista [operating system], and if we were to deploy that, we would be looking to do that with the hardware."
"Clearly that's the timeframe, where it's the opportunity to see whether there are open source solutions as an alternative."
Endacott said Linux had initially been chosen for its capacity to scale in a grid configuration running on commodity hardware, rendering unnecessary the need to buy a big bang Unix system and get either too much or too little processing power.
The executive said the move had delivered speed and cost benefits, with the system performing well over the past year and matching Unix-based systems in terms of reliability and security.