Chicago replaces Sun servers with HP

Chicago has found cost savings and a performance boost in its Solaris-to-Linux migration.

The city embarked on the changeover about two years ago after finding that its Sun Microsystems’ Solaris servers were nearing their end of life. Although the servers needed to be replaced, city officials wanted to reduce hardware and maintenance costs.

Amy Niersbach, platform architect for the city, estimated the cost of replacing the Sun Enterprise 6500 servers at $250,000 each, if the city remained on the Sun platform. Chicago selected instead Hewlett-Packard servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux because those Intel-based servers cost about $50,000 each.

The new server platform now supports systems including Chicago’s vehicle registration system, Oracle 9i Real Application Clusters (RAC), Oracle 10g RAC database servers and a BEA WebLogic server, Niersbach said. The city plans to migrate two more Oracle database servers from Sun to HP and Red Hat, she added.

Niersbach said the Intel servers also offer faster processing in most cases. The transition, she said, provided an opportunity to see a big performance difference and cost savings.

John Punzak, national sales director for state and local government and education at Red Hat, said many customers deploy Red Hat on the edge of the network in roles such as print server. But Chicago, he said, has pushed the Intel/Red Hat platform to the heart of its data center.

Punzak said state and local customers have found that they can acquire open-source systems for what they would normally pay in annual maintenance for Sun machines. He cited as an example Dade County, Fla., which faced a Sun Fire 15K system board upgrade of $120,000, but instead bought two four-way Intel machines running Red Hat for $80,000.

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