About Dalmia Magnesite Corporation
Founded in 1935, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd. has grown to become one of India's largest cement producers, and exports its products around the globe. Dalmia Cement was the first company in South India to obtain ISO 9002 certification, and has recently obtained ISO 14001 certification. In 1994, the company also diversified into sugar production, which now makes a significant—and growing—contribution to its Rs 30 billion (US$ 600 million) annual revenues. Dalmia Magnesite Corporation is a unit of Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd.
To run its manufacturing processes and manage its finances and supply chain, Dalmia Magnesite relies on core business systems based on an Oracle database and a number of custom applications.
The database and applications were accessed by client software running on Microsoft Windows desktop machines. The company wanted to enhance the functionality and performance of the system by upgrading the database to Oracle 10g, but this new version would not run on the existing server operating system.
"We wanted to upgrade, but we did not want to make major changes to our existing infrastructure," said P. Saravanan, Systems Manager at Dalmia Magnesite. "Many of the proposed solutions involved moving to a three-tier architecture with numerous application and database servers. Some would also have required our custom applications to be rewritten. These were both expensive options, so we wanted to find a different solution."
Working with Wipro Infotech, the company's IT team decided to implement SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for its business applications including Oracle 10g, and Novell Open Enterprise Server for its file and print services, which together provide a simple, risk-free migration path from NetWare®.
"We have worked with Novell software for many years, and we are confident in the reliability and performance," said Saravanan. "When we decided to move to Linux, Novell was the best option for us—particularly because SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell Open Enterprise Server made it easy to migrate without the need for significant redevelopment effort."
When the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server environment was up and running, the company began its migration to the new Oracle 10g database. The combination of Oracle and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is fully certified by both Oracle and Novell, so Dalmia Magnesite can easily and cost-effectively obtain support for the new infrastructure.
"Having a fully supported solution was important to us because it minimises the risk to the business if problems occur," said Saravanan. "But so far, we have not had any problems at all. SUSE Linux Enterprise is much more stable and resilient against viruses than other platforms—particularly Microsoft Windows—and we feel very well protected against system crashes and downtime."
With this migration, Dalmia Magnesite is able to continue to run its business applications and Oracle database on a small number of physical servers, and there has been no need to redevelop the applications to adapt to the new operating system. The company has migrated its Novell GroupWise® e-mail system to Linux as well.
"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell Open Enterprise Server have enabled us to gain all the benefits of a modern platform, without requiring significant development work or major changes to the overall IT architecture," said Saravanan. "The combination of modernisation with continuity has proven very advantageous for the company."
By providing a stable, virus-resistant platform for Dalmia Magnesite's core business systems, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell Open Enterprise Server offer significantly better availability and reliability than the company could expect from a Windows-based infrastructure.
"We have had trouble with viruses on Windows-based operating system servers in the past, and we were keen to avoid the same problems in future," comments Saravanan. "So far, our confidence in the Novell operating systems has been completely rewarded."
The Novell solution has also enabled Dalmia Magnesite to use just a single server—saving the acquisition and operational costs that would have been incurred by an infrastructure based around more resource-hungry operating systems. With just one physical machine to manage, support and maintain, the in-house IT team is free to concentrate on more important tasks and strategic projects.
Equally, by avoiding the need to port its existing applications to a new operating system—or even rewrite them completely in Java—SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell Open Enterprise Server have saved considerable workload for the IT department, as well as enabling the company to move over to the new solution much more quickly and seamlessly.
"The cost of purchasing and managing several new servers, and of redeveloping all our existing applications, would have been significant, so we consider that this solution has already delivered a considerable return on investment," said Saravanan. "Looking to the future, this Novell infrastructure will provide a solid foundation as we continue to enhance and optimise our business systems."