About Salinen Austria
With mining sites in Hallstatt, Bad Ischl and Altaussee, and a production facility at Ebensee, Salinen Austria's 375 employees mine and refine more than 1.1 million tons of salt per year for industrial and domestic use. The company also works closely with the Austrian winter public sector service providers to supply salt for road clearance in winter. Salinen Austria recently made major investments in environmentally friendly technologies, and has switched from oil to natural gas to reduce sulphur dioxide and nitrogen emissions.
With an aging server environment distributed between several different sites, Salinen Austria decided it was time to reduce costs and simplify management by centralising its IT infrastructure. The company chose to phase out all outlying servers and move the applications and data to new hardware at its main data centre in Ebensee.
"Our existing servers were more than five years old and vendor support had expired," said Dietmar Quatember, CIO at Salinen Austria. "We wanted to replace them with new HP hardware, but our existing network operating system was not compatible with the new servers. We needed to migrate to a new OS, but we had a maximum maintenance window of two hours in which to complete the migration."
The IT team at Salinen Austria began evaluating different options for the OS migration, and looked for partners with the technical expertise to help them complete the task with minimal business disruption.
ITdesign, a Platinum PartnerSM, helped Salinen Austria create a new concept for the IT infrastructure, suggesting a migration to Open Enterprise Server running on SUSE® Linux Enterprise, leveraging Clustering Services™ to provide high availability.
After a period of careful testing to determine the best migration strategy, ITdesign installed the new hardware at the Ebensee data centre, connected it to the main Salinen network, and migrated GroupWise®, Micro Focus iFolder®, networking services, and file and print services to Open Enterprise Server.
"With the help of ITdesign we were able to move straight onto the latest version of Open Enterprise Server, without any complicated and expensive intermediate migration stages," said Quatember. "This made it possible to complete the migration within a standard two-hour maintenance window, so there was no disruption for our users."
With the exception of a single server at the Hallein site, Salinen Austria's entire IT infrastructure is now centralised at Ebensee. The company has phased out four old servers and replaced them with new HP machines running in a two-node cluster. In total, the company has consolidated from six servers to just three–reducing server management workload and hardware costs.
The company is using ZENworks® Linux Management to simplify patching and updates for its new Linux environment.
"ZENworks Linux Management provides a simple, centralised console which helps us select the right Linux patches and install them on our servers automatically–with no need to install them manually on each machine," said Quatember. "This makes life much easier for our IT staff, and we are now considering implementing ZENworks Configuration Management, to add new server and desktop management functionality."
Open Enterprise Server provides continuity with Salinen Austria's existing network services, as well as many useful new functionalities. For example, the company has implemented Micro Focus iPrint, which enables users to choose from a list of available printers and install them with a single mouse-click–a significant improvement over the previous infrastructure, where individual printer settings had to be applied to each desktop machine.
The new solution also provides significantly better availability, thanks to a combination of the redundancy provided by Clustering Services and the high stability of the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform.
"We have not experienced a single moment of unplanned downtime since the migration–the new infrastructure is considerably more reliable than the previous one," said Quatember. "As a result, our user satisfaction ratings have risen considerably, and the demands on our IT support team have fallen."
Consolidating from six to three servers has helped to reduce IT maintenance and management workload–and in the future, should also reduce hardware costs.
"We are very pleased with the new infrastructure, and the implementation project met all of our requirements–especially in terms of the rapid, non-disruptive migration," said Quatember. "ITdesign did a very effective and professional job, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to support and develop the environment further."