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Alesco and Linux – A winning combination

By / July 14, 2004 / , / 0 Comments

Last week I attended Oracle Open World in Melbourne, a three day event highlighting the latest Oracle tools and the future direction for Oracle.

A major feature of Open World was the latest database release, 10g, with features including Grid computing (the g in 10g). Grid computing is basically clusters of cheap servers acting as one virtual server sharing disk space. This reduces the single point of failure and also allows the application to be easily scaled in terms of CPU and memory. Other nice features in 10g is the self managing and tuning of the database, aimed at making it easier to administer and troubleshoot – watchout DBA’s.

A strong message given at Open World was Oracle’s support and encouragement for running the Linux operating system on Intel hardware, a combination referred to as Lintel. Oracle develops on and runs the majority of their internal apps on Lintel and is talking up the combination for clients. Dell has also started selling servers bundled with Red Hat Linux and Oracle 10g at very low prices.

Within the Alesco community there is already a number of sites successfully running Linux, a supported platform on the e807 version of Alesco.

If you’re thinking of moving to Linux for your Alesco install, here’s a couple of reasons why you should:

Lower TCO for existing UNIX sites

Those sites with proprietary UNIX environments (HP, AIX, Solaris) should be able to lower their TCO with a move to Linux and Intel. Existing staff skilled in UNIX require minimal training to move to Linux. Custom programs and tools that have been written should migrate with no effort. It’s a fair bet that most UNIX techs have already experienced Linux and have installed it on a server somewhere in your organisation!

Replicating your production instance for testing and development environments can also be achieved using nothing more than desktop PC’s running Linux.

More bang for your buck

The experiences Navigo has had running Alesco on Linux and Intel all point to quicker report processing times. Previously Intel had been disadvantaged by the 32 bit architecture, meaning SGA’s for database could not grow beyond 4gb. Now with the release of 64 bit architecture, Intel can now compete with the proprietary UNIX servers.

At the recent benchmark for the PNG Government, we processed 66,000 employees in under 3 hours. This was on a cluster of two 4CPU Intel Itanium Servers with 64 bit Red Hat Linux with a 7GB SGA. The payrun was split into 8 streams using the standard Alesco functionality which balanced nicely across the CPU’s.

With a cluster of Intel servers being considerably cheaper, sometimes one-tenth that of proprietary UNIX vendors, the cost savings to organisations are substantial.

Simplify the support process

Different flavours of UNIX, multiple versions of the OS, multiple versions of Oracle. Most sites have probably experienced certification problems and Oracle/Alesco bugs that only appear in their version/flavour of UNIX. Sometimes even trying to get a copy of the Oracle software for that version is a nightmare.

Running Linux, sites benefit from strong Oracle support for Linux issues and the availability of Oracle software on the OTN website.

For the Alesco application, more sites running the one operating system allows for quicker identification and resolution of Alesco/Oracle issues and simplifies the compatibility problems.

Come upgrade time, Alesco sites also benefit from the testing that more pro-active sites have already performed on the latest Alesco/Oracle combination.

For most organisations the challenge is reduce IT costs and deliver “unbreakable” systems. Running Alesco on a Lintel platform is certainly a step in the right direction.

For more info about Oracle on Linux see Oracle’s Linux FAQ

about the author

Peter is Navigo's founder and Managing Director. Peter is passionate about building and running businesses, finding solutions to business process problems and new trends in HR Technology.