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Solutions4ebiz makes Linux an Enterprise Level Solution

Lots of magazine editors ponder it and thousands of techies discuss its possibilities, but while they continue talking, the experts at Solutions4ebiz have successfully implemented Linux as an Enterprise Level Solution while saving their client nearly $60,000 a year and increasing their performance.

It was nearing the end of the month and DSI-NPS had a couple of options to consider, the nationwide electronics distribution company could continue leasing their existing Sun Microsystems E450 or they could buy it for a one time fee. The company's third option, Solutions4ebiz's Solution, was to replace the Sun E450 with a much less expensive Linux server that would save DSI-NPS $58,000 per year and give the company increased performance.

By the time DSI-NPS gave Solutions4ebiz the green light to apply their Sun to Linux Solution, Solutions4ebiz only had one month to complete the project. Now, not only was the company facing serious time constraints, they were also notified that they would have to complete the project while DSI-NPS was physically moving its headquarters. From a high-level perspective, this was a fairly dangerous proposition, considering it would be nearly impossible to decipher whether or not any problems that may occur during the transition were a result of the physical move or of the conversion itself. DSI-NPS insisted on making the move and conversion at the same time, because the company did not want to shut down its call center operations twice. Solutions4ebiz accepted the conversion challenge and even got involved with the physical move.

As with any move, there was stress. "There was a high level of stress on us and our company during the move. We had to open up on time and with Solutions4ebiz we did." According to DSI-NPS President Mike Mountford, "we stopped processing in our call center on Saturday and we were able to take calls on Monday."

Solutions4ebiz pulled off the entire Sun to Linux conversion in one weekend. They migrated 105 gigabytes of data space including 1.2 million customers to the new database, starting on Saturday. The new system was completely operational by Monday morning. In order to allow for testing, Solutions4ebiz spent one week prior to the move, running the new server parallel to the old one.

Bin-Bin Liu is the DBA for DSI-NPS who assisted in exporting data from the Sun server to the Linux server during the conversion. "We did a very good job, we did some Sun testing and actually moved the data very smoothly. Solutions4ebiz was very professional. Since the conversion the Linux Solution has been very reliable."

Liu has been with DSI-NPS for two years and since that time he has watched the company transition from a Sun E5000, to a Sun E450, 400 Mhz quad processor and now to Solutions4ebiz's Linux, 1.5 Ghz dual Xeon processor. He feels there are pros and cons to both Sun and Linux, but the number one issue here was cost effectiveness. DSI-NPS would have been satisfied with the conversion as long as they received the same level of performance with Linux that they had previously gotten with Sun, at the substantial Linux savings. What DSI-NPS got instead was not only enormous savings, but also an increased performance level.

According to Liu, "On the Sun machine it used to take me more than 24 hours to import data that now takes me only 6." That speed did not come automatically, Mike Sheward, Chief Technology Officer at Solutions4ebiz, was able to anticipate the problem and modify the hardware configuration in order to achieve the performance enhancement.

According to Mountford, "Mike Sheward is always conservative on his estimates and over delivers. He was worried that the new system wouldn't perform as well as the Sun machine and it's actually much faster."

The project was not without obstacles, but the client certainly wasn't aware of them. According to Sheward, "We had a hard disk failure 2 or 3 weeks after the system was installed but DSI-NPS never knew it because we had instituted a RAID configuration that allowed the other disk drives to take over in the failed disk's place."

DSI-NPS is currently undergoing a business transition. Over the past year demand for the company's larger C-Band satellite dishes has dwindled while orders for its smaller DIRECTV dishes has grown. According to Solutions4ebiz President Jack Wilson, "The solution we have given them will allow them to continue to grow their business utilizing the Linux model."

Mountford is very happy with Solutions4ebiz and plans to continue their partnership into the future. "We have actually employed them on 3 projects. The first was a Y2K (data) conversion that was made with ease in about 5 or 6 hours. The second was this project and now we are currently working together on a third."

If your business is considering a conversion to Linux, or is interested in exploring Linux as an option but you aren't sure if there's a company out there to support the migration, you may want to contact Solutions4ebiz. According to DSI-NPS "they wouldn't shop anywhere else."