A European telco and ISP has dealt a major blow to Sun Microsystems, kicking out its 70 web hosting servers in favour of one IBM mainframe and Shark storage server, both running Linux.
Telia, Scandinavia's largest telco and ISP, will use the system to host and run its business and consumer internet services operations. It is the first European company to deploy a major commercial IT system on Linux.
The S/390 will host more than 1500 virtual internet Linux servers simultaneously with each virtual server acting as a web server for individual Telia-hosted business customers, using IBM's Virtual Machine operating system.
Telia will also move data from its current storage servers to a 11.4 terabyte IBM enterprise storage server.
The decision to move its entire ISP operation to IBM's S/390 running the open source operating system has been hailed as a sound commercial move.
Bill Claybrook, research director for Linux and open source software at the Aberdeen Group, said there are "huge savings from a systems management point of view, security and the ability to respond quickly to new customers".
"Having Linux on S/390 means that there is only one large system to take care of, which almost never goes down," he said. "Telia can create new web hosting sites in minutes rather than hours.
"Before now, if they ran out of capacity, it would take Telia five hours to set up a new server. By running Linux as a guest under Virtual Machine, Telia can create a web hosting site for another customer almost instantly," he added.
Another advantage is improved data access and security. "The web servers can access the data in no time because they are both on the S/390. They do not have to access the data over a Lan," said Claybrook.
Henrik Wulff Riedl, chief financial officer of TeliaNet, said the move allows the company to "rethink our total pricing structure for internet services and offer customers a more affordable web application service than ever before".
Aberdeen's Claybrook said such deployments could herald a trend and that "other folks should be looking at this option when creating web hosting services".
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