France’s ministry for education has migrated 2,500 servers across its 30 local education authorities to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, in line with the ministry's open-source investment strategy to avoid problems associated with vendor lock-in.
The ministry said that in order to avoid the growing costs associated with proprietary licences and forced upgrade cycles it was migrating to open standards-based software and hardware solutions, ensuring interoperability and vendor independence for its IT systems.
"Having first abandoned GECOS 7 and DPS 7, and gradually the AIX system, the ministry determined that since 2000 it would drastically lower its costs by definitively decoupling the operating system supplier from the hardware supplier," said Michel Affre, the ministry’s IT systems manager.
"In doing so, we have standardised the information system architecture of each local education authority by running its application servers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating on standard servers."
Affre said more than 3,000 servers - which represent 80 to 120 servers per local education authority - now operate on Linux, with 80% of them running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
"All of our applications, whether financial applications or tools for managing exams, staff, students or everyday administrative activities, are now supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Our applications suppliers, internal developers and external partners now develop on open standards to ensure compatibility with Linux.”
Affre said moving towards standards-based infrastructure was a strategic decision that was being enthusiastically received by the young recruits in its IT departments.
"In 2004, over 95%of the servers ran on Linux. Today we are close to 100%, since we withdrew the last AIX servers at the end of 2006.”