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From Old School to New School




 

A Shift in Attitude

As Havertys introduced additional Linux applications into its IT environment, Clary's attitude about open-source applications swung 180 degrees. He explains, "Some of these applications were more robust than the products we were paying a considerable amount of money for. I started taking them a lot more seriously."

 

With the help of a couple Havertys IT employees with some off-the-job experience with Linux, the company began more widely deploying the operating system and open-source applications. "They really understood some of the open-source tools, and we've since begun using several of them in our production systems," Clary says. Now, Clary and team actively seek out Linux-based applications, preferring them to more expensive Windows alternatives. Havertys may in fact adopt the open-source Open Office in favor of Microsoft Office.

 

Of course, running some of these applications on Linux partitions on the iSeries and eServer i5 systems doesnt hurt. Clary notes that the power and flexibility of the platforms make them a perfect choice for running Linux. "In the past, they uniformly only ran native apps, but now we have eight Linux servers running on the two production boxes. IBM pricing also makes it desirable to run Linux on the iSeries and eServer i5 systems, as does the platforms speed. You can go to our Web site at havertys.com and be the judge of that."

 

Havertys has also begun converting its legacy applications to Java*, wanting to reduce its reliance on the thin clients running embedded Windows NT and XP. By doing this, the company can deliver applications to users via Linux servers on the iSeries and eServer i5 systems through Linux-compatible browsers, ridding itself of the stand-alone PC servers it has installed at each retail location. The results of this move will be HVTnet, a Linux Apache WebSphere* intranet (named after its stock ticker symbol) that ties into the companys back-end systems.

 

The company also recently migrated its Domino*/Notes* environment, which previously ran on Intel servers, to the iSeries system. This further allows the company to consolidate. Similarly, it has moved its Citrix servers to Integrated xSeries* Adapters (IXA) on the iSeries system. "We had four very large Citrix farms that we've consolidated to the xSeries attached to the iSeries system," Clary says. "And these boxes are just processors, with the storage coming off the iSeries system. We can take an xSeries server, boot it up to be a Citrix server or a budgeting server, and we can do that in literally 10 or 15 minutes because its just pulling the image off the iSeries system."

 

 

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.



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