Large retail chain saves 50% by switching form RHEL to CentOS

About the company

Large retail chain operates in a very competitive business landscape.  They have a critical need to innovate and develop new strategies and technologies to stay profitable in the e-commerce world.

Business problem

IT department was asked by management to look into ways to reduce their IT budget by 7 percent per year. Their objective was to find ways to minimize costs that didn’t involve reducing their technical staffing capabilities or their competitive technological edge.

Solution

Retailer looked at all their expenditures and realized that licensing costs played an outsized role in their budget. Among other fees, Retailer was paying licensing and support fees on 730 physical and virtual RHEL servers. After investigating alternatives, the IT staff discovered that RHEL and CentOS were binary equivalent versions of the same operating system. Essentially, CentOS is the “non-branded” version of RHEL. As the operating systems were effectively the same code, the conversion process would be straightforward to execute. The retailer also realized that by converting their OS from RHEL to CentOS enterprise support, the company could save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on licensing costs and still retain the support SLA standards they required to operate efficiently and smoothly.

Plan

The Retailer turned to Faro Source for the conversion assistance and support they would need to execute the RHEL to CentOS conversion process and ongoing support of the CentOS Linux OS. Faro Source provided the detailed guidance on the timing, risk assessment and conversion process to convert from RHEL to CentOS. The customer chose the process that they were most comfortable with, which involved converting the low-risk applications and development instances first. The production instances and those with more tightly coupled applications were pushed to the second stage until comprehensive outcome testing could be thoroughly completed and the customer was comfortable with the conversion results for phase one. Ultimately, Phase 1 conversion process took 4 months and Phase 2 was completed within 10 months of the start of the project.

Result

All RHEL to CentOS conversion instances were completed within the planned time frame. Careful planning and testing assured that the process ran smoothly and on time. The Faro Source support team provided strategic guidance on the conversion process and researched the technical issues that needed to be resolved for bug resolution on the more complex dependency applications. Retailer realized an actual costs savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars and still experiences the same benefits of using a binary equivalent of RHEL, which is CentOS.

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