So therefore, the Group S’s IT specialists were looking for a solution which had to be tried and tested but which also had to have an eye on the future. Moreover, «the company’s overall IT strategy had to be respected», the ICT boss added: «Our strategy is in particular based on the use of an intentionally limited number of technologies. This is an essential component of our cost control. Using a limited number of technologies enables the ninety or so members of our ITC Department to have complete mastery of the ones that they use. Until now, in terms of O.S., we have limited ourselves to Windows Server and OpenVMS. Replacing the latter with Linux enables us to adhere to that path. Moreover, several software programmes that we are currently using on the Windows platform would function far better with Linux than with Windows.
Lastly, depending on the use that we are making of the clusters, the cluster model proposed by Linux RedHat seemed to us to be very close to the one proposed by OpenVMS».
Once the outline of the scheme had been established, the specification was developed and proposed to three potential service providers. One of them failed to provide a coherent response and another was so coherent that its price was completely out of the question. System Solutions won the day with a tender presenting the HP solution.
The winning tender resulted from genuine collaboration between HP and System Solutions. «Together, they had combined the technological and human aspects that Group S had wanted to be inseparable», Manu Lorant recounted. «HP had brought its thorough and exhaustive knowledge of technical solutions. On its side, System Solutions had brought its knowledge of our organisation while integrating into its mastery of the situation the solutions suggested by HP, our constraints and our modus operandi. System Solutions had also played a central role in the negotiations with Oracle, in order to obtain our licences at a competitive price».
The importance of the human relations between the partners has only grown once the HP / System Solutions tender has been adopted. Once the HP solution had been preselected, confirmation that it met Group S’s expectations in terms of performance was still required. The knell of the POC (Proof Of Concept) and the stress tests had sounded. The IT teams of Group S, System Solutions and HP joined forces to carry out some exhaustive «stress tests» of the suggested solution.
Their conclusive results led to the definitive signing of the contract. Today, the stages of the switch of the first databases (Q/A’s and pre-production) on to the new infrastructure have been accomplished thanks to the combined efforts of the service teams’ manpower. Manu Lorant is pleased and proud to be able to announce that «the human aspect of this project has been a decisive factor of its success. Our employees, those of HP and those of System Solutions have acted as one. Whether marketing or technical, their common goal was to succeed on time and within budget. It was important that the project was initially shouldered by our staff with the participation and the assistance of System Solutions, rather than vice versa. We were also expecting a transfer of skills from System Solutions and HP. Both objectives were achieved».
It should also be said that the training of the Group S systems engineers and operating groups has been immensely helped by the fact that, for more than ten years, the «KSH» command language has governed the company’s Windows operating environments.