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Manufacturing management company moves to Linux

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Hines Corp. is a management company that oversees a conglomerate of manufacturers in the Midwest and Texas, and a distributorship in New York. It has a diverse IT infrastructure that requires attention around the clock. When Hines CIO Ed Harper decided it was time to consolidate and streamline aging legacy systems, he turned from Microsoft to Linux.

High costs were the "coup de grâce" that forced the change, Harper says. "But it was more than just that. Microsoft has so many bugs, so many security openings. And we also had issues with memory leaks. The servers had to be rebooted. And the forced upgrade cycle was a constant issue. With Microsoft, we had two occasions where servers went down and we could not recover them. We had to totally reload, and once it took five days to rebuild it. We just said, 'This is for the birds.'"

Harper had a couple of Red Hat boxes; one for a VPN and the other a firewall. He was familiar with the stability and security of Linux. "We didn't look at anything else," he says. "It came down to two choices: Microsoft or Linux." Harper decided to standardize on Novell's SUSE Linux. "We didn't have anything against Red Hat, but we've had a longstanding relationship with Novell."

Over 18 months, Harper migrated all but two of Hines' companies to Linux.

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