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Are you thinking of running your business critical apps on Linux, but are clouded by doubts over its success? Then you don't need to worry. In just 20 years of existence, Linux is being used to run some of the best organizations, not only in India, but across the world. Presented here are some truly remarkable Linux implementations by well-known businesses around the world, as well as in India.

Supercomputing: 91% of the top 500 super computers run on Linux

Unbelievable but true. Most super computers in the world are running on some version of Linux or the other. 5 of the top 10 for instance, run in SUSE Linux. Another 6 run on RedHat Linux, and yet another 6 are on CentOS. For more info, visit http://top500.org. Recently, IBM's Watson super computer played Jeopardy against the human champions. The system runs on SUSE Linux, and comprises of 10 racks of IBM's Power 750 servers, which have 2,880 CPU cores and 15 TB memory. The system can run multiple analytics algorithms simultaneously on 15 TB of information.

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Manufacturing: ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel manages its production lines on Linux

The global steel manufacturing giant runs its PSI-BT material tracking systems on Linux to manage its production lines, achieving microsecond-accurate measurements. The company needs to measure 200 different values for every meter of steel that they produce, and some of their production lines move at a rate of 18 meters per second. This means they have a 50 ms cycle time for all 200 measurements, meaning any delays can have a major impact on quality control.

Financial Services: London Stock Exchange's new trading platform runs on Linux

London Stock Exchange's new Millennium Exchange system will provide the stock exchange with a high performance, secure, green and interoperable platform, capable of making intelligent use of virtual and physical environments. The system helps increase the Millennium Exchange system's capacity to cope with high-volume trading.

Banking: UMB Financial Corp secures its IT infrastructure with Linux

One of the largest independent banks in America, UMB Financial Corp has implemented Novell's identity management solution on SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time. The solution has streamlined user access, reduced IT administration time and improved its ability to comply with regulatory requirements.

Retail: Café Coffee Runs its ERP on Linux

Established in 1999, Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company, operates across the full spectrum of business activities in the coffee sector, right from growing coffee on its 5,000 acres of plantations; to harvesting, roasting, blending, exporting and retailing it; And of course operating its 640+ Cafe Coffee day retail outlets across India. Managing such a geographically dispersed business is a challenge.

To handle its order management and logistics systems efficiently, the company implemented SAP's Java based ERP on SUSE Enterprise Linux server hosted on the Intel Itanium platform. The company felt it ran particularly well on Linux, giving good performance, reliability as well as scalability. Hence the decision to go with Linux. In fact, according to the company, they've not had a reason so far to put in too many service requests. The system helps improve control over business operations, maximize supply chain efficiency and cut costs while simultaneously improving the quality of service to customers. In fact, the software also provides detailed financial and management information for reporting, thereby helping with longterm strategic planning and enabling targeted growth.

Astronomy: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory sees the universe more clearly

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NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab runs a real time version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to see our universe more clearly. Hale Telescope's Adaptive Optics system uses the Linux version's real time extension to optimize operations of its high performance graphics cards and custom software to be able to compute a full vector matrix multiply to reconstruct the wavefront at up to 2 KHz.

Retail: Mahindra Retail deploys SAP ERP+SUSE Linux on commodity x86 hardware

Mahindra Retail plans to rapidly expand its Mom & Me chain of stores from four to 100 outlets all over India. It needed a platform to run SAP, which would provide good performance and availability without the associated high costs. It chose Linux instead of UNIX for the job, so that it could use commodity hardware to run its enterprise solutions. A cluster of x86 based Blade servers were used for job to run Oracle database and SAP central instance. The SAP environment is integrated using SAP NetWeaver Process Integration middleware with Mahindra Retail's Triversity Point of Sale solution, enabling the sharing of information on pricing, stock levels and promotions. Moreover, SAP's NetWeaver BW system runs consolidated financial reporting and business intelligence for the entire group.

About 100 employees in Mahindra Retail's Bangalore headquarters are already using SAP, along with a couple of employees in each of the stores. The company anticipates the total number of users to be between 200 and 300.

Education: ELCOT rolls out Linux to 30k desktops and 1880 servers in Tamil Nadu schools

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The Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu helps Govt. of Tamil Nadu in procuring hardware, software, and in meeting the state's various e-governance objectives. That's a pretty enormous task, given that most govt. projects are pretty large scale, involving very high investments. One such ambitious project is migrating all servers and desktops in in Tamil Nadu's schools to Linux. That's about 1880 servers and over 30,000 desktops. So far, the 1880 servers have been migrated, and 3000 new Linux based desktops have been supplied. These are all running on various SUSE Linux distros. The biggest benefit of moving to Linux, according to ELCOT's MD, C. Umashankar-no worrying about viruses any more!

The company has worked with teachers to design applications for the Linux based systems, like adding a Tamil voice-over to their computer-based training software, dual-language instruction manuals, etc. Other benefits of moving to Linux include the ability to experiment with different applications without making big investments. That's why, ELCOT has designed a suite of applications that deliver all functionality required by teachers.

Insurance: ING Life, India migrates its desktop fleet from Windows to Linux

The life insurance giant replaced Windows and MS Office on its desktops with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, giving it significant cost savings over the life of each machine. The email client used was Novell Evolution, which according to ING's CIO Ravishankar provides similar functionality as MS Outlook. The back-end of the company continues to run on MS SQL and Exchange Servers.

Insurance: National Insurance Company migrated 1000+ servers from UNIX to Linux

One of the largest and oldest general insurance companies in India, NIA has more than 200 types of policies and 1,000+ branches across the country. With increasing competition, the company needed an IT infrastructure that could match the speed and scale of its functioning. Till about 2000, the company was totally dependent on a proprietary IT infrastructure running on SCO UNIX. Once SCO stopped its support, the company moved over to Linux, choosing RedHat's Enterprise Linux OS as the replacement. It started with a corporate mailing server with an anti-virus and LDAP solution and centralized application settings, user profiles, group data, policies, and access control information into a network-based registry. Over 6,000 users are currently authenticated using this solution.

Later the company also migrated a critical insurance application from UNIX and Oracle 8.0.4 to Oracle 9i on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In fact, the company has successfully migrated 1000+ servers to Linux in just three months, and is currently deploying a core insurance application at a speed of 50 offices per week.
Education: HRD Ministry, Govt. of India introduces Rs 1500 tablet that runs on Linux

The Sakshat tablet has been in the news for a while now, because of its extremely low cost of just Rs. 1,500. The HRD ministry of govt. of India plans to distribute this tablet to 504 universities and 25,000 colleges across the country. Conceptualized by great brains at IISc, Bangalore, and the IITs (Kanpur, Kharagpur, Chennai, and Mumbai), the tablet is likely to create a huge impact on the cost of portable computing devices in the country.

Services Industry: Just Dial powers its mission-critical intranet and extranet applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Just Dial doesn't need an introduction for most Indian consumers. It's India's top-ranking local search engine, which bridges the gap between buyers and sellers across 240 cities in India, and several other countries in the world. The local search is available on phone, web, WAP and SMS. It reaches out to 25 million unique users across the country. Obviously, such a large user base and so many communication channels require a good IT infrastructure to function efficiently. The company was earlier using an archaic, DOS-based system built on FoxPro and running on a client/server model. It decided to move to an open, web-based architecture. The company chose LAMP (Linux – Apache – MySQL – PHP) for both its intranet and the extranet, and used C programming for optimizing their algorithms. The Linux platform is provided by Red Hat. With the move, the company doesn't worry about virus attacks or stack overflows. Though the company's server count has increased by more than 20 times, the company didn't have to increase the team size to manage it. Business has increased from 80,000 calls per day to over 250,000 calls.

Services Industry: TaxSpanner, the best income tax intermediary runs its business on Linux

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In just four years of its existence, TaxSpanner has become the largest player in the income tax filing space in India. The group set up its IT infrastructure on LAMP architecture, with the exception that it uses PostgreSQL, and Python instead of MySQL and PHP.

The company adopted Django as its web development framework, and the infrastructure is capable of handling a million hits in a day. The group continues to grow and add more capabilities to allow tax payers to file their tax returns more conveniently. It recently enabled tax payers to file their ITRs from their mobile phones.

Aeronautics: DFS (German Air Traffic Control) does its radar data processing on Linux

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DFS is a government-owned company responsible for all air traffic control in Germany, one of the busiest airspaces in the world. The company is mandated by the German Aviation Act to provide a number of air navigation services, which include but are not limited to air traffic control and acceptance, processing and forwarding of flight plans. DFS' software department for tower control systems developed a radar data-processing system called PHOENIX, which runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Over a period of time, the system proved so fast, efficient and stable that it replaced all previous systems and was quickly installed at almost 100 working positions in Germany's 17 international airports.

Mobility: Google's Android runs on Linux

Android OS is perhaps the biggest success story of Linux in the embedded space. According to androidtapp.com, there are around 60,000 Android based phones being sold every day. There's an estimated 250,000 applications available for Android phones, and this will obviously grow. The huge success of Android can be solely attributed to the fact that it's open source, allowing communities across the world to develop on it. That's why, Android is running on a wide variety of mobile devices today-smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and even Google TV.

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