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APG Improves Cost and Flexibility by Switching to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
January 7, 2014
APG, one of the world’s largest administrators of collective pension funds, made the decision to completely migrate its infrastructure from AIX to Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®.
“In addition to allowing us to cancel costly licences, Red Hat Enterprise Linux also runs on less expensive hardware. We calculated that the cost of running AIX is therefore three times higher than that of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.” - Maurice Pijpers, senior specialist, APG
Having traditionally relied on an AIX infrastructure, APG decided to completely phase out its UNIX-based operating system from IBM and replace it with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
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As technology is crucial for the successful delivery and implementation of mission critical processes in APG, services such as the Red Hat Satellite and Red Hat Directory Server help APG ensure that a good and affordable collective pension remains for present and future generations.
APG, part of APG Group, is one of the world’s largest administrators of collective pension funds and manages 30% of all collective pensions in the Netherlands. Headquartered in Heerlen, the Netherlands, APG also has offices in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Brussels, New York, and Hong Kong. With approximately 4,000 employees, the company manages pension assets totalling about €334 billion (as of July 2013) from a pool of over 4.5 million people.
Defining the problem
APG, one of the world’s largest administrators of collective pension funds, strongly believes in long-term investments and is reliant on a watertight technical infrastructure. Automation plays a major role in managing its on-going accounts, which see pensions paid to one million individuals and personal statements distributed to 1.2 million people each month. For a maximum return on investment and a solid understanding of investment risks, APG is dependent on an IT infrastructure with high uptime, flexibility, and performance, maintained by its in-house IT professionals.
Finding a solution: Ensuring continuity and security with Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Having traditionally relied on an AIX infrastructure, APG decided to completely phase out its UNIX-based operating system from IBM and replace it with Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®. This would secure continuity for the applications already in use and a fast deployment of new innovations and security patches.
“When choosing the solution to migrate to, our goal was to avoid vendor lock-in and maintain high levels of quality and flexibility at a better price,” said Maurice Pijpers, senior specialist at APG. “The other product we considered, Oracle Linux (formerly Oracle Enterprise Linux) was rejected because of the lock-in associated with it. We wanted an organisation-wide platform that is able to run everything, including the Tibco and Murex solutions we currently use. These applications have been certified on Linux, but not on Oracle Linux. The demand for continuity, combined with cost savings, could only be met by Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”
MX.3 from Murex is a core application for APG, as it supports the company’s stock trading, asset management, and risk management. It has been set up using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux High Availability Add-On to ensure reliability by avoiding downtime, for example in case of a disaster. 20 physical Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers will eventually be deployed for Murex.
“We also see the market reacting faster to Linux and there are more alternatives,” said Pijpers. “So new versions of products are now first created on Linux. AIX versions follow with a delay, if they do at all. Therefore, having a Linux environment means that if we ever run into a problem, it will be resolved more quickly.”
How Red Hat helped: Increasing differentiation opportunities and staff efficiency while reducing costs
Migrating to Red Hat also means that APG will be able to benefit from JavaTM-based applications for the pension systems. Red Hat actively supports Java and has a pioneering role in the development and support of OpenJDK 6, the open source implementation of Java 6. This is particularly important as Java is preferred by developers, and a large number of applications in the pension system are written in the language. Being able to use these applications gives APG a competitive advantage against other players in the area.
According to Pijpers, cost also played a major role in the evaluation process. “In addition to allowing us to cancel costly licences, Red Hat Enterprise Linux also runs on less expensive hardware,” he said. “We calculated that the cost of running AIX is therefore three times higher than that of running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”
The management possibilities have also improved for APG. “Because Red Hat Enterprise Linux has a very structured design, less time is spent on administration,” said Pijpers.
This trend is expected to continue as additional tools such as Red Hat Satellite, a multi-client systems management solution for managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers, and Red Hat Directory Server, an LDAP-compliant server used for user authentication, are deployed to further improve management. By improving efficiency, less time is spent on management, allowing this capacity to be transferred toward the increased internal demand for additions to the pension system.
A future-proof deployment with Red Hat Support and Services
“The level of support provided was a major reason for us to choose Red Hat. Services such as Red Hat Satellite and Red Hat Directory Server made Red Hat the obvious choice,” added Pijpers.
In addition to implementing Red Hat training courses for IT staff, APG had a Red Hat Enterprise Linux Health Check performed to ensure their design and deployment matched Red Hat’s philosophy and methodology. Any questions that arose during the project were also addressed. “Even if we now run into problems, we know we can ask for assistance and will have a solution in no time,” Pijpers said.
“IT developments will continue, but we can rely on an agile infrastructure made possible by Red Hat Enterprise Linux,” Pijpers said.