Cox Enterprises migrates its critical PeopleSoft software from Sun Solaris to Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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July 12, 2011

Customer: Cox Enterprises

Geography: North America
Country: United States

Business Challenge:

To increase performance and flexibility for growth, while creating savings around software support and maintaining reliability and availability

Migration Path:

Sun Solaris and Oracle-based PeopleSoft to Red Hat Enterprise Linux


Red Hat Enterprise Linux, PeopleSoft


Hewlett Packard (HP) DL380 G5


Realized significant cost savings; Increased flexibility, performance, and infrastructure homogeneity; Experienced an ease of migration and improved, more efficient support “From engineers to application developers to customers to management, we’ve had nothing but positive migration reviews.” – Dane Bamburry, Senior Enterprise Architect, for Cox Enterprises


Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media, and automotive services company. Headquartered in Atlanta, Cox Enterprises has more than 66,000 employees and its revenues are nearly $15 billion. Cox businesses include Cox Communications, the third-largest cable TV provider, Manheim, the world’s leading provider of vehicle remarketing services, Cox Media Group, an integrated broadcasting, publishing, and digital media company, and AutoTrader. com, the Internet’s largest auto classified marketplace and consumer information website.

Business Challenge:

Cox Enterprises’ PeopleSoft application, which maintained its tier-one human resources and financial environments, had been an Oracle-based solution for 10 years. While Cox Enterprises realized the potential financial gains from migrating PeopleSoft from Sun Solaris to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, it needed the migration to work seamlessly. “We also needed the new platform to deliver the type of reliability, availability, performance, and support to which we had become accustomed,” said Dean Abercrombie, Cox Enterprises’ UNIX and storage systems group manager. “The PeopleSoft application is directly available to employees across the country, in different time zones, who look at information about their pay, their benefits, a range of things, at any time of the day. We needed the migration to be as transparent to our own users as possible.” Cox Enterprises was also running these systems on the Sun Solaris operating platform, which proved costly. “While Solaris machines perform well, they’re big, bulky machines,” said Dane Bamburry, senior enterprise architect for Cox Enterprises. “We needed to drastically reduce the amount of money we were paying for power consumption and RAC space utilization;, and we quickly realized that Red Hat solutions were the way to do so."


After migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Cox Enterprises achieved expanded performance, reduced costs, and increased flexibility for its critical architecture. “From engineers to application developers to customers to management, we’ve had nothing but positive migration reviews,” said Bamburry. “The actual migration only took about 24 hours total, which we completed over the course of one week. Once we switched over on Monday morning, everything was just business-as-usual. For such a huge project, to have a ‘go-live’ go as smooth as possible is not normal to say the least.” “Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been running live with no downtime since the migration in March of 2010,” said Abercrombie. “And we’re impressed with performance and we’re able to easily support it.” Cox Enterprises’ CIS team is also reporting substantial performance gains. “Performance has improved so much that we’ve delayed our performance tuning project at least another year,” said Bamburry. “Processes that used to take 11 hours are now taking between two and three hours, which reduces the pressure on the system from running at high capacities.” The performance gains Cox Enterprises has achieved with Red Hat Enterprise Linux are also freeing up developer time for more innovative projects. “One of our process guys is completely floored with Red Hat Enterprise Linux,” said Bamburry. “He said to me recently, ‘I had to check it again because I couldn’t believe the jobs were finished so quickly. The return on time alone is immense.’”

The return on investment with Red Hat Enterprise Linux is also proving significant. “Based on our analysis prior to migration, we were able to set several expected benefits, including a significant savings in hardware and software support,” said Abercrombie. “And our analysis was correct as supporting the commodity hardware that Linux runs on is much more affordable than the support that we needed to maintain proprietary hardware. The savings in support, both internally and externally, associated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux is significant for us.”

Prior to adopting Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Cox Enterprises ensured that it was well-prepared to support the solution internally. “We sent three engineers to two Red Hat Training courses last year, and they are continuing to build on that training this year,” said Abercrombie. “Their support of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which, in our terms, is bulletproof, has been really great and we have not seen a significant increase in the need for internal support. This is a nice shift from our Solaris solution, which required a severe time requirement for internal support.” “And when we’ve needed to go to Red Hat Global Support Services, we’ve always had positive experiences,” said Abercrombie. “They are extremely supportive and responsive,” said Bamburry. “And even after we determine that Red Hat isn’t the vendor causing the issue, they hang on, they follow-up, and they offer any assistance necessary to help us resolve the issue at hand. With Red Hat, you don’t get the typical, ‘Well, it’s not us. It’s them.’ response.” The flexibility and scalability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux has also proved beneficial. “We are experiencing incremental growth as we do more business and we do better business, which results in a need for growth capacity in our infrastructure,” said Abercrombie. “With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, we are well-positioned for that growth and, unlike with our previous platform, will be able to handle it.”

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