Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 with Virtualization Delivers Increased Performance to Dutch City Council

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June 24, 2009

Customer: Gemeente Rotterdam

Geography: EMEA
Country: Netherlands

Migration Path:

Windows and Unix with small amounts of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, including virtualization and clustering


Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 with virtualization, Red Hat Global File System, Red Hat Satellite Server, Red Hat Consulting, Basis Registratie Systeem (BRS)


6 Dell 1750, 1850, 1950, and 2950 servers


Run more applications with less hardware, enable cost- and space-savings, provide scalability, offer capacity to support future growth and deliver disaster-recovery capabilities


The City of Rotterdam, known for its famous harbour and large city council, is located in the Netherlands and boasts over 600,000 inhabitants. The Maas river is at the heart of the City of Rotterdamand#x2019;s economical development and is responsible for the shipment and handling of over 350 million tons of goods per year. Rotterdamand#x2019;s City Council operates a number of autonomous services, including Dienst Stedenbouw en Volkshuisvesting (DS+V), an organization responsible for town planning, housing, and traffic in the city. The City Council employs nearly 16,000 civil servants, with about 1,000 of these workers making up the DS+V division. DS+Vand#x2019;s IT systems are managed by the Information, Policy, and Procurement department, which includes an IT management team that is responsible for handling the entire IT environment, including the proprietary, UNIX, and Linux systems.

Business Challenge:

The DS+V IT management team first implemented Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 in 2004 for a small number of specific Linux applications, but was primarily running its applications on a Microsoft and UNIX platform. In total, 40 Dell and HP Servers were running its Microsoft, UNIX, and Linux applications, 10 of which were Linux-based.

As the IT team began developing a new administration and registration application, called Basic Registration System (BRS), for Rotterdam’s real estate activities, the department initiated an evaluation of the existing platform that included the assessment of various alternatives, including Linux. The IT team was looking for a cost-effective solution and a future-proof platform for its heterogeneous IT environment.


During its assessment of alternative IT solutions, the City Council of Rotterdam’s DS+V IT team ran a pilot during the summer of 2007 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, specifically using the solution’s virtualization capabilities. The pilot aimed to assess the benefits of virtualization for the organization. The IT team compared Red Hat and VMware’s virtualization solutions and discovered that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5’s virtualization capabilities best fit its requirements and was the most cost-effective choice in terms of licensing costs.

After a successful pilot, the IT team migrated its servers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and began using the solution’s virtualization capabilities running 10 virtual machines on its 6 Dell servers. Key drivers that led the team to move to a virtual environment included the benefits of less hardware, greater independence in software, the ability to support future growth, and space and cost-savings.

The DS+V department of the City Council of Rotterdam additionally runs Red Hat Global File System (GFS) for storage virtualization. The clustering capabilities of the solution equip the IT team with the ability to eliminate the impact of the fallout of physical servers. It also allows the organisation to optimize installation and patching of applications, improve the efficiencies of SAN resources, and simplify back-up and disaster-recovery systems.

The department’s IT team also selected Red Hat Satellite Server to optimize the management and deployment of both physical and virtual machines in its network. Satellite Server enables the IT team to download and distribute patches and fixes to exiting applications, and advance the user and license-management capabilities in comparison to its previous solution.


Red Hat solutions have delivered heightened performance and availability for the City Council of Rotterdam’s DS+V IT team’s IT infrastructure. “Performance levels are excellent and the availability is 100 percent because the machines are no longer dependent on the uptime of the hardware,” said Hennie Stam, Senior System Administrator, DS+V Division at City of Rotterdam.

The IT group has seen cost savings since migrating to Red Hat solutions. The new setup requires less hardware, which has decreased the size of the server farm and the space required for the servers. “With our previous solution, the high number of physical servers would soon force us to look for additional space to accommodate the new servers, putting more pressure on our budget,” said Stam. “Additionally, the DS+V has managed to save on energy costs by decreasing the number of physical servers since migrating to Red Hat solutions.”

By choosing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 with virtualization capabilities, the DS+V, as part of the City Council of Rotterdam, has succeeded in saving on licensing costs. The Linux environment has given the IT team more flexibility in terms of testing and deploying new applications, and adding users to the network. “One of the key benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and its virtualization capabilities is that we can install and roll out a new application in 60 minutes to all of our systems, compared to four hours per system previously,” said Stam.

“We were dedicated to successfully and rapidly roll out Linux and virtualization across the organization. Therefore, we chose direct support from Red Hat during the implementation phase by hiring a Red Hat consultant to guide us through the whole process to educate the IT managers that are responsible for our Linux environment,” said Stam. “We are satisfied with Red Hat’s support and responsiveness to our specific needs. The process was smooth and gave us a reliable platform to build up our Linux infrastructure to its current state.”

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