Solihull Council Marks A Decade With Red Hat Open Source Technology, Saving Over £1 Million

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January 14, 2013

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has seen ongoing, tangible benefits including cost savings – approximately £94,000 a year, more than £1 million since 1999 – and valuable support from Red Hat.

Customer: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

“We have been using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for over 10 years and we have always been pleased with the technology and service that we receive. Red Hat’s strong dedication adds tremendous value to the way we work and assures us that we always have the support we need.” Steve Halliday, Head of IT

Industry: Government
Geography: EMEA
Country: United Kingdom

Business Challenge:

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council first started working with Red Hat in 1999 and has been a Red Hat customer ever since. The Council has successfully used enterprise-class open source technology as a critical part of its estate for over 10 years. Throughout this period, Red Hat Enterprise Linux has served as a solid platform for many critical business applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which includes Finance, Procurement, Human Resource Management (HRM), payroll, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and training management for the council.


Red Hat ® Enterprise Linux® 5 and 6, Red Hat Training


Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has seen ongoing, tangible benefits including cost savings – approximately £94,000 a year, more than £1 million since 1999 – and valuable support from Red Hat.


About Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council provides a full range of council services to 89,000 house-holds across the town of Solihull, England—including health and social care, government social benefits payments, transportation, streets and parking, education, environmental health, refuse and recycling and housing. They work with a number of partners to offer services and ensure investment in the Borough. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council plays a significant part in ensuring the economic vitality of the borough and the region, for example through the support they provide to new and existing businesses.

Business Challenge:

The vision to provide personalised services with a more sophisticated approach was the catalyst for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s decision to implement Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 5. Established for the benefit of the public, the council has a duty to meet increasing expectations for services, while at the same time avoiding unnecessary expenses in order to remain economical. This, coupled with the need to upgrade regular processes like payroll and finance to increase internal efficiency, made a strong case for an open source solution.

Before implementing Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council used a range of different proprietary solutions. As part of annual procurement processes, the council considers competitors when upgrading its open source systems. However, it has always come back to Red Hat due to its open, reliable, comprehensive and cost-effective solutions.

As an Oracle E-Business Suite user, the council has considered other UNIX solutions as alternative options. However, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 upgrade was selected as a credible and more cost-effective solution.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has worked with Red Hat for over 10 years, and was one of the first of 400 local councils to implement an open source solution.


Ongoing success

Red Hat Enterprise Linux has provided smooth software and hardware implementations and upgrades and has been the solution of choice for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council because of its efficiency and longevity.

“Because Red Hat Enterprise Linux is developed using an open source model and is based on industry standards, we’ve been able to choose from a wide variety of systems based on the Intel x86 architecture, which we can’t do with other operating systems. This was a huge benefit to us when we decided to move from Dell to HP servers,” said Steve Halliday, Head of IT, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

The council recognised 13 years ago that there were potentially significant cost savings to be made by considering open source. The upgrade to Oracle E-Business Suite has allowed Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to personalise its services and provide a single view of the local residents they deal with on a daily basis. This provides better waste management, built environment, social care, housing and school admission services. Due to the flexibility of open source, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has also been able to freely and easily migrate to different hardware suppliers without being locked down to just one. In the last decade, using Red Hat Enterprise Linux Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has saved approximately £94,000 a year compared to alternative proprietary options.
In addition to providing an efficient solution, Red Hat has provided the council’s engineers with regular and up-to-date open source training. The council has 4 Red Hat Certified Engineers (RHCEs) with skills that help with in-house maintenance. The council’s certified experts maintain a current standard of certification that follows Red Hat’s own development path.

“We’ve found the training to be both extensive and cost-effective and we’ve been pleased with the level of open source community collaboration and support Red Hat has provided us over the years,” said Halliday.


The future

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has found a support network in Red Hat that keeps its engineers up-to-date on the latest open source developments, offers regular IT support and enables substantial cost savings. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council plans to maintain this relationship, as not only does it provide efficient service, but Red Hat understands and caters to the needs of the public sector when it comes to open source solutions. The council is also considering an implementation of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in the future.

The Council is committed to an open source strategy. As well as providing ERP solutions from Red Hat, the council is currently re-developing customer websites and collaboratively working with open source products. “Ten years of success with Red Hat gives us the confidence to move forward with this strategy,” said Halliday.

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