State of Tennessee Migrates Middleware Environment to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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June 17, 2010

Customer: State of Tennessee: Office for Information Resources (OIR)

Geography: North America
Country: United States

Business Challenge:

Implement a cost-effective, flexible middleware software, JBoss Enterprise Middleware, resulting in lower costs, increased performance and scaling for growth

Migration Path:

Proprietary middleware software to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform


Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat Consulting,


Substantial savings on hardware and licensing costs for all new deployments, increased and impressive performance, stability and reliability, higher availability, and excellent support


The State of Tennesseeand#x2019;s OIR provides direction, planning, resources, execution and coordination in managing the information systems needs of the State of Tennessee. OIR is a division within the Department of Finance andamp; Administration (Fandamp;A), guided by Mr. Mark Bengel, Chief Information Officer. OIRand#x2019;s clients primarily consist of State agencies, departments and commissions. OIR serves as staff to the Information Systems Council (ISC), and under the ISCand#x2019;s guidance, provides technical direction, services, and infrastructure to the State of Tennessee.

Business Challenge:

The State of Tennessee used proprietary middleware software for its middleware environment, but found the licensing terms of the software to be inflexible, inhibiting its ability to add new functionality to its existing systems, develop new ones, and scale to meet market demands.

Additionally, the proprietary system was expensive. “We were spending a lot of money supporting these solutions, and in order to scale for our growth, we knew we needed to find a cheaper alternative, without compromising quality and performance,” said James Elkins, team lead for middleware, business intelligence and testing, OIR, State of Tennessee.


Though the State’s experience with open source middleware solutions was limited, it decided to migrate to the more cost-effective and flexible platform offered by open source solutions in a virtualized environment.

The State of Tennessee, a long time Red Hat customer for its use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, completed an environmental assessment of the various application servers available to meet the state’s growing middleware infrastructure. The OIR based the evaluation on a number of factors including cost to acquire and maintain, functionality in a virtual environment, and the application server’s ability to scale for expected and future growth.

OIR evaluated a number of middleware solutions that could offer reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), expanded flexibility, and unmatched scalability. They required a J2EE-compliant Application Server that would integrate seamlessly with its standard operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which offered support and would enable OIR to meet the growing technology demands of the state.

Ultimately, OIR selected JBoss Enterprise Application Platform in a virtualized environment and is also planning to utilize JBoss Operations Network (JON) for monitoring activities.

The solution ecosystem consists of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform. The overall solution includes more than 60 servers used for the custom applications that serve the state agencies.

Although the OIR team had no previous experience with JBoss solutions, after attending a Red Hat Training class for JBoss, combined with existing Java programming experience, the team found JBoss to be easy-to-use, manage and deploy. The OIR plans to send additional staff members to Red Hat Training for JBoss in the near future.

“The JBoss Training class was delivered using comprehensive use-case scenarios and featured hands-on labs, which provided the skills and knowledge necessary to handle our organization’s JBoss workloads,” said Elkins. “After completing the JBoss Training class, I felt prepared and equipped to maximize our use of JBoss solutions and better understand, maintain and troubleshoot our middleware environment.”

The migration involved no integration with the incumbent platform and was a full-system port. The OIR staff implemented the product, but utilized Red Hat Consulting to fine-tune the application servers for performance.

Overall OIR has engaged Red Hat Consulting on two separate occasions and has found the experiences to be extremely useful; as they were provided with the skills and tools to fully manage and fine-tune the applications on their own.

“As we migrate more and more of the state agencies’ custom applications to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, the provisioning and deployment time has been reduced from six months to a matter of days. JBoss has allowed us to do more with less, increase our reliability, and allowed us to increase the service we provide to our citizens,” said Tricia Kitchens, director of enterprise services, OIR, State of Tennessee.


The State of Tennessee OIR selected JBoss solutions for the offering of reduced TCO, increased performance, flexibility, and availability of resources with familiarity in the market. One of the distinct advantages of the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform is that it enables ease-of- use for development. The solution integrates easily with each of the custom applications that support the state agencies.

“We’re very impressed with JBoss and its support of mission-critical state-wide applications,” said Kitchens. “We are very satisfied with the results and with JBoss’ support.”

The platform has enabled significant efficiency as the OIR team is now able to manage and monitor the performance of applications. The time required for start up with the new JBoss-based system has been reduced considerably. Now, with JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, OIR can quickly and easily add new servers to its architecture. The new architecture has allowed OIR to buy, deploy, and re-deploy additional servers at competitive prices.

In addition to reduced TCO amounting to savings, OIR also achieved enhanced performance from its newly implemented JBoss platform.

“It’s now easier to scale a number of CPUs up and down in the current model, and the system really brings us a lot of value, especially in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. We have saved a significant amount of budget in terms of licensing and hardware costs on TCO,” said Kitchens.

In addition to all of the valuable benefits delivered by JBoss solutions, OIR also found that many of its development staff perceived the use of JBoss and open source solutions in general as positive. “If we had to make the same decision all over again, we would have done the same exact thing,” said Elkins. “We trust Red Hat’s solutions, and it has always met our challenges.”

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