TNT Express Adopts Red Hat Enterprise Linux as its Strategic Platform for the Future

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March 26, 2012

To standardise mission-critical applications as well as provide simple and cost-efficient customisation and deployment of its customer-facing applications in individual markets, TNT Express partnered with Red Hat to provide a robust and secure platform.

Customer: TNT Express

“One of the main benefits of implementing Red Hat Enterprise Linux is that it provides a standard platform for all of our operating applications.” -- John Creighton, common systems infrastructure services manager, TNT Express

Industry: Transportation
Geography: EMEA
Country: Netherlands


Business Challenge:

To standardise mission-critical applications as well as provide simple and cost-efficient customisation and deployment of its customer-facing applications in individual markets, TNT Express partnered with Red Hat to provide a robust and secure platform.

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Hardware:

HP x86

Benefits:

With Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®, TNT Express standardised and accelerated the global deployment of applications while reducing operating costs.

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Background:

Until January 2011, TNT Express was a division of TNT, a European market leader in global express, logistics, and international mail services. As of January 2011, the internal legal and organisational separation between the two companies was completed, with the de-merger taking effect May 2011. TNT Express transports goods and documents around the world with a focus on time-certain and day-certain delivery. TNT Express strives to deliver the business of its customers at the right time and at the right place. TNT Express is among the leading express delivery players in Europe, and its global coverage extends to more than 200 countries with company-owned activities in 62 countries. TNT Express customers range from small and medium enterprises to major customers and high-volume shippers. The company builds strong relationships with its customers through regular personal contact and visits, as well as a wide range of communications media. The main sectors it serves include high-tech, automotive, industrial, healthcare, and lifestyle (fashion).

Business Challenge:

TNT Express is a European market leader in global express, logistics, and international mail services. In addition to ensuring service reliability, TNT Express’ operational networks are supported by sophisticated technology that provides real-time, online information regarding the status of customers’ consignments. Therefore, it is crucial for the company to have a reliable, high-performance platform to support its mission-critical applications.

As part of an overall business re-engineering project, TNT Express was looking for a strategic operating system of choice. One of the goals of this project was to re-develop all operations and systems and deploy a common infrastructure stack that would run on a single operating system.

As a company with global operations, it was important for TNT Express to select a consistent platform that would allow easy standardisation of applications around the world, as well as simple and cost-efficient customisation and re-deployment of applications in individual markets.

TNT Express had been using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for various deployments throughout its datacenter for six years. When it came time to evaluate a standard platform for its entire IT deployment, the company compared the Red Hat platform with other operating systems running on x86 hardware, such as Microsoft Windows, HP-UX, and SUSE Linux Enterprise.

Solution:

TNT Express ultimately selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux as its preferred operating system, supporting mission-critical applications across the entire infrastructure. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is certified with solutions already used by TNT Express (such as WebSphere Application Server and Oracle databases), which made integration with the existing system very easy. The standardisation project began in 2005 and is expected to be completed by 2013. The organization is redeploying its systems in groups, over time, due to the sheer scale of the global implementation.

“One of the important factors in favour of adopting Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the open source software business model and Red Hat’s very pragmatic approach to subscriptions,” said Mark Wilding, UNIX and Linux systems manager at TNT Express. “Many of Red Hat’s competitors tend to discontinue the support for older releases, effectively forcing customers to move to a newer version of their software. This is certainly not the case with Red Hat, where the lifecycle of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases offers updates and support for major platform releases for seven years, with an optional extension to 10 years.”

Benefits:

Because of the common infrastructure stack running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, TNT Express is now able to re-deploy the same applications across the enterprise, leading to benefits such as faster customisation and fine-tuning of applications, which results in less administrative work and greater efficiency of the IT department.

“One of the main benefits of implementing Red Hat Enterprise Linux is that it provides a standard platform for all of our operating applications. Therefore, any particular change to an application can be made once and then replicated throughout the enterprise, resulting in significant economies of scale when it comes to global IT development and maintenance,” said John Creighton, common systems infrastructure services manager at TNT Express. “For example, we often need to localise applications to several languages, which has proven cumbersome and time-consuming with the old platform. After the standardisation, we are able to deploy local applications quickly and respond to individual markets and local customer requests in a very flexible way.”

TNT Express particularly valued the 24/7 enterprise support and the usability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, combined with great performance, general robustness of the Linux platform, and superior security of security-enhanced Linux (SELinux) incorporated in the Linux kernel.

“Due to simplified upgrades, patches, and reduced administrative work, our whole IT organisation has become more efficient, while maintenance work has become more streamlined,” said Creighton. “As a result, lower operating costs, as well as the lower cost of providing applications to customers, will make us more price-competitive in the future.”

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux is our strategic operating system of choice. Every new piece of software must be compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so it has become a major consideration when selecting new solutions,” said Creighton. “The system is very easy to use and offers high performance for our critical workloads.”

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