New India Assurance Builds a Cost-Effective, Scalable, and Secure Infrastructure based on Red Hat Solutions

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March 19, 2010

Customer: The New India Assurance Company Ltd.

Industry: Insurance
Geography: APAC
Country: India


Business Challenge:

To reduce dependency on proprietary systems, and create a scalable, cost-effective, reliable, and secure IT infrastructure for deployment across thousands of locations

Migration Path:

SCO UNIX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform

Solution:

Migrated business-critical insurance, payroll, and overall IT infrastructure from UNIX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform and utilized Red Hat Consulting and Red Hat Training to ensure a smooth transition to the new company-standard system

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, including clustering and file system technologies, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop, Red Hat Directory Server

Hardware:

Intel Xeon Quad Core processor-based servers including; IBM System x346, HP Proliant DL580

Benefits:

Increased hardware and application vendor flexibility by eliminating proprietary lock-in and increased ability to scale with low total cost of ownership (TCO) across distributed offices

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Background:

New India Assurance (NIA), the largest general insurance company in India, is the first fully Indian-owned insurance company in India and insured the first domestic airline in 1946. It continues to set the benchmark for other insurance companies. andnbsp;

Business Challenge:

For a company that has more than 150 products and operates from more than one thousand offices, the ability to scale quickly is crucial and the underlying IT infrastructure has to match the speed and scale of execution.
 
In 2000, NIA started evaluating its IT infrastructure and realized that its dependence on the proprietary system SCO UNIX, which the company used for running all of its servers, reduced its ability to compete in the market. When SCO UNIX stopped offering support for its operating system, NIA quickly swung into action as it realized this challenge was an opportunity. NIA’s trusted advisor Dr. D B Phatak, a noted academician at IIT who was recently named one of India’s 50 most powerful people by BusinessWeek, strongly encouraged the team to consider open source solutions.
 

Solution:

After careful evaluation, NIA selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. NIA recognized that Red Hat had a scalable platform that would provide the company with a solution for the present and for the future. Red Hat’s advanced solutions, well-established support infrastructure, robust hardware and software ecosystem, customer-centric subscription business model, and open source base also aided in its selection.
 
NIA initially deployed a corporate mailing server using Red Hat Enterprise Linux and this small, successful deployment boosted NIA’s confidence in Red Hat and set in motion a series of initiatives built solely on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

A major initiative that was crucial to NIA was its decision to migrate a critical insurance application from UNIX and Oracle 8.0.4 to Oracle 9i on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. The support from Red Hat Consulting, coupled with the stability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, ensured that the migration of production servers had little impact on the business, and the results were impressive.
 
NIA’s core team, comprising 150 insurance employees, was given system administrator training by Red Hat Training. This opportunity was beneficial to the team members as they were able to troubleshoot and increase their efficiencies using the new operating platform. If they have any questions, they have direct access to a Red Hat Technical Account Manager (TAM). The Red Hat Consulting team has also been instrumental in providing support and consulting for further adoption of Red Hat solutions at NIA.
 
While NIA’s UNIX environment was drastically limiting the company’s growth and increasing costs for NIA, its Red Hat Enterprise Linux implementation led to significant cost savings.

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a very stable, robust, and secure platform, and the performance has exceeded our expectations,” said Asha Nair, general manager, NIA. “We have not seen any of the security issues traditionally associated with some operating systems. With Red Hat, we get software upgrades, a rich ecosystem, and proactive support included as part of the subscription.”

Red Hat implemented an LDAP solution and an anti-virus solution in mail. The LDAP solution is based on Red Hat Directory Server, which centralizes application settings, user profiles, group data, policies, and access control information into a network-based registry. Over 6,000 users are currently authenticated using this solution.
 
Red Hat clustering and file systems, which are included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, ensure high availability and scalability. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform powers all of NIA’s servers and is the company’s standard. The applications based on the Red Hat servers include several applications, such as payroll and a corporate messaging solution.
 

Benefits:

“We are thrilled with the flexibility and scalability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, as it allows us to finally match our IT infrastructure with our dynamic business growth,” said Nair. The speed and stability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux has exceeded NIA’s expectations. “Within a span of just three months, we successfully migrated more than one thousand servers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux,” said Nair.
 
Red Hat solutions give NIA the capability to upgrade its IT infrastructure quickly and in line with the unique needs of the business. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the IT team was able to scale the corporate mail messaging system from 600 to more than two thousand users without any additional hardware investments.
 
NIA is currently deploying a core insurance application at a speed of 50 offices per week. Today, with no concerns over security and no performance issues, Nair’s team can spend more time creating innovative applications that further drive the business.
 
 

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