NH Hotels Standardizes and Automates IT Systems with Red Hat

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January 21, 2011

Customer: NH Hotels

Industry: Transportation
Geography: EMEA
Country: Spain


Business Challenge:

To reduce operational and maintenance costs by standardizing and automating the server ecosystem to manage hotel operations across all sites

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Network Satellite, Red Hat Consulting

Hardware:

Heterogeneous hardware by different manufacturers

Benefits:

Standardization and homogenization of IT infrastructure for greater control over an entire server estate; Efficient management with greater flexibility and scalability; Reduction in support and maintenance costs; Simplification“ We are more than satisfied with the quality of solutions and services provided by Red Hat. The complex nature of this project suggested that the implementation would be complicated. However, thanks to the help and support of Red Hat, we were able to complete the project quickly and effectively.”– Julio Matarranz, Head of Corporate IT, NH Hotels

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Background:

NH Hotels (www.nh-hotels.com) is a major European hotel chain, based in Spain and registered on the Madrid Stock Exchange. The organisation has a total of 400 hotels with 59,847 rooms in 25 countries across Europe, North America, and Africa, in addition to 24 new hotel developments under construction, which will add 3,000 new rooms. NH Hotels relies on a distributed IT infrastructure across the different locations of the company. Each hotel has a local server that maintains all hotel operational applications, including those for reservations, financial systems, billing, printing, and email.

Business Challenge:

NH Hotels’ legacy IT platform had been constructed internally over many years, resulting in a heterogeneous system that was comprised of an array of server models from different manufacturers (HP, IBM, etc.), and co-existed on a platform alongside different operating systems (UNIX, AIX, CentOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, and older versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux). NH Hotels’ legacy system prevented the company from having total control of its platform and did not permit unified server management. And although the highly critical platform supported all applications governing hotel management, NH Hotels could not rely on software support due to a shortage of internal personnel trained on these systems. The extraordinary complexity of this platform required heightened allocation of resources for its maintenance.

The organization’s legacy, high-risk platform incurred high management costs and required a large investment of both time and resources for its maintenance. NH Hotels needed a solution that would allow it to homogenize the entire hotel server infrastructure, ensuring software maintenance and creating a platform that allowed joint, centralized administration and management at all terminals.

Solution:

After analyzing NH Hotels’ operations across the various environments, Red Hat carried out a full needs assessment of the existing infrastructure. Following this assessment, Red Hat proposed a unified, certified solution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux offered NH Hotels a complete solution, creating a reliable, scalable, and easily manageable platform.

In addition to incorporating Red Hat Enterprise Linux as its sole operating system, Red Hat provided NH Hotels with a full range of management and monitoring tools, including Red Hat Network Satellite and OpenLDAP. These tools enable NH Hotels to manage the whole lifecycle of the server, including automated installation of the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems, as well as maintenance of the operating systems, patching, security alerts, configuration, and change management. In short, it allows a higher density of servers per administrator.

While NH Hotels relied on a distributed infrastructure, it struggled to manage its heterogeneous hardware and software environment, resulting in slow and risky manual deployment processes and an IT infrastructure with limited flexibility and scalability. By unifying its systems on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, NH Hotels has witnessed instant process automation, has benefited from time and cost savings, and has eliminated risks due to human errors.

Red Hat Consulting was involved at all critical stages of the project, from the initial solution analysis and design to the final deployment. Red Hat Consulting provided real value to the project by offering training and certification to the internal NH Hotels’ personnel responsible for managing the solution.

Benefits:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides NH Hotels with a new, unified operating system platform that is both certified in accordance with industry standards and is hardware agnostic; Therefore, the company is not obliged to renew its current server footprint. However, NH Hotels has made these servers flexible, achieving centralized administration with Red Hat Network Satellite, which enables controlled distribution of software, patch management, and configuration changes to be deployed to all hotels on the network from a central point.

The new system allows the entire IT infrastructure to be updated–both the central office and at individual branches. NH Hotels now has greater control over its IT platform, with uniformity of installation in all hotels, as well as guaranteed systems security and efficiency.

Red Hat solutions have enabled NH Hotels to make significant savings in support and maintenance, achieve faster deployment of applications, and improve platform flexibility and scalability. The company has succeeded in simplifying and shortening its infrastructure management cycle, obtaining greater control over its distributed infrastructure and dedicating resources to more value-added tasks for its business.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Consulting have enabled NH Hotels to create a new system that monitors the state of its servers, a feature not included in the initial project. With this new platform, NH Hotels can now centrally assess the state of its servers (disk capacity, CPU use, memory, etc.), as well as identify problems, receive notifications, and monitor all network electronic processes, CPD servers, and printing. “Within the complex field of information technology, having a project fulfill all your initial expectations with high satisfaction is uncommon,” said Julio Matarranz, head of corporate IT, NH Hotels. “Because of Red Hat’s open source solutions, we can say that we have achieved all that we had hoped to achieve; we have even exceeded our own expectations. This project has made it possible to easily carry out future developments and improvements to our critical business platform, which were simply unthinkable before.”

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