Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Dell PowerEdge Rack Servers
r910 and r810
Intel Pentium Xeon 4-based
Solaris to Red Hat? Enterprise
Fedora to Red Hat Enterprise
“Everything is for the students. Red Hat
Enterprise Linux allows us to sustain
the performance and high level of
service that we currently provide to our
LEaD UNIX TEaM
IT DEPaRTMENT aT THE UNIvERSITy oF okLaHoMa
The University of oklahoma (oU) was operating largely on a Solaris environment prior to 2007.
When concerns about cost and vendor lock-in forced a move to commodity hardware, oU
selected Red Hat? Enterprise Linux? for all campus computing needs, from the website to the
oracle PeopleSoft system. on another part of campus, at the Supercomputing Center, Red Hat
Enterprise Linux had long been the foundation for high-performance computing clusters due to
its stability and large ecosystem.
Customer Case study
red Hat enterpriSe Linux ServeS
aS foundation for tHe univerSity
of okLaHoMa’S caMpuS coMputing
2redhat.com Customer Case study Red Hat Enterprise Linux Serves as Foundation for the University of Oklahoma’s
needed a ScaLabLe, reLiabLe, and HigH-perforMing operating
SySteM robuSt enougH for a broad range of univerSity uSe
The University of oklahoma (oU) is a major research and degree-granting academic institu-
tion with three campuses that are home to more than 30,000 students. Prior to 2007, oU
was running everything from its main campus website to its PeopleSoft infrastructure on
Solaris. The hardware consisted of more than a dozen SPaRC-based Sun Enterprise v880
servers, as well as 34 smaller Sun Enterprise 420 and 440 servers.
But this IT infrastructure was unsustainable in the long term.
“We began searching for an alternative to Solaris, primarily to get away from being locked
into the proprietary hardware, but also because of the Sun licensing and support costs,
which were very high,” said Elliott Robertson, an IT analyst on the UNIX team within
the oU IT department. “and we expected the biggest challenge of migrating away from
Solaris to be the refresh of the oracle PeopleSoft system onto commodity hardware with
a new operating system. We needed a highly scalable and reliable operating system that
could run on low-cost commodity hardware and was certified to run PeopleSoft. Red Hat
Enterprise Linux fit all the requirements.”
at the same time, oU was about to implement a new student system: the Sungard Higher
Education’s Banner system.
“We decided to merge the two projects when we determined that Red Hat was the best
choice for both the PeopleSoft and the Banner deployments,” said gayathri Swaminathan,
an IT analyst with the oU IT UNIX team.
on another part of campus, a different scenario had been taking shape since 2002. The
oU Supercomputing Center for Education & Research (oSCER) was founded in 2001 to help
students and staff learn and use advanced computing in their science and engineering
research and education.
oSCER deployed its first cluster in May 2002. “This was one of the first Pentium 4 Xeon
supercomputing clusters out there, and the beginning of commodity hardware being used
in rack form,” said Dr. Henry Neeman, oSCER’s founding director. The original cluster had
8 storage nodes connected to a shared network file system (NFS) space that supported all
the client computing nodes. The operating system was the then-community version of Red
Hat Enterprise Linux, comparable to today’s Fedora operating system.
But Fedora, the community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, wasn’t working as well
for oSCER as was required. “We needed the advantages that came from commercial-class
support, which translated into the all the patches that went into the R