Roads authority exchanges for Sun and Mozilla

The New South Wales (NSW) state Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) will migrate 1,500 users across 120 offices from Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange to Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Java Enterprise System messaging and calendar servers for e-mail and calendaring.

As part of the contract, the RTA will also deploy Sun’s StarOffice productivity suite for word processing, spreadsheets and presentation development; the open source Mozilla browser will be used for accessing e-mail and calendar information.

NSW Minister for Commerce, John Della Bosca — who is responsible for ICT policy in the state — said the contract between the RTA and Sun Microsystems was signed earlier this week.

“This is part of a A$1.5 million (US$1.1 million) project that will see new open source software deployed across 1,500 desktops within the RTA,” Della Bosca said.

The RTA had been using and developing open source products as components to various corporate systems for some years, Della Bosca said.

“The RTA is already using Apache Web server for publishing, registration and licensing information for motor registry staff,” he said. “To meet current and future needs for desktop computing facilities the RTA has continued to explore alternative, open standards-based software and systems.”

CIO Greg Carvouni said the RTA wanted to move to an open standards-based system on the desktop to cut its “escalating software and maintenance costs”.

“Sun’s standards-based, back-end infrastructure is the critical first step in moving the RTA to open source alternatives across the enterprise,” Carvouni said.

“The RTA expects to reduce desktop and server costs by at least 20 per cent with the migration to Sun’s open source-based Sun Java (Enterprise) System messaging server and StarOffice, the productivity suite based on open source initiatives. Savings of up to A$2 million per annum could be realized when the implementation of this technology is extended to connect up to half of the RTA’s 7,000 desktops in the next few years.”

The RTA will also deploy 12 Sun servers including some of the company’s latest mid-market offerings that run Linux on Opteron and Intel processors.

Sun Microsystems’ Australia and New Zealand managing director Jim Hassell described the contract as a “landmark decision for Australian government”.

“The RTA will join other world leaders that have successfully cut the cost and complexity of their IT using open standards-based solutions,” Hassell said.

“This project at the RTA sends a clear message to the whole industry that it is possible to move to open desktop systems. The RTA should be congratulated for its focus and vision in driving this initiative to a successful outcome on behalf of the NSW government.”

Hassell said by moving to Sun Java System software and StarOffice, the RTA is free to choose from a vast range of software alternatives moving forward and will be immune to many of the virus and security breaches that afflict Microsoft products.

A portal server, directory server, and identity management server will also be deployed. According to Sun, the RTA solution is designed to scale out to many thousands of users and can support enterprise-wide portal, directory and identity services.

“The RTA is currently reviewing desktop technology including SunRay thin-client desktop appliances and the Java Desktop System as an alternative to PC hardware in a drive to cut the total cost of ownership on the desktop,” a statement from Sun read.

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