Australian State Agency Switches to Suns StarOffice

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-08-18

Australian State Agency Switches to Suns StarOffice

Sun Microsystems on Wednesday announced another customer win away from Microsoft. This time, the state government of New South Wales, in Australia, will migrate 1,500 of its users in the Roads and Traffic Authority from Microsoft Outlook to Suns StarOffice productivity suite and Messaging products.

The move, which aims to increase security and reduce escalating software and maintenance costs, is expected to result in projected annual cost savings of 20 percent, or $1.5 million ($2 million AUS) a year.

Under the deal, Sun Microsystems Inc. will supply the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) with a new desktop solution based on the Sun Infrastructure Solution for Enterprise Messaging Consolidation and StarOffice Productivity Suite, which provides e-mail messaging, calendaring and task management, real-time collaboration and office productivity.

On the hardware side, the RTA will move to Suns x86 and SPARC server offerings, including the Sun Fire V20z, V440 and V240 servers.

As part of the initial contract, Sun will migrate 1,500 users across 120 offices within the RTAs Registry Environment. The next phases of deployment should connect as many as 3,000 users to the new system.

Plans also include leveraging a number of other Sun software products, including the Sun Java System Portal Server, Sun Java System Access Manager, Sun Java System Identity Manager and Sun Java System Directory Server Enterprise Edition to support enterprisewide portal, directory and identity-management capabilities.

Greg Carvouni, the RTAs chief information officer, said in a statement that he was looking for an open standards-based system for its desktops and back-end infrastructure to cut its escalating software, maintenance and support costs.

The deal would reduce RTAs TCO (total cost of operation) by as much as 20 percent, leading to potential savings of as much as $1.5 million a year. "This means well be able to dedicate our time and budget to serving our customers rather than worrying about desktop costs and support issues," he said.

Larry Singer, a senior vice president at Sun, said an increasing number of governments were looking for alternatives because they were frustrated with escalating IT costs and the increased proliferation of viruses and worms, which ultimately affected information security and worker productivity.

Is the Sun-Microsoft deal showing signs of stress? Click here to read more.

This latest customer win away from Microsoft follows a number of others this year. The Allied Irish Bank, one of Irelands largest banking and financial services groups, said in June that it was set to transition its branch-dependent applications and migrate about 7,500 desktop users off Windows and onto the Sun Java Desktop System over the next year or so.

Microsoft Corp. has lost other business from European customers recently. Earlier this month, the Norwegian city of Bergen said it plans to move 100 schools and 32,000 users away from its proprietary Unix and Microsoft Windows applications platform to Linux by the end of this year.

Next Page: Linux gaining more footholds worldwide.

Linux Gains Footholds

The German city of Munich also recently voted in favor of its plan to switch to Linux from Microsoft Windows, but that move is on hold while possible open-source patent issues are being investigated.

Read more here about the patent concerns.

Linux continues to gain footholds in U.S. governmental organizations. eWEEK recently reported that the latest stateside governmental win for Linux is the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, in Washington, which provides administrative support, program management and policy development services to the federal courts.

But Microsoft has been fighting back and has been actively lobbying governments around the world to shun open-source applications and Linux.

To that end, Microsoft last January announced a new global initiative to provide governmental agencies with access to Windows source code under its Government Security Program, designed to "address the unique security requirements of governments and international organizations throughout the world."

And this January, Microsoft also launched a new advertising campaign, referred to as "Get the Facts," that aims to give customers information about the advantages of using its Windows operating system versus Linux, its open-source competitor.

Click here to read more about Microsofts Get the Facts campaign.

Adding to the competitive desktop pressure is the fact that Suns Java Desktop System is also available on Microtel PCs from Wal-Mart. It includes Suns StarOffice productivity suite and is currently available on Linux. It also will soon be available on the Solaris operating system and on thin-client solutions from Sun.

Suns StarOffice productivity suite, a key component of the Java Desktop System, is also gaining momentum in global retail, with 2 million copies sold by its German partner, Markement GmbH, and a multimillion-dollar deal with Japanese computer products distributor Sourcenext Corp. to provide the Japanese version of StarOffice software, StarSuite 7, to 25,000 retail locations in Japan and via Internet downloads.

Sun also recently reached an agreement with the Indian state government of Haryana and secured a 10,000-seat win with the United India Insurance Company.

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