Australian State Agency Switches to Suns StarOffice

In another blow to Microsoft, a government agency in New South Wales, Australia, signs a deal with Sun to migrate 1,500 users to the company's StarOffice productivity suite and Messaging products.

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.

/zimages/3/28571.gifIs 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.