French Ministry for Education Adopts Red Hat

Red Hat announced that the French Ministry for Education has migrated 2,500 servers across its 30 local education authorities to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This decision was made in line with the Ministry's strategy to invest in open source solutions in order to free itself from the constraints associated with proprietary software and vendor lock-in.

The French Ministry for Education has long been tied to its suppliers' solutions through the suppliers' use of proprietary standards for software and hardware. In order to avoid the growing costs associated with proprietary licenses and forced upgrade cycles, the French Ministry for Education decided to migrate to open standards-based software and hardware solutions, ensuring interoperability and vendor independence for its IT systems.

Having first abandoned GECOS 7 and DPS 7, and gradually the AIX system, the Ministry determined that since 2000 it would drastically lower its costs by definitively decoupling the operating system supplier from the hardware supplier, said Michel Affre, IT systems manager at the French Ministry for Education. In doing so, the Ministry has standardized the information system architecture of each local education authority by running its application servers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating on standard servers.

More than 3,000 servers — which represent 80 to 120 servers per local education authority - now operate on Linux, with 80 percent of them running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, said Affre. All of our applications, whether financial applications or tools for managing exams, staff, students or everyday administrative activities, are now supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Our applications suppliers, internal developers and external partners now develop on open standards to ensure compatibility with Linux and specifically with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The French Ministry for Education was generally satisfied with the solutions provided by its previous IT suppliers, but were limited by the high costs of hardware, licences, support and business applications development. Moving toward standards-based infrastructure, and particularly toward open source, was a strategic and profitable decision that was enthusiastically received by the young recruits in the Ministry's IT departments. In 2004, over 95 percent of the servers ran on Linux. Today we are close to 100 percent, since we withdrew the last AIX servers at the end of 2006, said Affre. Due to its professional support services, Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the clear choice for our mission-critical servers, which run essential administration systems for schools all over France.

We are delighted that the French Government has once again proven its long-term commitment to promoting and utilizing open source solutions, further freeing themselves from vendor lock-in, said Franz Meyer, country manager at Red Hat France. Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to deliver real value and greatly reduces the cost and complexity of managing data centers whether in major private enterprises or public sector organizations.

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