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World's largest Linux migration gets major boost

German national railway moves 55,000 Notes users to Linux system

The world's largest Linux migration is speeding ahead, with the German national railway announcing today it has successfully moved all of its 55,000 Lotus Notes users onto the open-source operating system.

Describing the moment as the first important milestone in its company-wide move to Linux, Deutsche Bahn Aktiengesellschaft said that it expected the move to give it continuous cost savings, greater flexibility and integration benefits as it gradually moved the rest of its business over.

The company has already shifted its vital train time-tabling system from HP Non-Stop to Linux. Next, it will move various SAP systems, including sales support, from UNIX to Linux. And by the end of the year, all remaining critical systems, including databases, application servers, web servers, mail servers and network infrastructure, will be running on Linux, the company said.

The vast project, which dwarfs even the frequently quoted migration of the Munich Council to Linux, was agreed upon last year and the railway had moved half of its 300 or so servers by November 2004. The announcement today demonstrates that the company is determined to go full speed ahead with adopting open-source software, giving it a big credibility boost.

"Our mission is to develop and deliver an efficient and economical IT service for German railways. Linux is a key element in our strategy, and the smooth process of migrating our mainframe-based Lotus Notes system is a clear sign that this major project will be successful," said Detlef Exner, director of production at Deutsche Bahn's IT service provider, DB Systems.

IBM, which produced the hardware that most of Deutsche Bahn's systems run on, is overseeing the rollout as well.

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