AusRegistry Builds a Successful Online Platform on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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January 10, 2012

Customer: AusRegistry

“The more servers you have, the more complex and more expensive it becomes to manage the environment. That has made Red Hat Network Satellite an extremely worthwhile investment, simply because of the time and resources it saves the team.” – Chris Wright, CTO, AusRegistry

Industry: Tech Online
Geography: APAC
Business Challenge:

To create a solid, supported platform that would accommodate a greater number of servers and the use of Oracle applications for the Domain Name Registration System

Software:

Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®, Red Hat Network Satellite, Oracle databases, in-house custom software

Hardware:

Intel x86 and x86-64 servers

Benefits:

Enabled a reliable and stable platform for AusRegistry’s Domain Name Registration System, which has been replicated and licenced to international markets for an additional revenue stream

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Background:

Based in Melbourne, AusRegistry is the current registry operator and wholesale provider for all commercial domain names including .com.au and .net.au, and non-commercial domain names such as .gov.au and .edu.au. AusRegistry was first awarded the tender in 2002 and holds a Registry License Agreement with the .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA).

Business Challenge:

Developing a solid platform to build the AusRegistry business was critical for the success and future growth of the organisation from the very beginning. Having originally worked with a free Linux distribution for a small set of servers, the company embarked on a registry deployment project — the Domain Name Registration System — which required a shift to a supported platform that would accommodate a greater number of servers and its use of Oracle applications.

“Since the early days, AusRegistry has encouraged a relatively forward-thinking culture that is flexible and open to cutting-edge, new technologies and innovations that can help us achieve our business goals,” said Wright. “Our experience with Linux meant that when it came time to implement a more reliable, supported platform, we were interested in maintaining an open source environment rather than shifting to a proprietary platform.”

When investigating its platform options, AusRegistry was mindful of the daily service level expectations that needed to be met. “Our needs were simple. AusRegistry is a 24x7 business that relies on 100 percent uptime and stringent transaction processing times. We face strict financial penalties if our system fails to meet those requirements, so we needed to be completely confident that any solution we selected could deliver and effectively meet our business goals,” said Wright.

Solution:

AusRegistry has entrusted its business to Red Hat since 2001, when it made the strategic decision to implement Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the enterprise operating platform for its Domain Name Registry System. The initial deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2 took place approximately 10 years ago, over a three-month period. In 2007, the system was upgraded to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 when the organisation completed a hardware refresh, migrating from Intel x86 servers to x86-64 servers and increasing its server numbers.

“It was around the same that time we added Red Hat Network Satellite into the mix, so that with the growth in servers, we were able to manage a large Red Hat server farm efficiently and effectively,” said Wright. AusRegistry’s 70 to 80 Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers — which are largely dual processor and either dual or quad-core — host the company’s Oracle databases and custom in-house software applications, including specialised network-level protocol applications written in C and C++. Standard corporate software applications and management services also run on AusRegistry’s Red Hat servers. As part of incorporating Red Hat Enterprise Linux into the AusRegistry environment, the company compiled an operations team with Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE®) accreditation.

Benefits:

With Red Hat Enterprise Linux at its core, AusRegistry’s Domain Name Registry System helped achieve notable success for the company, both in Australia and offshore. “We established a Red Hat framework that has really helped to drive our .au business in Australia. We’ve been able to effectively replicate and deploy that same mix of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Network Satellite with our custom software for other countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, creating another revenue stream for the organisation,” said Wright.

Back in Australia, AusRegistry continues to benefit from working with a single vendor for both its platform and management tools. Red Hat Network Satellite has been a great source of value for the business, centralising the IT management function and enabling the company to simplify the management of a large number of servers and reduce the workload for its UNIX administrators. Beyond the technological benefits, AusRegistry believes that, as a well-recognised brand, Red Hat also makes the selling process a lot easier.

“The reality of it is that customers have even greater confidence in what we’re selling to them, because it’s deployed on Red Hat. They just don’t question it because they know it’s solid and reliable, which makes our proposition even more attractive,” said Wright. For the foreseeable future, AusRegistry plans to stick with Red Hat and update its current Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 deployment to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 as part of the next refresh.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve built a good business on Red Hat and with the level of testing carried out by Red Hat and the assurance of compatibility it offers, we simply wouldn’t use anything else for our production systems,” said Wright.

“The more servers you have, the more complex and more expensive it becomes to manage the environment. That has made Red Hat Network Satellite an extremely worthwhile investment, simply because of the time and resources it saves the team. During the deployment project in the Qatar to replicate what had been done in Australia, a 50-server environment was completed by a single UNIX administrator in two months. Without Red Hat Network Satellite, it would have taken significantly longer,” said Wright.

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