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This article was published in Computer Sweden #6/2003.
Published by IDG, the world´s largest publisher of magazins for the IT industry.
 
Ski resort company abandons Linux
Sälen-based Skistar first Nordic company to deploy
Oracle 9i RAC

 
Snow safety. Skistar's new system won't guarantee snow but higher availability.
 

Sleeps soundly. Anders Beronius gets a good night's sleep. He rests assured that his booking system is crunching away.

Cluster machine. Skistar's entire booking system is based on two Sun Fire V480R with twin processors.
By: Anders Nordner
Translation by: Anders Lotsson

IN PRACTICE
Oracle's committed support organization for its Linux customers wasn't good enough for Skistar. The company went for Linux in mid-2001, but now it's switching to Solaris. At the same time, Skistar's Oracle 8 database is replaced with Oracle 9i Real Application Cluster. When Skistar, then still called Sälenstjärnan, deployed a new system in May 2001, it was based on Oracle 8 and Linux. The company chose Linux because it offered better performance and higher stability than NT (see Computer Sweden, May 25th, 2001). Cost was another factor.

"If there are two solutions that work perfectly, we'll get the one that's free," Anders Beronius, IT director of Skistar's ski resorts in Sälen said then.

Now the company has replaced Linux with Sun Solaris. And the Oracle 8 failover configuration is replaced with the cluster version of Oracle 9i RAC. This makes the company a Nordic pioneer of that type of cluster installations.

Couldn't handle emergencies
"We switched from Linux because it was difficult to solve emergencies using Linux," says Anders Beronius.

Running Oracle on top of Linux turned out to be almost untried. There is limited competence in that type of system. Also, the company needed to increase scalability and improve performance even more.

The booking systems that the system is running are at the core of Skistar's business. That is where hotels, lift tickets, cottages and everything related to the business are booked.

Always available
"Availability is the top priority. The system must never fail," says Anders Beronius.

Availability is expected to be achieved by means of the cluster installation. The system runs on a pair of Sun Fire V480R machines located in Sälen.

"Competence in Sun products is significantly easier to get hold of than Linux competence. Linux may be cheaper, but you can hold Sun responsible for any Solaris problems", says Anders Beronius.

The cluster installation provides reliability, he says.

"Now, we don't have a so-called single point of failure any more", says Anders Beronius, IT director of Skistar.

 

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