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Open Source Servers Brighten Weather Channel's Outlook

In recent days, the Weather Channel has not been busier. The hurricane season has hit hard, and that's meant going into overdrive at the all-weather cable channel. Thanks to open source's delivery of huge cost savings, easy management and simplified deployment, the Weather Channel forecasts clear skies ahead for its IT infrastructure.

"Our decision to go to open source was based mainly on the issue of operating costs," said Kevin Gungiah, director of systems administration at Weather Channel, Atlanta. "We had high operating costs on the RISC-based system and we wanted to be able to scale our environment without being locked into a particular vendor's system. We will obtain an actual savings of $200,000 per year over the next three years in hardware maintenance costs."

The Weather Channel, which is the only national all-weather cable network, provides 24-hour-a-day weather coverage to more than 87 million homes in the United States.

In this first phase, which it began in October 2003, the company replaced its proprietary RISC-based platforms with Intel Itanium 2 processor-based HP Integrity servers. The Weather Channel considered several vendors, but chose Hewlett Packard in light of its strong commitment to the Itanium technology, Gungiah said.

"HP showed us that they had a strong commitment to Itanium, since they had released a range of Itanium products, from two-way to eight-way configurations, as well as Superdome," he said. "That gave us sense of the direction that HP was going, compared to other vendors that were testing the waters with a single two-way box."

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