Specsavers Sees Red Hat as Clear Choice for Global IT Infrastructure

19 Jun 2007 [11:22h]     Bookmark and Share

Migrating business-critical store applications to Red Hat solutions means simplified maintenance and freedom from vendor „lock-in“

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Specsavers, the UK’s most trusted optician, is migrating all of its servers, desktops and tills from Microsoft Windows 2000 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux in its 830 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Spain. Specsavers selected Red Hat solutions for its Linux open standard strategy because they enabled the company to standardize applications on a Java platform without vendor lock-in. Since migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Specsavers has experienced a stable and future-proof platform, in addition to enjoying a reduced need for maintenance and increased reliability.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux was selected to run Specsavers‘ store application, SOCRATES 7, which previously ran on Microsoft Windows 2000. Specsavers chose Red Hat solutions for superior performance, reliability and security at a significantly reduced cost in comparison to proprietary solutions. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is running on an Intel platform on Fujitsu Siemens hardware for both servers and store desktops.

We selected Red Hat solutions because of our confidence in its business, its people and its technology, commented Nigel Spain, Specsavers‘ Global Architecture Manager. With our new store system, every single business-critical application is running on Red Hat, from the till to the test room hardware. We were convinced that Linux would have a major positive impact on our business and Red Hat has delivered exactly what it promised. Red Hat staff had a refreshingly new approach to customer management. Instead of the usual approach of direct hard selling, the company was genuinely creative in assisting us with how to redesign our whole IT infrastructure.

Specsavers is also using Red Hat Satellite Server to centrally monitor and update all Red Hat Enterprise Linux installations. The ability to manage updates remotely has greatly reduced the time spent installing software patches by the IT department. The Red Hat Global Support network was also a major factor that contributed to Specsavers‘ choice of implementing Red Hat solutions. Now, Specsavers has instant access to local support, 24 hours per day, in every country where the company requires it.

The Red Hat Satellite Server is strategically essential for our operations; we can now automate our whole deployment and manage maintenance and updates centrally. This was previously completed manually going to every single store one-by-one and delaying the process extensively, said Spain.

As part of the migration, the SOCRATES 7 application was developed in-house by Specsavers as a Java application to run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The open standards of Linux, combined with the platform independence of Java, have enabled Specsavers to achieve its aim of freedom from software lock-in and flexibility in software development. In addition to replacing all desktops and servers in its stores, Specsavers has also replaced several head-office Solaris servers with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Specsavers also has a number of Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers running an open source ERP system for its wholesale business in Australia and Hong Kong. Additionally, the company is using other open source solutions such as Apache webserver and JBoss jBPM (Business Process Management) software to manage its workflow.

Business users are getting fed up with the restrictions of vendor lock-in that dictate forced upgrade cycles and proprietary standards, said Werner Knoblich, Vice President of EMEA, Red Hat. Red Hat and open source provide the building blocks for a flexible and truly future-proof IT infrastructure no matter in which sector they operate.

To learn more about Red Hat solutions, visit www.redhat.com. For more news, more often, visit www.press.redhat.com.

About Specsavers

Specsavers was founded in 1984 by Doug and Mary Perkins. In the early 1980s the UK Government deregulated professionals, including opticians, allowing them to advertise their products and services for the first time. The Perkins‘ seized the opportunity and opened their first Specsavers, value-for-money, quality eyecare opticians in Guernsey and Bristol, followed shortly by stores in Plymouth, Swansea and Bath.

The company has grown rapidly since, thriving with its joint venture partnership approach to eyecare. It hit the milestone of 100 stores in July 1988, 200 in 1993, 300 in 1995, 400 in 2000, 500 in 2003, 600 in 2004 and 700 in 2005. The first Netherlands store opened in 1997, the first Swedish in 2004, while 2005 saw the first in Denmark and Norway.

For the past three years it has been voted Britain’s most-trusted brand of opticians by Reader’s Digest. The current straplines – Number One Choice For Eye Tests and Number One Choice For Contact Lenses – reflect its position as market leader in the UK. Its own lens manufacturing laboratories – three of the largest in Europe, mean that it can supply the latest high-tech lenses at high volume and low cost.

Specsavers is also market leader in contact lenses, with its own brand of easyvision monthly and daily disposable lenses. It has also pioneered the use of continuous-wear lenses, and is estimated to have at least 40% of the UK market. Furthermore, Specsavers is the largest provider of home-delivery contact lenses in Europe through its Lensmail service.

The company continues to expand. There are now more than 500 staff based at Specsavers‘ headquarters in Guernsey. The company has 830 stores across the Channel Islands, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Spain.


About Red Hat, Inc.

Red Hat, the world’s leading open source solutions provider, is headquartered in Raleigh, NC with over 50 satellite offices spanning the globe. CIOs have ranked Red Hat first for value in Enterprise Software for three consecutive years in the CIO Insight Magazine Vendor Value study. Red Hat provides high-quality, low-cost technology with its operating system platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, together with applications, management and Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) solutions, including the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite. Red Hat also offers support, training and consulting services to its customers worldwide. Learn more: www.redhat.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

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