Sun in driving seat with Permanent TSB deal

10 Jan 2005

Horizon Open Systems has won a contract to supply a Sun Microsystems IT platform that will run Permanent TSB Finance’s car loan authorisation and disaster-recovery system. The value of the deal was not disclosed but the value of hardware components alone could exceed €100k based on current list prices.

The system will be accessed by 500 users including Permanent TSB Finance employees, branches and motor dealers nationwide.

The infrastructure comprises servers, software and storage hardware elements. Two Sun Fire V440 servers running Solaris 9 and installed in separate sites will provide data mirroring for backup purposes while two Sun StorEdge 3310s will provide the storage component.

The new Sun technology platform replaces an SCO Unix System. Horizon claimed that the Sun solution was 25pc cheaper than its nearest rival for similar performance.

“Our technology platform is mission critical to our whole business and we cannot afford any down time,” commented Chris Hanlon, managing director, Permanent TSB Finance, which currently processes motor loans worth more than €1bn. “This latest technology investment reflects our continuing commitment to installing state-of-the-art systems, which help us provide the most competitive quotes on the market.”

“We selected a Sun solution from Horizon because of stability, low risk, backup and price/performance,” added Helen McCreery, IT manager, Permanent TSB Finance. “Our month-end processing time has been dramatically reduced from 12-14 hours to two and a half.”

Commenting on the deal, Roland Noonan, managing director, Horizon Open Systems, claimed Sun was “on a roll” and that the company’s policy of investing heavily in new technology was benefiting its customers.

Last May, following several quarters of tough trading conditions, Sun laid off 3,000 staff worldwide, including 24 as its Strategic Software Development Centre at Dublin’s East Point Business Park. The new deal represents better news for Sun’s Irish operations as well as its distributor, Horizon Open Systems.

In fact, Sun, which dominates the Unix market worldwide, has seen its business rebound in the high-end enterprise server market in recent months as corporates have ramped up their IT budgets again after the austerity of post dotcom period. The most recent quarterly server tracking data from IDC showed, however, that Unix market, though growing again, faces stiff competition from the Windows Server market that is now almost as large in revenue terms and growing substantially faster.

By Brian Skelly