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Suse Linux powers SA tax collection

By   |  March 26, 2009

More than two years ago the South African Revenue Service (SARS) began a process to migrate its desktops to Linux by calling for a proof on concept. Two years on the desktop migration has not happened but the tax-collection arm of government has made some progress towards wider open source use, including wide use of Suse Linux. We take a look at exactly what has been going on.

According to Sita’s Free and Open Source Programme, although SARS’ is still working on a desktop Linux strategy – a thin-client network – the department has a number of open source deployments. Most of these are in the development and backoffice environment.

SARS already runs all of its production SAP systems on Suse Enterprise Linux. Other systems such as the department’s production DB2 databases, Advanced Tax Processor (ATP) and Service Manager, are running on AIX but SARS ran proof of concept (POC) projects in 2008 to establish the feasibility of running Adabas/Natural systems on Suse Linux.

Current Websphere Message Broker and MQ implementations are also being run on Suse Linux as well as portions of the department’s contact centre setup which is being hosted on a Sun box running Suse Linux. That contact centre system also uses Terracotta, an open source JVM-level clustering software for Java. Portions of SARS’ filing-season applications make use of the JBOSS application server.

When it comes to development, SARS uses Eclipse Workbench, an open source development environment and the ATP and Service Manager use the Python programming language and the Glassfish Java Enterprise Edition application server.

On the desktop SARS is investigating the options for establishing a thin-client Linux network and has a proposed proof of concept project in place to investigate this.


5 Responses to “Suse Linux powers SA tax collection”

  1. Malcolm
    March 27th, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

    Now this is one Government department that puts its money where its mouth is – hats off to Pravin Gordhan!

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  4. Stefan Lesicnik
    March 31st, 2009 @ 8:54 am


    Perhaps some more technical information as we (LSD) were the primary consultants in the SAP Linux migration.

    The project consisted of a migration from IBM DB2 on the Mainframe to IBM DB2 on x86_64 Linux and the SAP R3 system from Microsoft Windows again to X86_64 Linux on Dell hardware. Furthermore a migration of SAP BW was done to an IBM pSeries running Novell SuSE Linux.

    Novell, LSD, SAP, IBM and the SARS SAP Team were all involved in the process. The SAP migration path was well laid out and there were actually few problems encountered.

    There were some challenges around the EMC powerpath drivers and we ended up using the excellent Linux kernel supplied dm-multipath for fiber loadbalancing and failover. Further SAN configuration problems were discovered and resolved by analysing slow SAN response.

    Linux proved to be an excellent platform for SAP and unofficial figures put overall SAP performance increase at 500%.

  5. Raoul
    March 31st, 2009 @ 9:53 am

    @Stefan Lesicnik

    Wow, well done!

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