Linux to save Medscheme R10 million a year

By   |  December 1, 2005

Southern Africa\’s largest independent medical aid scheme administrator, Medscheme, has adopted an Oracle, Unisys and Suse Linux solution that is expected to save the company around R10 million in its first year alone.

Medscheme says the move has brought hardware maintenance costs down more than 60% annually. Total cost of ownership savings are expected to reach 150% in three years compared to alternative Unix platforms.

The information technology solution is based on Oracle application and database software, the Suse Linux operating system and Intel-based ES7000 Unisys hardware.

Medscheme\’s CIO, Kevin Wright, says the company\’s IT systems routinely process seven million claim lines per month, while managing an annual premium income of R15 billion.

\”We acknowledge that the quality of Medscheme\’s administration services is integrally linked to the level and speed of transaction functionality available to our operators,\” says Wright. \”With this in mind, we have pro-actively kept pace with developments in IT.\”

Historically, Medscheme has maintained a mixed operating environment, including Unix-based systems and hardware running Microsoft Windows. Multiple databases and applications further added to the complexity, all of which contributed significantly to their overheads.

Medscheme sought to streamline both hardware and software, consolidate data on a single Oracle database and deploy a new open source operating system, replacing SCO Unix with Suse Linux. The key goals of the migration were to increase system performance, expand processing capabilities to handle an increased volume of transactions, simplify IT administration and reduce the total cost of ownership.

\”The Oracle technology has met all of our requirements, but we wanted to move our environment onto more of an open systems standard while continuing to provide the business the best possible service, so we opted for the Linux operating system,\” says Wright.

The migration, which included the transfer of one and a half terabytes of data, was completed during a holiday weekend. \”By the time normal work resumed, everything was running on the new systems without any hitches,\” says Wright. \”All that users experienced was better performance.\”

Power and performance have improved dramatically, with processing times cut by more than half, including batch runs reduced from 24 hours to three hours; reporting system refresh reduced from 36 hours to three hours; and real-time claims processing reduced from five seconds to 2.5 seconds per claim transaction.

Medscheme says their new infrastructure is capable of handling a 100% increase in transaction volume.

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