It's one of the largest manufacturers of wall putty in India, but Maharashtra-based Walplast wasn't going to rest until it consolidated its business and expand operations to South and Central India.
But a geographic expansion meant increased production and more product lines. And that meant incurring a massive renewal cost on its IT architecture. Also, for an SME like Walplast, which runs on a relatively small budget, a need to execute the project immediate would create a large amount of pressure on its IT team.
"License management was confusing, and an overall Microsoft management takes time. The main issue was the renewal cost that we would incur on the operating system and MS Office for hundreds of PCs across our offices," says Sunil Nair, manager-IT, Walplast.
"With expansion plans scheduled," he says, "the management wanted to look at options to bring down investment costs. We wanted to cut cost, yet, not lag behind on technology."
A tall order.
Crystal Solutions had deployed a UTM/firewall solution for Walplast a few years ago. And, in September last year, during a routine sales visit, the team sensed that Walplast's management was facing problems with Microsoft's licenses. "The huge cost of licensing desktops was a cause for concern for the management," says Vasant Bhanushali, director, Crystal Solutions.
The company wanted to continue adopting technology, but were unable to find an alternative to the licensing issue, says Bhanushali. Crystal Solutions presented an open source alternative that would save Walplast plenty in licensing costs. "We suggested CentOS Linux .The plan was to migrate the OS, and then install open office on them," says Bhanushali.
"Our management and two or three big vendors using open source thought about this option. In fact, I too was looking at an open source solution," says Nair.
The discussion went on for a month. In November last year, Crystal Solutions was given the go-ahead for its suggested combination of Centos and Propalms.
"The primary reason for an open source platform, apart from savings is that it can accommodate a number of applications [critical and non-critical] on it," says Nair.
Walplast was initially apprehensive as Crystal did not have a previous implemetation in India. "We have worked on CentOS and Propalms, but on different projects. They put their trust in our technical expertise," says Santosh Dolas, senior technical consultant of Crystal Solutions.
The Right Mix
Walplast tested all open source desktop applications including Ubuntu and Fedora to check which suited their environment best. They decided to use CentOS as it was a server-class desktop client which was more stable than Ubuntu and Fedora.
"It was slightly challenging as Propalms had some issues with licensing limitations. But their team helped us resolve it," says Dolas.
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