Local ISV tests Server 2008 waters

Virtualization and better performance key drivers

With some 90 developers spread across three continents, Sydney-based logistics and freight software company CargoWise edi is moving its products and in-house systems to the new Windows Server 2008 to improve performance and efficiency.

CargoWise edi started in Sydney in 1994 with a focus on software for supply chain service providers, including freight forwarding, customs brokerage, and fleet management.

Its software is exported globally and customers include Woolworths, Coles Myer, DHL, UPS, TNT, Mainfreight, and Toll.

CEO Richard White told Computerworld few of CargoWise edi's customers are using Windows Server 2008, other than in an "experimental mode", but the company is undertaking a strong roll-out of the next-generation server to ensure the utmost application compatibility.

"We have thousands of customers with large Microsoft data centres, so my focus is on the business and the products," White said. "Because we sell a product we take the view we need to be well ahead of the pack and will be in production with [Server 2008] RC1 on a number of environments as we need to know we are compatible and any issues customers will need support with."

CargoWise edi has about 60 developers in Sydney and a number in Chicago and about 30 in Kiev in Eastern Europe.

The development team has already migrated to Visual Studio 2008.

White said many customers are asking about Windows Server 2008, which should lower costs and increase productivity with its native support for virtualization.

The company did try VMWare which is a "good product", but White believes the Microsoft technology provides the same thing so the use of VMWare was discontinued.

CargoWise edi's software is developed and deployed on 100 percent Microsoft platforms, and White believes this leads to low platform costs and high productivity.

"I know of one customer ever that had a Linux desktop system, and a few with servers, but with Microsoft you don't need highly skilled technical staff," he said.

The company is already migrating internal IT systems to Server 2008 and has five staff dedicated to the transition from 2003.

Senior IT manager Scott Wright is now using RC1 and will begin using the virtualization features this week.

"We will be using 2008 for external DNS, Exchange server, and Web and FTP servers," Wright said. "We will use the Core edition for Active Directory as the ability for that not to have all the extensions allows us to have a solid directory server that does not need to be restarted."

Wright is also keen to leverage the new event management tools in Server 2008 that allows server events to be alerted and sent via e-mail and SMS.

With about 30 servers worldwide, CargoWise edi has a Windows 2003 Active Directory, 64-bit SQL Server 2005 database, an Exchange 2007 server for messaging, and multiple file servers that incorporate distributed file systems across the infrastructure.

"Virtualization will allow us to maintain Web servers significantly easier," Wright said, adding workstations will be moved to Vista which works better with Server 2008.

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Rodney Gedda

Computerworld
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