Kent Police has cut the cost of running its major criminal investigations system by 90% using Novell Open Enterprise Server, the company's version of SuSE Linux.
The migration to Novell enabled Kent to scale up the Holmes II system to investigate this February's raid on the Securitas depot in Tonbridge - one of the biggest criminal investigations in the force's history.
Kent Police migrated Holmes II to the Novell operating system after systems integrator Unisys adapted it to run on the open source operating system. The force's IT department then searched for the cheapest hardware to support the system.
Kent Police IT director Andy Barker said, "We had come to the replacement time for Holmes II. We got a quote from our existing supplier and a quote from Dell. The Dell quote was one-tenth of the cost of the other."
The force moved Holmes II from legacy non-Intel-based servers to two Dell Poweredge devices.
Barker said, "With our old supplier, we could have bought scalability for the Tonbridge robbery, but we could never have afforded to do so."
The savings have helped make the case for migrating Kent's other core applications, SAP and its operational policing system, to Novell.
The SAP system, which supports 6,500 users for the force's finance, human resources, payroll and duty planning functions, will be moved before the end of September.
The policing system - named Genesis - is being tested for scalability on Linux servers. It needs to be scalable to 1,000 concurrent users when it goes live with a peak capacity of 3,000 users.