A Microsoft Enterprise licence agreement has allowed the local authority in Bergen, Norway - an open source software user - to run a supported version of the latest Windows server software.
In June Bergen said it was heading down the open source route and that it planned to ditch its Unix and Windows applications platform for Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.
Any move to Linux where access to Windows servers is also needed requires a Microsoft client access licence - a cost that can make open source uneconomical.
But Ole-Bjorn Tuftedal, chief technology officer at Bergen, said the council avoided Windows licence expenditure thanks to its Microsoft Enterprise agreement.
Tuftedal's three-year Microsoft Enterprise agreement expired in 2003, at the same time Microsoft was rolling out server updates such as Windows 2003 and Exchange 2003. This allowed Tuftedal to upgrade to the latest versions through his Enterprise agreement without any additional licensing costs.
This strategy has allowed the city to move to a Windows platform that would be supported for several years while it continues to roll out Linux. Tuftedal's Linux strategy is based around SuSE rather than Red Hat, which was also evaluated.
The implementation is expected to be used by 50,000 staff. Twenty Oracle database servers running HP-UX, which power the city's health and welfare applications, will be replaced by HP Integrity Itanium 64-bit servers running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.
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