A migration programme is under way to move from a mix of operating systems, including Netware and Solaris to Microsoft Windows 2003 running on Unisys ES7000 mainframe and commodity PC servers. The process will involve moving 200 application servers in multiple locations to two datacentres.
The Isle of Man will also switch during the next 12 months from Oracle Financials running on Unixware on the ES7000 to Microsoft's financial package, Axapta.
The strategic partnership with Microsoft was driven by the need to reduce costs and stay within an annual IT budget of less than £8m and to support an integrated e-government policy, said Allan Paterson, director of the information systems division.
His decision to displace Oracle Financials with the Axapta product was driven by the close relationship he has been able to forge with Microsoft. "We were a small user of Oracle, with about 350 users and I was uncomfortable that we did not have the clout we should have had," he said.
Patterson said a strategic partnership with Microsoft was safer and less costly than adopting a best-of-breed approach. "If you pick every best-of-breed product there will be a massive integration problem. We have to make as many elements [of IT] common such as services, suppliers and technology."
Microsoft's product set "has matured and I am confident we can achieve mainframe levels (of reliability and performance) on Windows," he said.