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eWeek: Linux becomes a cog in machinery at Komatsu Mining Systems

Jan 29, 2001, 20:54 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Anne Chen)

"Komatsu Mining Systems Inc. builds mining equipment, such as dump trucks, tractors and excavators, but the IT managers in the company's engineering department didn't have to dig deep to find reasons to begin using the Linux operating system for mission-critical applications. The promise of more control over their computing environment was all it took to persuade Komatsu IT managers to use the open-source MySQL database management system, running on Version 6.2 of Red Hat Inc.'s Red Hat Linux and servers from Penguin Computing Inc. as the foundation of a major online, spare-parts cataloging and tracking application."

"The application is critical to Komatsu because the mining equipment it makes typically remains in service for up to 80,000 hours -- anywhere from five to 10 years. Even as newer models come off the assembly line, Komatsu must still be able to locate parts for older machinery, as well as design-related documents, blueprints, schematics and analysis documents. The 150 members of Komatsu's engineering department, in Peoria, Ill., access the PDF and PostScript files in the database every day using applications developed in-house."

"[Komatsu analyst Jose] Santiago said that, so far, he's satisfied with Linux's scalability. Even with hundreds of thousands of records generated by his applications, Linux and the MySQL database can handle them. And, Santiago said, scalability will only get better as Linux matures. "We're not doing banking, so if I lose a transaction, it's not a showstopper," Santiago said. "If we were more transaction-critical, that may cause us to consider something like Oracle or Informix."

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