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Mon 31 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Linux powers Saudi internet gateway

The Linux Business Unit of Remal Al-Sharq has announced a major license purchase by the main internet gateway run by the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), internet services unit (ISU), which provides internet services to more than 1.9 million users.

The Linux Business Unit of Remal Al-Sharq IT announced today a major Linux license purchase by the main internet gateway in Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), internet services unit (ISU), which will provide internet services to more than 1.9 million users in the Kingdom.

“The ISU is the main gateway in Saudi Arabia, all internet users in Saudi Arabia pass through it, in other words more than 1.9 million users internet users will access the gateway,” says Isam Bayazidi, business development manager of Remal Al-Sharq.

KACST is an independent scientific organisation of the Saudi Arabian Government, established in 1977 under the name of Saudi Arabian National Center for Science & Technology (SANCST). KACST is governed by a Supreme Committee, which is chaired by the Prime Minister (the King).

The government body’s 6-year old ISU is responsible for providing internet services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with Saudi Telecommunication Company (STC), the Saudi Communications and IT commission and a number of private internet service providers (ISPs).

“Red Hat Linux was chosen for its excellent hardware support, stability, performance as well as a long life cycle support,” says Essam Al-Zamel, general manager, Remal Al-Sharq IT - Linux Business Unit.

ISU will deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 3.0 for several services on new IBM servers. The agreement with ISU includes software licenses, support and training, as the ISU is migrating to Linux from older Unix systems. Training for the ISU personals and engineers had been carried out earlier this year before the migration started.

Remal Al-Sharq, which is also provides training and professional services for Linux systems for companies in Saudi Arabia said KACST joins a growing list of customers such as Saudi Aramco, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) who have increased the deployment of Linux to cover more departments.

Al Sharq’s Linux division said it is currently working on building relations and partnerships with different IT vendors in KSA to increase penetration for the open source platform.

“With more focused marketing from different parties, the IT sector in the region is starting to be more aware of the benefits of using Linux-based solutions. Advantages of being cost-effective, more secure, scalable and reliable can’t be overlooked anymore. In the near future we see a raising demand on Linux services and solutions in Saudi Arabia,” adds Bayazidi.

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