BMW dealer upgrades from Windows to Linux

BMW, located in Markham, Ontario, used over the years a variety of Microsoft products for its information technology infrastructure. Now the auto dealership, with the help of an IT outsourcing consultant, has slipped a Linux appliance into the mix that has eliminated difficulties with viruses, incompatibility, and security.

The dealership also uses the Reynolds and Reynolds management system, which allows the service department to access inventory and parts databases. Not only that, but a separate accounting system handles financial issues and other internal operations.

"When we first approached Town and Country, they pointed out their requirement to meet BMW's corporate secure network access requirements," says John Gray of Bentor Technologies, a Canadian IT consultant. "We also had to support an open link in the customer lounge, with secure access to the Internet."

That prompted Bentor to begin looking at Linux boxes for its customers. Those customers had to have a very stable system that was not going to be cost-prohibitive when it came to support. Gray says that with Linux, Bentor found it could offer a mail server, automated backup, remote access, virtual private networking, server side anti-virus, and Web server for around $5,000.

That was good, because Bentor had found its car dealership customers really didn't want to go any higher than $7,500 for total cost of ownership in an IT infrastructure. "They didn't want to feel like they were just going to have to go back and buy, and buy, and buy," Gray says.