South Park Unveils Linux Lounge For Guests

by Hinesh Jethwani    Jun 11, 2004

The next time you visit ’God’s own country’, Kerala, be sure to leave that precious Linux laptop behind. The South Park, a unit of Kerala Hotels based in Trivandrum, has flagged off a new technology initiative in which guests are provided Internet access through Linux based thin clients. Six months down the line, the hotel plans to ’Wi-Fi’ its entire premises, and add at least 70 thin clients to its existing infrastructure.

Since the Hotel gains maximum revenue from visiting corporates, it has decided to exploit technology to the maximum. Speaking to CXOtoday, Dhilip George, IT-Head, The South Park, said, “We started off with a pilot project in April, where we installed thin clients in 10 hotel rooms, all based on Red Hat Linux 9. The clients connect to a Linux central server, providing streaming Internet access at 128 Kbps. The project was tremendously successful, and we plan to expand the initiative to another 70 rooms.”

Shockingly, although Linux is being used by guests at the hotel, there is absolutely no mention of the OS in South Park’s own internal technology infrastructure. George explained, “To the best of my knowledge, there is no hotel in the entire country that is using Linux on the mission critical enterprise application front. We use Fortune Enterprise, a hospitality solution designed by IDS, for connecting 60 desktops to a Microsoft Windows 2000 server. Our database is based on MS SQL Server 2000, and we recently migrated from Novell Netware 4.11 to Windows 2000. Microsoft is better because of its excellent GUI (unlike Netware), and running earlier Cobol applications was a big problem on Netware. With new apps designed on VB, a Microsoft server was the best choice.”

“We really didn’t have a choice, as currently there is no hotel management solution available on Linux,” lamented George.

With South Park’s plans of purchasing 70 Red Hat thin clients this year, both bandwidth and processing requirements will multiply. “We plan to purchase a high end server to support the new thin client network, which will be most probably IBM. Information gathering and a full scaled feasibility analysis is being carried out for the Wi-Fi network, and we will zero in on a vendor soon,” concluded George.

Focuz Infotech is the Linux integrator and support provider for The South Park, which has been approved as a Four Star Hotel. The South Park is a member of Fortune Park Hotels Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of ITC Hotels Ltd.

Tags: Linux