Humanitarian news web site gets mission-critical technology to deliver up-to-date crisis information to global relief workers

Santa Clara 19 July 2007AlertNet, a humanitarian on-line news network, will optimize its capabilities to provide information around global humanitarian initiatives and emergencies through new technology provided by Sun Microsystems. AlertNet is a project of the Reuters Foundation, the non-profit arm of the global news agency.


AlertNet has a network of 400 contributing humanitarian organisations and attracts upwards of 3 million users a year. The site needed a more flexible and dynamic IT infrastructure to improve access to information that relief agencies, journalists and the wider public need to respond during natural and man-made disasters. The combination of servers, software and services deployed by Sun Microsystems will help to better manage the spike in user traffic when a disaster occurs.

The Sun infrastructure will also help provide AlertNet with the capabilities to become an on-line meeting place in the future where users can share experiences, commentary and feedback. With this expanded web presence, AlertNet can continue its mission to support and raise awareness of fast-moving humanitarian crises and to provide early warning of future emergencies worldwide.

"As part of a global medical relief agency, we rely on AlertNet for the latest information, and the news network plays a critical role in our research and communications during emergencies", stated Sarah Nelson of Medecins Sans Frontières - Doctors Without Borders - United Kingdom. "Knowing that AlertNet is now supported by the powerful Sun technology gives us confidence that we will have access to information that helps our our humanitarian mission."

AlertNet will consolidate from the current 13 servers to 11 energy-sipping Sun Fire T2000 eco responsible servers running the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS). The implementation will also include a disaster recovery solution. Sun will provide a dedicated team to provide in-kind consulting services focused on project implementation, technology design and systems integration expertise. The project is expected to take up to eight months and will enable the site to make big strides into new services and audience numbers.

"AlertNet continually seeks ways to improve how we deliver news which is especially important for those working in disaster-stricken areas", stated Rosemary Martin, director, Reuters Foundation. "Sun Microsystems' donation will fundamentally improve web site efficiency, and allow us to provide new and much-needed capabilities which will help raise awareness of humanitarian initiatives and needs."

Sun's donation to AlertNet is part of its "Share the Opportunity" initiative, a global effort to help promote participation in social change. Sun believes the world has entered an era of participation, where dramatically lowered barriers to entry, plummeting device prices, and near-universal connectivity are driving a new round of network access. From blogs to Java technology, SMS messages to Web services, participants are forming communities to drive change, create new businesses, new social services, and new discoveries. This growth in the network economy is fueled by sharing and collaboration among communities interconnected by technology and driven by purpose. Sun also believes that sharing and collaboration will stimulate innovation to help all participants from across the world grow and prosper.

"At Sun our cause is to end digital divides of all kinds", stated Crawford Beveridge, CBE, executive vice president and chairman EMEA, Sun Microsystems. "Through the power of the network, we can eradicate the walls that keep people from learning of humanitarian, geo-political and natural disasters. We are proud to support AlertNet as a megaphone to get the world to pay attention to these crises and help rebuild."

Reuters AlertNet is a humanitarian news network based around a popular web site. It aims to keep relief professionals and the wider public up-to-date on humanitarian crises around the globe. AlertNet attracts upwards of three million users a year, has a network of 400 contributing humanitarian organisations and its weekly e-mail digest is received by more than 17.000 readers.

Leslie Versweyveld

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