As a leading IT services provider, Siemens IT Solutions and Services wanted to minimize its operational costs, while continuing to provide customers with high-performance, scalable solutions. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the company reduced its total cost of ownership by 25 percent and can offer its customers more competitive pricing for services.
Siemens IT Solutions and Services is an internationally leading provider of IT solutions and services. Siemens IT Solutions and Services has 43,000 employees and posts annual worldwide sales of more than $6.5 billion USD of which some 60 percent are generated outside of the Siemens group.
"A key factor in our decision was the consistent, long-term relationship between Novell and SAP. SAP applications runs seamlessly on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and we get excellent technical support from Novell."
Siemens IT Solutions and Services supports the SAP systems for Siemens AG, one of the largest SAP customers in the world, as well as a variety of outside clients. In its business of providing dynamic data centers, Siemens IT Solutions and Services wanted to reduce the costs of running SAP applications on a UNIX infrastructure. The company's increasing hardware and maintenance costs were making it difficult to implement cost-effective solutions for its customers.
In addition, customers increasingly want scalable solutions that allow them to pay only for the capacity they use. Moving to a more flexible architecture would allow Siemens to give customers exactly what they need, when they need it, while reducing its overall operational costs.
Siemens considered moving its operating system for SAP applications from a UNIX platform to Microsoft Windows, but was concerned about the integration issues with its UNIX database platform. In 2001, Siemens, Fujitsu-Siemens and Oracle jointly performed a proof of concept by achieving a new world record for concurrent users for the SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) benchmark. The configuration consisted of a UNIX-based Primepower 2000 server and 160 Linux-based application servers. Siemens and its partners had been able to achieve 23,000 concurrent SAP SD users.
The company also found during this proof of concept that Linux could substitute UNIX as SAP application servers at 40 percent of the investment cost of a comparable UNIX-only configuration. As a result, Siemens selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to run as SAP application servers on Intel-based servers.
"A key factor in our decision was the consistent, long-term relationship between Novell and SAP," said Michael Gebauer, solution architect for Siemens IT Solutions and Services. "SAP applications runs seamlessly on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and we get excellent technical support from Novell."
Siemens now runs more than 300 business-critical SAP systems and 130,000 named accounts on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The company also runs many Web applications, Web servers and Oracle database servers on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Siemens AG and its associated businesses, as well as a variety of outside clients.
"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server was an easy transition for our UNIX-trained IT staff," said Gebauer. "We now benefit from having a common skill set. The popularity of Linux also makes it easier to hire new staff already familiar with it."
"Linux gives us a reliable platform for business software. As a data center provider, customers depend on us to deliver high performance solutions. We can implement solutions faster and less costly with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server than we could with UNIX."
Siemens runs SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on a combination of Fujitsu-Siemens, Dell and HP Compaq servers. Using Intel-based hardware, the company can support its services at a fraction of the cost of its previous UNIX systems. The flexible architecture also allows Siemens to quickly implement new solutions for its customers.
"Substituting our big UNIX servers with Intel-based servers allows us to give our customers much more scalable solutions," said Gebauer. "We can give customers exactly what they need and they are already realizing cost savings as a result."
The next step to increase flexibility is the virtualization of services, where Siemens will use VMware ESX and Virtuozzo to create virtual servers on a single Linux machine. The company is also evaluating Xen virtualization technology. With fewer machines to administer, the company can further reduce its hardware and maintenance costs.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has been a standard operating platform for Siemens since 1999 and works well with its other UNIX and Microsoft Windows systems. Moving forward, the company plans to continue moving more of its UNIX database servers to Linux.
Moving to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has given Siemens a flexible application architecture that has reduced its total cost of ownership by 25 percent. The company estimates that a similar UNIX investment would have cost three times more.
With significant cost reductions, Siemens can better support the extensive SAP systems for Siemens AG and other customers. The company can also pass on savings to its customers with scalable solutions that offer increased performance. Moving forward, virtualization will allow Siemens to increase the load on its servers, improve flexibility and reduce the number of physical servers.
"Novell has helped us achieve our goals to reduce overall spending and to offer more services to our customers," said Gebauer. "Customers want better prices every year. By helping to reduce our internal costs, Novell helps us remain competitive."