) NOVELL: Connection Magazine Third Quarter 2007: Supporting the Masses

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It was a typically hot and muggy summer afternoon, the kind of day when Robert Stanford wanted to wrap his hand around an ice-cold drink and know that operations in the network of credit unions throughout the state were running smooth as glass. So when news of the first crippled credit union arrived, he feared the worst—and he got it. Nearly a thousand employees in more than six dozen credit unions had lost computer access. Impatient customers crowded into lobbies, anxious to get their transactions completed quickly. Lines of cars backed up at the drive-up windows, punctuating the air with honking horns. Countless ATMs stopped dispensing cash. Loan officers trying to help hopeful customers ground to a halt, unable to access pertinent information.

Meanwhile, back at headquarters, Stanford launched into action, energizing his IT team in a frantic attempt to determine what had gone wrong. Half an hour went by, then an hour. One by one, credit unions scattered throughout the state posted hastily scribbled notes on their doors and dismissed employees for the day. Customers were frustrated at best, enraged at worst. Rumor had it that the story was going to make the six o’clock news, and the credit union president was definitely unamused. In the meantime, Stanford and his team split up and doggedly tried to get answers from a throng of support teams for the various applications they were using to run their enterprise.

Hours later, Stanford and his team finally coordinated all the information from the various support personnel and managed to correct the problem. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of frustrated employees, frantic managers, a scowling credit union president and angry customers—not to mention a general loss of good will. And, oh, by the way, the story did make the six o’clock news.

Downtime can be disastrous, especially for mission-critical systems where every second offline costs you time, money and, potentially, customers. You need a reliable, high-availability solution to protect these key systems—and your bottom line. You already know that. And you also know that even the most robust systems are vulnerable to occasional problems. And when that happens, you suddenly realize how crucial it is that you have access to world-class support.

Thanks to a new solution from SAP AG and Novell—both industry leaders in solutions for business organizations of all sizes—you have a seamless support solution integrated into a high-availability business solution.

> SAP and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server: Working Together
SAP NetWeaver is the foundation for Enterprise Services Architecture, the SAP blueprint for services-based, enterprisescale business solutions. These solutions offer the increased levels of adaptability, flexibility and openness required to reduce total cost of ownership and complexity across your entire IT landscape. SAP NetWeaver is the best way to integrate your SAP and non-SAP solutions, and it is the center of a growing ecosystem of applications and services.

If you have deployed SAP business solutions to improve customer relationships, enhance partner collaboration and create efficiencies, you know that the deployment is only as good as the scalability, reliability and performance of the underlying operating system.

Enterprises in more than 120 nations rely on SAP software to provide mission-critical services to their businesses—and if that software becomes unavailable, business can be disrupted. In today’s demanding IT environment, any interruption to mission-critical systems is unacceptable. You need high availability, even in your complex SAP systems. That’s why SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell has cluster software already built in, providing a complete high-availability storage infrastructure. It includes all the features and functionality to ensure that your SAP systems remain highly available around the clock. Specifically, high-availability storage infrastructure monitors the status of the components in your mission-critical systems, including the services required by the SAP software, and initiates fail-over to redundant server infrastructure if it detects problems. Now SAP recommends SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the preferred platform for companies who want to run SAP on Linux.

An enterprise-class solution has five primary characteristics: high availability, robustness, manageability, flexibility and scalability. High-Availability Storage Infrastructure, a key technology included in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, combines these characteristics to deliver a complete solution for high-availability storage and cluster management. It’s based exclusively on open source, enterprise-class components and integrates the following technologies:

  • Heartbeat version 2, a high-availability resource manager that supports multimode fail-over
  • Oracle Cluster File System 2 (OCFS2), a parallel cluster file system that offers scalability
  • Enterprise Volume Management System 2 (EVMS2), a clusteraware volume manager that simplifies operations in a highavailability, scalable environment.

The result is an enterprise-class, highly available foundation that keeps your SAP applications—and your business—up and running.

When virtualization is thrown into the picture, things become even more compelling. Virtualization of the IT infrastructure for SAP deployments can result in enormous advantages for businesses. For example, consolidation of workloads onto fewer servers results in reduced capital and management costs. Fewer servers occupying less space and requiring less power and cooling can result in lower operational costs. The ease with which virtual machines can be moved between physical servers enhances business continuity and can drastically cut recovery times in the event of problems. And because the infrastructure is no longer constrained by physical hardware, agility and responsiveness are increased. It all adds up to a more reliable, flexible and cost-effective platform for missioncritical computing like SAP.

Xen 3.0 is the emerging open source standard for virtualization software, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the first enterprise platform to include a fully integrated and supported version. With virtualization, using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Xen, it is possible to consolidate and allocate workloads far more efficiently. In turn, it delivers increased server utilization levels that can reach 70 percent and higher.

> An Integrated Approach to Technical Support
In a move aimed at giving customers the greatest amount of choice with the smoothest amount of service and support, SAP AG and Novell have expanded their relationship to offer a new joint support solution for customers who run their SAP applications on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The new solution—branded as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Priority Support for SAP Applications—is a maintenance and support package provided by Novell that will be integrated into the SAP global support backbone for managing the entire life cycle of SAP applications.

The result is seamless support. You now have a single support entry point—from the operating system through the application—that will streamline resolution of support incidents, reduce complexity and lower the total cost of ownership. Available 24x7, the solution adds new levels of reliability and performance to your SAP environment. With the new support solution from SAP and Novell, you can get support all the way from the operating system to the applications from one source when you run SAP applications on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

“This deal is an example of two industry leaders coming together on behalf of customers,” said Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO, Novell. “Both SAP and Novell have heard from our customers that they are looking for a complete stack solution, from the operating system up to the application, with an integrated source of technical support that will help them lower cost and reduce complexity. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a recommended Linux distribution and internal development platform for SAP applications, and its further optimization will deliver the performance, reliability and scalability that customers demand when running their operations on SAP.”

The combination of SAP Business Suite and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provides consistent manageability of SAP applications in mixed, open source and commercial software environments. When you run SAP on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, you get the performance, reliability and scalability you need to run your mission-critical SAP applications. And it’s all backed by the support you need to give yourself peace of mind, so you can focus on growing your business.

Given the nature of SAP workloads and the importance of having a finely tuned and supported operating system to complement your SAP implementation, it makes business sense to have world-class support for your operating system. The collaboration between SAP and Novell ensures that you will have an operating system optimized for SAP workloads. You’ll also have the combined technical support of two of the technology industry’s leading vendors.

The two vendors have a long-standing relationship and have already worked together on several joint technical solutions, including an optimized high-availability solution. This latest solution leverages the scalability of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server—including its ability to scale to 1024 CPUs and more than 10TB of physical memory. It offers a Linux-based solution with the performance required by customers who run their mission-critical business operations on SAP applications.

“Customers want choice, and since most of them run heterogeneous IT environments, using both open source and commercial software, we recognize the need to make service and support as smooth as possible,” said Gerhard Oswald, member of the executive board, Global Service and Support, SAP AG. “SAP has a long-standing commitment to the open source community, including working with key technical standards organizations to create interoperability with commercial software. Our agreement with Novell makes it truly possible for companies to get long-term support and maintenance when deploying SAP applications on Linux. It also continues to illustrate the openness and flexibility of business process platforms enabled by SAP and focused on the business and technical standards that drive business process agility and innovation.”

> Enthusiastic Customer Response, Vision for the Future
Bringing together these two industry leaders to create the priority support solution leverages Novell’s leadership in enterprise-wide operating systems based on Linux and SAP’s distinct business solutions for enterprises of all sizes. The resulting solution will help organizations of all sizes improve customer relationships, enhance partner collaboration and create efficiencies at reduced cost, complexity and risk. Thus, it allows them to focus on innovation and growth.

“Customers are rapidly moving to next-generation Linux-based IT architectures, and they are demanding best-of-breed technologies that are integrated and well supported,” says Bernd Kosch, alliances vice president at Fujitsu Siemens Computers. “Novell and SAP share our vision for mission-critical Linux in the Dynamic Data Center. The new offering from SAP and Novell support will enable us to provide enterprises with stress-free IT operations, to increase reliability and improve application availability at dramatically lowered costs.”

“When industry leaders align, as Novell and SAP have, it’s customers that ultimately benefit as they are better able to manage and transform their IT environments to optimize business outcomes,” remarks Christine Martino, vice president of HP’s Open Source and Linux organization. “HP has worked closely with SAP and Novell for many years to develop, test and validate Linux-based solutions. Our joint customers can deploy SAP solutions confident in the knowledge that they have the power of HP, SAP and Novell behind them.” And IBM General Manager Jim Stallings says, “Both Novell and SAP are long-time partners of IBM, with SAP’s offerings frequently deployed on IBM servers at both large and small customers. Strengthening SAP on the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform is a natural move, and we’re thrilled to see Novell and SAP collaborate on behalf of customers.”

Novell and SAP plan to work together in the future to further optimize SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP application platforms, including SAP NetWeaver and SAP Business Suite. And with the launch of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Priority Support for SAP Applications, customers can look forward to future solutions knowing they will have solid access to the type of support they need to fully leverage these new technologies.

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