About Deutsche Rentenversicherung Baden-Württemberg
DRV BW is the federal pension authority for the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany, providing citizen-friendly pensions, insurance and rehabilitation services for 3.3 million people. The organisation operates from 18 regional centres and employs 3,600 people. In addition, DRV BW manages pensions in Greece, Cyprus, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
DRV BW is one of the most forward-looking service providers in Germany, and sees the value of technology in driving business innovation and delivering value to the community. When its existing server landscape started to become outdated, the organisation considered moving to an open source environment.
"Our existing network provided file and print services, but was not really flexible enough to support a modern organisation," said Falk-Oliver Bischoff, Head of IT at DRV BW. "We wanted a more flexible server operating system that would help us support a wide range of applications in the future, and that would be easy to manage with a small IT team."
Another issue with the existing infrastructure was security. DRV BW systems contain sensitive information on social insurance and rehabilitation, so it is important to ensure that only authorised users can gain access. Managing access rights was a complex process, involving both HR and IT staff, which created considerable administrative workload.
DRV BW evaluated several possible platforms for its new IT infrastructure, and chose Novell Open Enterprise Server for file, print and network services, plus SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for business applications.
"We had previous experience of working with Novell, so we were confident in the quality of both the software itself and the support services," said Bischoff.
DRV BW worked with SCC, a Novell Platinum PartnerSM, to implement SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a platform for its core applications, which include SAP ERP, SAP Human Capital Management (HCM), SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence and IBM Lotus Notes. To ensure high availability, the SUSE Linux Enterprise environment is configured as a two-node cluster, with the servers split between data centres in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart.
"During the tendering process, SCC comfortably outperformed a number of larger IT companies," said Bischoff. "SCC is a dynamic and efficient company, and we have been highly impressed with the dedication and expertise shown by its consultants. They are always available when we need help, and we look forward to working with them on future projects."
DRV BW also implemented Novell Identity Manager, and integrated it with the SAP HCM system. Whenever the company adds a new employee or removes a departing employee from the HCM database, Novell Identity Manager automatically creates or deletes the relevant user accounts in all applications–ensuring that only authorised personnel are able to access systems.
"Novell Identity Manager gives us a comprehensive solution for IT and communications provisioning," said Bischoff. "Workflows help users install and configure predefined software packages on their own PCs, and even set up the Alcatel phone system. Novell Identity Manager reduces workload for the IT team and helps us to get new employees up and running quickly."
Thanks to SCC and Novell, the migration to Novell Open Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server was extremely smooth; downtime was carefully scheduled so that most users did not even notice the change. Since the go-live, DRV BW has not experienced any problems with reliability, and has achieved excellent performance for its SAP environment and other applications.
"Moving to Novell Open Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has given us much greater flexibility than before without compromising on performance, availability or security," said Bischoff. "Moreover, the open source strategy promises to deliver excellent value by eliminating the costs associated with proprietary technologies."
The reliability of Novell Open Enterprise Server and the simplified user management provided by Novell Identity Manager are helping DRV BW to keep maintenance and administration workload to a minimum.
"User administration is foolproof now," said Bischoff. "HR staff can now handle the entire user provisioning and deprovisioning process–so the IT team can concentrate on more technical tasks. Reducing the complexity of this process has also improved security, since there is less chance of obsolete user accounts remaining active."
The success of the solution means that DRV BW is already planning its next project–to introduce secure smartcard-based access to facilities and computers.
"The Novell solution is so flexible that we can easily adapt it to meet our needs," said Bischoff. "Novell and SCC have delivered a solution that we can rely on to provide a secure and easy-to-manage IT platform for the future."