Endress+Hauser, headquartered in Reinach, Switzerland, is a specialist in measurement technology for process engineering. The company develops and maintains instrumentation and automation solutions for industrial processes. It employs 8,400 people in 42 countries, and generates annual sales of approximately €1.1 billion.
Endress+Hauser depends on SAP ERP applications to manage its core business processes. For many years, the company has run the DB2 databases that support its SAP systems on the IBM System z mainframe platform.
"Before the migration to z/Linux we used to run the SAP application servers on 14 IBM AIX servers," said Aribert Starnell, Division Manager, Production Computer Centre at Endress+Hauser InfoServe, the internal IT service provider of the group. "This environment together with the DB2 databases on System z made our disaster recovery very complex."
In the event of a disaster at the company's main data centre, a new mainframe and new AIX servers would be delivered to the company's secondary data centre. Provisioning this heterogeneous environment to get the SAP systems back online would be a huge effort. The company decided to rethink its infrastructure to create a simplified disaster recovery concept.
The company considered migrating the SAP systems running on the AIX server landscape to its existing IBM System z machine. By consolidating its systems to just one central machine, disaster recovery could be simplified substantially.
Working with IBM, the company performed a detailed cost/benefit analysis to find out if moving to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for System z was a viable option.
"The results of the analysis were encouraging," said Starnell. "Moving to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z was comparable in price to continuing with AIX. Moreover, it was less expensive than running Linux on other platforms such as IBM Power servers or x86-architecture machines."
"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z is very stable and we had no problems with the migration, so none of the users even noticed the change-over," said Starnell. "In fact, the performance of the Linux operating system on System z is so good that many users noticed an improvement in SAP response times."
With 5,400 SAP users, about 100 SAP systems and DB2 databases, and 15 TB of production data, Endress+Hauser needed the solution to deliver excellent performance. Currently the company's IBM System z10 landscape uses 82 IBM Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processors to run the SAP application servers.
When the existing System z10 lease expires at the end of 2011, the company plans to continue its mainframe-based strategy by upgrading to the new IBM System z196, which can be expanded with blade servers.
Consolidating the SAP application servers on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z has enabled Endress+Hauser to create a simple, manageable and highly flexible platform that enables rapid recovery.
With the virtualization of the Linux systems on the z/VM operating system, there are almost no limits to system growth.
In terms of disaster recovery, the Endress+Hauser IT team can quickly and easily switch all production SAP systems over to a second System z that will be delivered to the other data centre.
The combination of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z and IBM z/VM enables the creation of new Linux virtual instances in a matter of minutes, making it easy to deploy new SAP systems whenever the business requires. The infrastructure is so simple to manage that the staffing level has remained constant for several years.
"Other companies that visit us are often amazed that our team is so small," said Starnell. "A company with a similar number of SAP users usually employs many more IT staff! So we're convinced that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z is the right choice for SAP, in terms of both ease of use and cost-efficiency."