About FRITZ EGGER GmbH & Co
Headquartered in St. Johann in the Tyrol region of Austria, FRITZ EGGER GmbH & Co. is a leading producer of wood-based materials in Europe. With 5,100 people in 15 plants across the continent, the EGGER Group manufactures more than five million cubic metres of chipboard, medium-density fibreboard and oriented strand board each year.
FRITZ EGGER was running 16 separate SAP ERP environments, supporting a total of 2,000 users, on proprietary HP Alpha servers running HP True64 UNIX. The company had for some time wanted to move away from this proprietary hardware and software combination, both to reduce long-term costs and to free itself from reliance on a single vendor. When HP announced that the Alpha range was to be discontinued, FRITZ EGGER decided to actively seek out a new infrastructure for its SAP software.
The company wanted to retain its existing Oracle databases while moving to a new 64-bit operating system that would not lock it into buying proprietary hardware. As the SAP software is integral to FRITZ EGGER's business, the new infrastructure needed to offer high levels of performance and availability for the company's 2,000 business users.
Working with SAP AG, FRITZ EGGER selected SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server as the new platform for its ERP software, and opted to run it on AMD Opteron-based servers from HP. Some 58 servers, with a total of more than 250 processors and 1TB of memory, host the solution in FRITZ EGGER's St. Johann data centre.
"We had more than 10 years of experience with UNIX, so moving to Linux was a logical step," said Matthias Haidekker, Head of Data Center at FRITZ EGGER. "The transition was relatively easy, since our employees could use their existing skills with very little re-training required. We opted for SUSE Linux Enterprise partly on SAP's recommendation, and partly on the strong reputation that the software has in the region."
This project was the world's biggest SAP implementation on x86 Linux, and is currently the second largest of its kind. The complexity and importance of the project called for close attention to detail and teamwork from the project partners: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SteelEye Technology Inc. for high availability and SAP as the project lead.
"The co-operation between Novell (now a part of Micro Focus), SteelEye and SAP was superb," said Haidekker. "This was a cutting-edge solution on a scale never previously attempted, and the partners made every effort to ensure that all issues during the implementation were resolved quickly and satisfactorily."
FRITZ EGGER uses SteelEye LifeKeeper for Linux to ensure the continuous availability of its SAP applications by maintaining system uptime. LifeKeeper constantly monitors system and application health, and allows applications to fail over to other servers in the cluster in the event of an unexpected stoppage.
By selecting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which runs natively on practically every major processor architecture, FRITZ EGGER gained flexibility and additional choice in its infrastructure. The company is now free to choose a different architecture in the future, reducing risk and enabling it to freely select the technology that offers the best price-performance–regardless of vendor.
"Vendor-independence and complete flexibility in our choice of hardware were always our primary goals in selecting Linux," said Haidekker. "As our own previous experience demonstrates, it is risky to be reliant on proprietary hardware for any strategically important business solutions. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for the x86 architecture, we were free to choose the best servers for our need from an extremely broad selection of vendors."
We provide comprehensive support to FRITZ EGGER, automatically providing patches and updates as required, and keeping the internal administrative burden to a minimum. "Although Linux is open source software that we could adapt for ourselves, we choose to treat it exactly as we would a proprietary operating system," said Haidekker. "We focus absolutely on running our business applications, and we rely on Novell's support to keep the operating system reliable and secure. The quality of products and services from Novell is extremely high and represents excellent value for money."
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server gives FRITZ EGGER a stable, highly available platform for its business-critical SAP software, ensuring uninterrupted operations across virtually all of the company's activities, from manufacturing and logistics to sales and marketing. "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a very professional operating system that offers the same levels of performance and reliability as a proprietary UNIX system," said Haidekker. "The great advantage is the total flexibility it offers in terms of hardware platform, helping us to keep a completely open mind about the future of our IT infrastructure."