Aché, a Brazilian pharmaceutical laboratory founded in 1966, has strengthened and expanded its operations over five decades. The company produces prescription, prescription-free, generic, dermatological and dermo-cosmetic drugs.
To prevent service interruptions, Aché needed a high availability solution for its SAP HANA database. The pharmaceutical company switched from its well-known Linux provider to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications and the SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) High Availability Extension. Not only does Aché have an effective high availability solution, but it has also seen performance gains due to kernel tuning.
Because Aché’s SAP HANA database supports all its ERP solutions from SAP — which contain financial, manufacturing and logistics data — losing it or being unable to access it could cause a massive disruption in Aché operations. To prevent a service interruption, the pharmaceutical lab decided to seek a high availability solution for its SAP HANA database. Finding the most cost-effective solution was challenging, however. Investing in a second machine just for failover issues was not financially viable. As a result, Aché sought a mix of software and hardware that could provide high availability without exceeding the budget.
“SUSE provides a solid lineup of innovative products with a cooperative approach, which makes us trust and rely on it to build the next generation of IT solutions inside Aché.”
The company initially considered a competitor of SUSE for a high availability solution. After all, this particular competitor is well known in the open source space and had been Aché’s Linux provider for about eight years. But for the sake of due diligence, Aché also decided to investigate SUSE. The company found that SLES for SAP Applications, which SUSE developed in coordination with SAP, and the SLE High Availability Extension demonstrated a mature solution with proven test cases. “We tested the solution against the solution we had before,” explained Valter Castelhano, infrastructure engineer. “While the solution wasn’t able to consistently execute the failover (and sometimes crashed when it did), the SUSE solution worked flawlessly.” For Castelhano, being able to test and see the solution running on the organization’s new Dell R930 Appliances for HANA was one of the key points of the decision.
The fact that SUSE works closely with SAP for its SLES for SAP Applications development was also compelling for Castelhano. Aché gets all the performance gains and customizations that SUSE makes specifically for SAP. “SUSE provides a solid lineup of innovative products with a cooperative approach, which makes us trust and rely on it to build the next generation of IT solutions inside Aché,” declares Castelhano.
Aché worked with SUSE partner SSYS to implement the SUSE solution. Implementing the product in the new machines went smoothly, and the high availability solution worked as intended. Altogether, the project took about three to four months to complete.
When asked how the SUSE solution has performed post implementation, Castelhano explains that it performs as designed. Aché’s quality assurance environment also holds a tenant of the production database. And if some error hinders the production environment, making it unavailable, the SLE High Availability Extension shuts down the QA environment and brings the production database online without any human interaction. Fortunately, Aché has never had to use the SLE High Availability Extension, aside from successful test runs.
As a beneficial side effect of the implementation on SAP HANA, Aché experienced performance gains due to kernel tuning found in SLES for SAP. For example, in recent tests, its SAP HANA implementation was able to process workloads from 30 to 110 times faster than its Oracle implementation could.
Because Aché has had such a positive experience with SUSE, it is expanding its partnership. In 2017, Aché is moving all Linux servers to SLES 12. The company will also implement SUSE Manager, which reduces the complexity of managing its infrastructure, and SLE Live Patching, which enables live kernel fixes without impacting the business.
According to Castelhano, what started as a small partnership has turned into one of Aché’s strategic pillars: “I see the management team of SUSE in a close relationship with us, always reachable and able to provide solutions and work with us in a complex and challenging market. It’s not something we see every day.”