In the event of a disaster at the company's main data center, a new mainframe and new AIX servers would be delivered to the company's secondary data center. 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.
Working with IBM, the company performed a detailed cost/benefit analysis to find out if moving to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE was a viable option.
"The results of the analysis were encouraging," said Starnell. "Moving to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE 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 z Systems and LinuxONE 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 z Systems 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 z Systems10 landscape uses 82 IBM Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processors to run the SAP application servers.
When the existing z Systems10 lease expired at the end of 2011, the company planned to continue its mainframe-based strategy by upgrading to the new IBM z Systems196, which can be expanded with blade servers.
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 z Systems that will be delivered to the other data center.
The combination of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE 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 z Systems and LinuxONE is the right choice for SAP, in terms of both ease of use and cost-efficiency."