Lulu Group Logo
Industry: Retail
Location: United Arab Emirates
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Lulu Group


  • Cut the cost of growth by 20 percent by migrating from proprietary OS and hardware
  • Improved availability, security and performance while reducing costs
  • Gained a high-performance platform for business analytics


Migration from its SAP for Retail ERP landscape from Solaris on proprietary Sun hardware to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on Intel-architecture servers had supported Lulu Group’s rapid growth. When the company wanted to improve the speed of business reporting and analytics by deploying the SAP HANA database, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications was again its platform of choice, combining high availability and performance with low TCO.


Since starting its retail journey in the early 1990s, Lulu Group has grown its retail activities aggressively and today has 121 outlets throughout the G.C.C. The group enjoys a 32 percent market share in its territories and welcomes more than 700,000 shoppers daily.

The Challenge

As Lulu Group drove its rapid growth, the pressure to keep business systems working optimally also rose. The company had chosen the SAP for Retail ERP solution to handle practically all aspects of its retail business, initially deploying the solution on the Solaris operating system on proprietary Sun servers. While this combination was satisfactory at the outset, it proved expensive to run and to scale up to meet the needs of the growing business.

Shiju Shanmughan, Network and Infra­structure Manager at Lulu Group, said: “We decided that it would be more cost-effective to migrate to Intel-architecture servers because this would allow us to choose freely from the offerings of a range of different vendors. We also needed to migrate to a new operating system—one that would offer the same or better availability and security, but with lower cost of ownership and easier expansion."

“The deployment went very smoothly, and we handled it largely with our in-house team, using the excellent SUSE documentation.”

SUSE Solution

Lulu Group chose to migrate its SAP for Retail landscape from Solaris to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications. “We knew that the relationship between SAP and SUSE is very close, and that SAP uses the SUSE operating system for its own development on Linux, so it seemed to be the best option,” said Shiju Shanmughan. “The deployment went very smoothly, and we handled it largely with our in-house team, using the excellent SUSE documentation. Thanks to this complete, end-to-end workflow for the installation of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, our team was able to save valuable time throughout the implementation process—helping to ensure that we went live on time. We also support the OS in-house, escalating any more complex queries to the experts on the SUSE support team.”

Taking advantage of the bundled SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension solution has enabled Lulu Group to ensure extremely high availability for its SAP landscape in the two years since deployment. Equally, the group uses a special kernel-tune option to improve SAP performance; this protects less-used memory from being paged out and used by the Linux file system, keeping it available for SAP applications.

“We remain very happy with our decision in favor of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications,” said Madhav Rao, CIO of Lulu Group.

Lulu Group’s positive experience kept the SUSE option top of mind when the time came to extend its SAP landscape. As the business continued to expand, both locally and in new territories, there was a growing appetite within Lulu Group for high-speed business analytics and reporting. The company was also seeing dramatic growth in data volumes generally and recognized the need to invest in faster database technology.

“We decided to deploy SAP HANA both for business intelligence and as the operational database for our complete SAP landscape,” said Madhav Rao. “Given our experience of the availability, flexibility, scalability and ease of management of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, this was the logical platform on which to deploy our new SAP HANA software.”

The Results

With both its core SAP ERP landscape and its new SAP HANA landscape running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, Lulu Group enjoys optimal performance, easy management, seamless scalability and low cost of ownership.

“We have entrusted our mission-critical SAP applications to the SUSE operating system for the last two years, and we continue to be extremely happy with that decision,” said Shiju Shanmughan. “The operating system requires minimal management, and the benefits are now also clear in our new SAP HANA landscape, which has enabled us to dramatically increase the performance of both analytics and conventional SAP ERP workloads.”

As Lulu Group continues its expansion, the added speed of analysis provided by SAP HANA in-memory technology will help the company’s business managers to identify new opportunities and competitive threats faster, and determine the optimal response.

“Our initial migration from Solaris to the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform reduced our total operational costs for the SAP landscape by at least 20 percent,” said Madhav Rao. “However, the increases in performance and availability are more important to the business because these help us to ensure excellent customer service at all times. We trust SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to provide extreme stability for our mission-critical SAP ERP and SAP HANA landscapes.”