For the past 18 years, NWK has trusted in the reliability and stability of the IBM main frame platform to support these vital business systems. The company previously ran all of its applications under the IBM z/VSE operating system, but a growing need for greater flexibility and support prompted the IT team to consider alternative options.
After evaluating the different distributions of Linux available on the mainframe, NWK chose to deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM z Systems—a decision that was strongly guided by the platform's reliability and the close collaboration between SUSE and IBM.
"We were very encouraged by the amount of research and development that has gone into optimising SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for use on IBM z Systems over the last 13 years," says Eddie Leighton, Technology Manager at NWK. "Running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE gave us the best of both worlds—the openness of Linux combined with the support and expertise of SUSE and IBM."
NWK migrated all of its z/VSE workload to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on an IBM zEnterprise 114 (z114), connected to an IBM Storwize V7000 storage system and IBM System Storage TS3310 tape library. The company hosts a second z114 and supporting storage systems at a secondary data centre for backup and disaster recovery purposes. It has activated one Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processor with 32GB of RAM on its main production server.
"We have been running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on the z114 for a few months now and everything has been operating very smoothly," says Leighton. "We support around 450 users on one IFL with an average CPU usage of 60 to 70 percent, and so far performance has been excellent, even when running at 100 percent utilisation."
"Our response times have come down considerably with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE," says Leighton. "For example, it previously took us around two and a half hours to back up our main production database alone. Now, the total backup window for all nine of our databases, including our data warehouse, is about two hours.
"In the past, we would use virtual tape backup systems on z/VSE. Now we write directly to disk on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE, which is at least 100 percent faster."
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provides NWK with solid performance, and a reliable platform for running its most important workloads.
"The IBM z114 is a fantastic server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE really helps us to get the most out of it," says Leighton. "The solution has met all of our requirements in terms of performance and stability, and has allowed us to establish a more flexible computing infrastructure here at NWK."