Oetker Daten- und Informationsverarbeitung KG (OEDIV) is a private cloud provider specializing in SAP solutions for forward-thinking clients. The company is part of the international Oetker Group, one of the largest family-owned businesses in Europe, employing more than 36,000 people and generating annual revenues of 7.33 billion euros. Oetker Group was an early SAP customer, and OEDIV is not only a SUSE partner but also SAP-certified in SAP HANA Operations and Cloud Services, and is an SAP hosting partner.
The company focuses on serving medium-sized businesses that need the highest levels of availability for their global operations and that rely on SAP applications (including SAP S/4HANA, SAP ERP, SAP for Retail, SAP Extended Warehouse Management and SAP Business Warehouse).
Private cloud provider OEDIV cuts costs and streamlines operations by standardizing on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SUSE Manager and SUSE Salt Automation.
Enabling continuous business growth
OEDIV’s customers come from a wide range of industries, and all of them demand the highest levels of availability – for example, to keep checkouts running, ensure supply chains always deliver on time, or making sure production lines never stop. The company offers premium hosting services, closely tailored to specific customer requirements, delivered from two data centers in Germany.
To expand its business and grow its customer base, OEDIV wanted to capitalize on new business opportunities that required more flexibility. Key to winning new, larger customers was the capability to run modern business applications and mission-critical in-memory databases such as SAP HANA cost-efficiently, at scale.
Martin Stratmann, CEO at OEDIV, says, “As our industry is changing rapidly, we have to constantly reinvent our business. We act as trusted advisers for our customers to find optimized, tailored solutions. Building on our extensive experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and especially SLES for SAP Applications, we were looking for ways to leverage our in-depth knowledge to reach new customers.”
Tackling scalability challenges
To provide premium-level service, OEDIV invests significant time, effort and personnel into system maintenance and operational excellence. As customer systems and data volumes grew in size, it became clear that the company’s existing IT infrastructure for SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA was reaching its performance, capacity and reliability limits, making it difficult to onboard new clients.
Andreas Hingst, head of systems administration at OEDIV, says, “Our customers are continuing with their digital transformation projects, leading to ever-more complex business requirements and larger data volumes. For one exciting business opportunity, we needed to find a way to host an 11 terabyte (TB) SAP HANA database cost-efficiently.”
“By implementing an integrated solution with SUSE Manager and SLES for SAP Applications running on IBM Power Systems with IBM Storage, we improved the performance of the technology stack by 40%.”
Deploying SUSE solutions across platforms
Already running SLES for SAP Applications on 300 virtual machines on x86 servers with centralized management using SUSE Manager, OEDIV knew that SUSE solutions could handle its mission-critical customer workloads.
Building on its experience with IBM Power Systems, OEDIV worked with IBM and SUSE to design an IT architecture that would offer improved scalability and streamlined management for even larger SAP HANA databases and SAP S/4HANA applications.
Together with IBM, OEDIV deployed a highly standardized solution based on an IBM reference architecture that could scale up further and be easily extended when needed. The team implemented eight IBM Power System E980 servers running SLES for SAP Applications with SUSE Manager, PowerVM virtualization and PowerVC automation. OEDIV deployed IBM Spectrum Virtualize storage virtualization for increased flexibility and reliability, and four IBM FlashSystem 9150 storage systems for maximum storage performance. During the second half of 2021, OEDIV will extend its server and storage capacity by 50%, driven by growth and new customers using this environment.
The company uses SAP HANA system replication to mirror business data across two locations, and manages backup and recovery using IBM Spectrum Protect.
OEDIV takes advantage of the integrated IBM SAP HANA Total Solution Support to have a single point of contact for the entire solution stack, including server infrastructure, storage systems, virtualization and SUSE Linux operating systems.
The server and storage infrastructure is evenly split across two data centers for the highest possible reliability. To maximize overall system utilization and minimize costs across all physical servers, the team dynamically optimizes system sizes and moves SUSE Linux workloads to the most capable host servers using IBM Live Partition Mobility. By adopting this methodology, OEDIV is ensuring its customers receive the best possible performance.
Hingst adds, “By standardizing on SUSE Linux across x86 and IBM Power Systems, we benefit from our extensive knowledge of the SUSE ecosystem. We use the integrated tooling of SUSE Manager (such as the Salt configuration engine) in combination with IBM PowerVC and Ansible to create a seamless user experience. Coupled with a self-service portal for our systems engineers, this dramatically speeds up provisioning of new SAP HANA databases and accelerates our customer’s digital transformation initiatives.”
Standardized operations and management boost productivity
Today, OEDIV can run the largest and most-demanding SAP HANA databases – in this example, 11 TB – very cost-efficiently. Working with IBM and SUSE technologies, the company has managed to reduce the number of business departments required for system operations by 50%.
Stratmann says, “By implementing an integrated solution with SUSE Manager and SLES for SAP Applications running on IBM Power Systems with IBM Storage, we improved the performance of the technology stack by 40%. The built-in redundancy and reliability features of the IBM solutions enable scheduled maintenance without customer impact. We have not experienced any unplanned downtime in 24 months.
“SUSE, IBM and SAP enable us to grow beyond capacity and performance limitations. By using these technologies we can double our private-cloud capacity without adding more people to the team — a massive success that unlocks new business opportunities.”
The company already runs 400 instances of SLES for SAP Applications on the new IBM Power Systems servers. Thanks to SUSE Manager, OEDIV has streamlined processes across the IBM POWER and x86 architectures.
This helps the company to automate system provisioning and routine administration tasks, such as patching and upgrades across both platforms, helping the team to focus more on value-added, forward-looking consulting and optimization projects. Hingst adds, “Combining SUSE and IBM solutions with advanced automation capabilities has transformed our SAP HANA hosting business. We can provision new systems in just 30 minutes, and we can focus on customers’ business challenges instead of getting consumed with routine tasks and troubleshooting.”
Stratmann adds, “By creating a highly standardized solution for 3,000 Linux instances across x86 and IBM Power Systems platforms based on SUSE Linux and SUSE Manager, we benefit from the advantages of both architectures. We have integrated our SUSE Manager automation workflows with IBM PowerVC and have minimized fragmentation by managing all SUSE Linux instances centrally, which increased our operational efficiency and profitability.”
Running SAP HANA with SLES for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems allows OEDIV to massively consolidate its IT infrastructure, as 11 x86 servers can be replaced by a single IBM Power Systems server. More flexible resource allocations help the team to maximize the capacity utilization across all IBM Power Systems servers to increase the cost-efficiency of its IT services.
Furthermore, thanks to advanced reliability and redundancy features available on IBM Power Systems, OEDIV has cut maintenance downtime significantly, greatly enhancing service availability for customers.
Stratmann concludes, “Thanks to SUSE and IBM solutions, OEDIV benefits from scalability that just works, and from exceptionally low operating costs. We no longer have to worry about the underlying infrastructure and can focus our efforts on outstanding customer service that adds value and winning new clients.”