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Industry: Manufacturing & Engineering
Location: Germany
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Bosch Group boosts automation and productivity with digital transformation processes


  • Reduces time spent on routine administration tasks substantially despite doubling the number of instances
  • Streamlines SAP HANA operations with integrated management and support
  • Maximizes availability and business continuity of SAP HANA environments through innovative technology solutions


Bosch Group (Robert Bosch GmbH) is a leading global supplier of technology and services headquartered in Stuttgart, Ger­many. The company offers solutions in four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industri­al Technology, Consumer Goods, and Ener­gy and Building Technology. Bosch employs more than 400,000 people in 60 countries and reports annual sales of 78.1 billion euros.

To keep delivering innovative products for an increasingly connected world, Bosch focuses on the Internet of Things (IoT) and develops IoT solutions for smart homes, cit­ies, connected mobility and Industry 4.0.


Aligning its strategy with digital trans­formation processes, Bosch Group is focusing on innovative, service-based business models and the Internet of Things (IoT). To offer new services, the company needed the ability to inte­grate with business applications that support real-time analytics. To achieve this, Bosch deployed the SAP HANA in-memory database using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems in combination with SUSE Manager to boost automa­tion and productivity.

The Challenge

Embracing a connected future

Taking advantage of the digital transforma­tion happening across all industries, Bosch wants to build on its high quality solutions and expand its offerings with new, digital ser­vices. Dr. Elmar Pritsch, CIO at Bosch Group says, “The importance of IT solutions in the connected world continues to grow, be­cause they are becoming an essential part of the products and their related services. This is why we have systematically realigned our in-house IT division over the past several months. We used to primarily ensure efficient in-house IT infrastructure, but today, we are focusing more on advancing digital business models created by Bosch.”

Getting ready for closer IT integration

With IT playing an ever more important role in Bosch’s business strategy around new digital services, the IT division needed to adapt to new challenges and to gain the ability to offer cutting-edge technology so­lutions more flexibly. The new online servic­es must be integrated with core business processes and master data stored in ERP systems. To enable this, the IT division had to create the foundations that would allow the company to offer connected solutions that can interact quickly and seamlessly with business applications.

Volker Fischer, senior manager of server services for AIX and Linux at Bosch Group, says, “To support all of our business sectors in developing innovative business models for the future, in integrating their new offer­ings into existing ERP systems easily and in leveraging advanced new data analytics tools, we needed to refresh our infrastruc­ture with the latest technologies such as the SAP HANA in-memory database. And in preparation for our broader transforma­tion initiative at Bosch, we also needed to improve the scalability of our infrastruc­ture.”

“The SUSE support is second to none—thanks to the close collaboration between SUSE, SAP and IBM, we get quick and comprehensive responses from the support team and can keep our systems running reliably.”

SUSE Solution

Running SAP HANA on IBM power systems

To streamline IT operations around its core business systems, Bosch runs all SAP ap­plications centrally. This also means that all subsidiaries around the world rely on the availability of the central SAP applications to do their business. Given the growing im­portance of IT, the company requires reli­able processes to ensure business conti­nuity for all systems, including its new SAP HANA databases.

Bosch had already gained practical ex­perience with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications from running 100 such systems for the SAP Business Ware­house Accelerator. When business sectors started asking for SAP HANA, the team de­cided that it wanted to use IBM Power Sys­tems as a reliable infrastructure platform, which would also align the SAP HANA in­stances with its main SAP ERP application servers on a common platform. The com­pany looked at the available options and quickly selected SLES for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems.

Fischer explains, “With SLES for SAP Appli­cations being the leading operating sys­tem for SAP HANA, especially on IBM Power Systems, it was not difficult to get all of our internal clients on board. And since we had been using SLES for SAP Applications on x86 servers for many years, we were convinced that the outstanding stability and reliability of this operating system—specifically op­timized for SAP software—would help us to expand our service portfolio while keeping the administration workload low.”

Taking advantage of a tailored operating system

SLES for SAP Applications is an operating system created through joint development by SAP and SUSE; validated and certified by SAP across different platforms, including IBM Power Systems. A dedicated SUSE up­date channel ensures that all patches, fixes and updates have been thoroughly tested to work smoothly with SAP applications to deliver the best possible performance and reliability. In particular, the dedicated up­date channel helps to eliminate any poten­tial disruptions in service, enabling enter­prises to apply patches without concerns about impacting the stability of their most mission-critical systems. In addition, SUSE has worked with SAP to include a range of optimizations specifically for SAP software. For example, SUSE has developed the Page Cache Management for SLES for SAP Ap­plications to give users full control of page caching. The page cache limit kernel pa­rameter helps Bosch to run a performance-optimized operating system and keep mission-critical SAP applications fast at all times.

During the simple installation routine, the operating system also applies best-prac­tice performance configurations for SAP HANA systems automatically. SUSE also continuously works to further increase se­curity, including in-memory system securi­ty hardening techniques. SLES for SAP Appli­cations includes a comprehensive security package to protect SAP HANA systems from all kinds of security incidents.

Deploying a complete solution

It highlights the capability of SUSE solutions, that although the majority of Bosch’s more than 1,000 SAP systems currently use oth­er operating systems and databases, the company’s 80 SAP HANA databases run ex­clusively on SLES for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems. To meet the performance requirements of new services enabled by IoT solutions as well as the growing inter­est in real-time data processing, more and more divisions at Bosch are starting to look at the SAP HANA in-memory database. Fischer confirms, “At the moment, we have 16 large IBM Power Systems E880 servers running SAP HANA. Using IBM PowerVM vir­tualization, we run SLES for SAP Applications and the IBM AIX operating system side by side on the same platform to leverage our management infrastructure and platform knowledge, and to use our resources effi­ciently.”

Thanks to this flexible virtualization solution, Bosch has complete freedom of choice about where to run its SAP HANA databas­es and can maximize resource utilization. The company can also avoid downtime by moving systems from one physical server to another easily if necessary—for exam­ple, during planned server maintenance or hardware infrastructure component up­grades.

Another reason for Bosch’s selection of SLES for SAP Applications was its seam­less integration with SUSE Manager—an IT infrastructure management solution that helps Bosch keep its servers up to date by streamlining and automating system ad­ministration tasks.

To be able to offer its internal clients maxi­mum business continuity when necessary and minimize unplanned downtime, the team also installed SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) High Availability Extension, which is included with SLES for SAP Applications. Based on mature, industry-leading, open-source high-availability clustering technol­ogies, SLE High Availability Extension offers easy and fast setup of SAP HANA clusters. It simplifies cluster management and offers a graphical user interface for user-friendly monitoring of the clustered environment. Should a business sector request it, Bosch can now easily deploy a complete high-availability solution for SAP HANA.

The Results

Benefiting from top performance and support

By choosing SLES for SAP Applications to run SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems, Bosch is taking advantage of a successful partner­ship between three major IT vendors. Fischer remarks, “The SUSE support is second to none—thanks to the close collaboration be­tween SUSE, SAP and IBM, we get quick and comprehensive responses from the sup­port team and can keep our systems run­ning reliably. Furthermore, the inclusion of SUSE Extended Support Pack Overlay Sup­port gives us additional security against critical vulnerabilities and helps us facili­tate long-term IT infrastructure planning to increase the stability of our deployments.”

To streamline its server operations, Bosch also wanted to deploy SUSE Manager on IBM Power Systems. Fischer confirms, “It was important for us to run the manage­ment solution on the same platform as our SAP HANA databases. SUSE was very flexible and made SUSE Manager available on IBM Power Systems rapidly, helping us to lever­age our existing infrastructure.”

Saving time with integrated management

Thanks to the simple user interface and comprehensive set of features, Bosch can automate many routine system adminis­tration tasks with SUSE Manager.

Fischer elaborates, “SUSE Manager has had a significant impact on the workload of our administration team. When we started us­ing SLES for SAP Applications, we did not immediately use SUSE Manager. The man­ual workload to keep our 100 instances up­dated was immense: one member of our team was almost exclusively working on routine administration and patching tasks. With our move towards SAP HANA, we also implemented SUSE Manager with a single installation that integrates both our physi­cal servers on x86 and our virtualized sys­tems running in logical partitions on IBM Power Systems. Today with SUSE Manager, we have doubled the number of instances but substantially reduced the time needed for the management of the systems, free­ing up resources we can use to create ad­ditional value for our internal clients and expand our services, instead of just keep­ing operations running.”

Automating systems management for SAP HANA allows Bosch to decide about the fu­ture of its 1,000 SAP systems without limita­tions, since the existing IT team can easily scale up the operational processes to in­clude many more SAP HANA systems.

Gaining flexibility to optimize operations

Running SAP HANA with SLES for SAP Appli­cations on IBM Power Systems gives Bosch the flexibility to combine scale-up and scale-out configurations based on the in­dividual business needs. The company runs scale up environments with up to eight terabytes and scale out solutions with up to five nodes and five terabytes per node.

Bosch has also already evaluated SLE Live Patching for IBM Power Systems and plans to put it into production soon. Fischer notes, “SUSE was the first to bring Linux live patch­ing to IBM Power Systems. We have tested it with the goal of maximizing availability further and improving business continuity, and we’re planning to start using this brand new, cutting-edge feature in production. It will allow us to apply patches to the Linux kernel without rebooting our systems and keep our applications running smoothly to get even closer to zero-downtime deploy­ments.”

By deploying SLES for SAP Applications on IBM Power Systems, Bosch has created a stable platform for the future. Fischer con­cludes, “SUSE has become a very valuable partner to us. Thanks to the close collabo­ration between SUSE, SAP and IBM, we can now respond quickly to new requirements from the business. Since our strategy is to add more and more digital services and integrate our products with IoT solutions, it is essential that with SLES for SAP Applica­tions on IBM Power Systems, we are ready for these real-time analytics and growth challenges.”

Looking at the broader picture, Dr. Pritsch states, “IT is an essential part of the prod­ucts and services of tomorrow. Digital busi­ness models require an IT infrastructure that is powerful, scalable, open and secure at the same time.”