The Burton Corporation Logo
Industry: Manufacturing & Engineering
Location: United States
Download Full Story

The Burton Corporation


  • Reduced overall server-related costs by 80%, compared to previous proprietary solution
  • Achieved 99.999% uptime
  • Reduced power consumption by 30%


As the leader in its industry, Burton requires high availability of its mission-critical applications, as well as the flexibility to adapt to changing market needs. Moving from UNIX to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has helped the company achieve 99.999% uptime and an 80% cost reduction, compared to its previous proprietary solution.


In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards out of his Vermont barn. Since then, Burton has fueled the growth of snowboarding worldwide through its groundbreaking product lines, its team of top snowboarders and its grassroots efforts to get the sport accepted at resorts. In 1996, Burton began growing its family of brands to include boardsports and apparel brands. Privately held and owned by Jake, Burton’s headquarters are in Burlington, Vermont with offices in California, Austria, Japan and Australia.

The Challenge

As a dynamic global enterprise, Burton operates 24/7 and requires the flexibility to react quickly to changes in the marketplace. The IT department, in particular, needs to provide consistent uptime and to be able to adapt to changing business needs.

The company’s previous HP-UX operating platform required expensive hardware and time-consuming administration. Frequent downtime was also an issue. While preparing for an upgrade of its SAP and Oracle applications, the company began evaluating a move to Linux.

"SUSE Linux Enterprise Server can take on a tremendous workload that would drive any other operating platform to its knees."

SUSE Solution

After determining that a UNIX upgrade would be cost-prohibitive, Burton evaluated several Linux distributions. The company selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a stable, reliable platform for its SAP and Oracle environment.

“It was important for us to have a Linux platform that is certified by SAP, and that was one of the compelling factors that led us to choose SUSE Linux Enterprise Server,” said Bill York, senior Linux administrator at Burton. “While snowboarders are not averse to risk, as a business, we can’t afford to take risks when it comes to our business-critical systems that need to be available at all times.”

Burton migrated all of its mission-critical systems to Dell servers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, including SAP ERP, Business Intelligence, CRM, Enterprise Portal, as well as its Oracle applications.

“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server can take on a tremendous workload that would drive any other operating platform to its knees,” said York. “Our systems run amazingly fast and are much more available and responsive than they used to be. We also no longer experience any random downtime.”

The company plans to use the built-in Xen virtualization to reduce its number of physical servers and adapt quickly to changing workloads. The ability to quickly deploy virtual servers will greatly improve the IT staff’s ability to add new applications as needed. Virtual servers will also help the team create better development and testing environments on existing hardware.

“Our entire IT staff made a smooth transition from our UNIX environment, with no need for additional training,” said York. “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is so much simpler to administer through YaST®, and we can now easily keep pace with new security enhancements.”

By moving from HP-UX and proprietary hardware to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server running on commodity hardware, Burton has greatly reduced its server-related costs which it can now re-invest in other parts of the business. The ability to leverage open source applications is helping the company to further reduce software costs.

The company is also looking into SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Priority Support for SAP Applications, a joint support offering from SAP and SUSE that includes maintenance and support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as SAP applications, with a single support entry point.

“Our experience with SUSE support has been incredible,” said York.“ We really take advantage of the SUSE website to get technical information, tips and tricks from the experts, and to check out the Cool Solutions site.”

The Results

Moving its mission-critical SAP and Oracle environments to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has helped Burton reduce overall server-related costs by 80% compared to its previous proprietary solution. The ability to use commodity servers has not only significantly reduced the company’s hardware costs, but has also reduced its power consumption by 30%.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has helped the company reduce administrative time and costs by 40%. Simplified administration and consistent uptime has also reduced the time spent supporting users by 25%. Overall, the company enjoys 99.999% uptime.

“Since moving to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, our uptime has been insane,” said York. “We have some servers that have gone two years before being rebooted. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server keeps us nimble and flexible, so we’re better able to meet the demands of the business and react quickly to a changing marketplace. Particularly in today’s economy, flexibility is critical.”