The company started looking for the ideal combination of operating system and hardware to support SAP ERP and took offerings from SUSE (with various x86_64 vendors) and two proprietary UNIX vendors.
Federica Dall’Ora, IT Manager, Calzedonia, said: “When building up our SAP ERP solution, we wanted to find a resilient and cost-effective operating system. We carried out a rigorous selection process and finally opted for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, as it perfectly suited our business needs.”
The choice of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, still rather innovative among Italian retail companies, was based partly on Calzedonia’s positive experience as a long-term customer of Novell and SUSE, but mostly on the solution’s technical advantages. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications is specially tuned to optimise performance, productivity and business continuity, support vast amounts of data, and reduce IT operational costs.
Dall’Ora said, “The solution’s unique technical features—SAP-optimised kernel settings for memory management, the embedded SAP-specific Java Virtual Machine and the integrated high-availability solution—as well as the highly professional and efficient support services offered were among the reasons which led us to select SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications.”
Calzedonia was also impressed by the fact that with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications the settings required by the SAP Notes are already applied when the media is released from the factory. This feature helped the retailer to ensure a smooth, error-free deployment with much less requirement for manual configuration.
The implementation started early in 2008 and the first go-live was performed in January 2009. The project was successfully designed and managed by SUSE Partner and Calzedonia technology advisor MICROLINE NETWORKS. The application server layer is virtualised on VMware ESX Server, which runs a different virtual instance of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications for each SAP application server. In addition to offering greater flexibility and more efficient use of physical server resources, this helps increase availability by isolating the applications from each other.
“Our SAP systems are very large and heavily loaded, and therefore critical for the business: any downtime would stop planning, production, invoicing and warehouse processes,” said Dall’Ora. “With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications we are achieving 99.99% uptime, and we have saved 70% on hardware acquisition costs and 90% on hardware maintenance costs.”
The SUSE solution has enabled Calzedonia to have all the data it needs at hand at all times and has allowed it to improve overall productivity and business operations. Deploying the only operating system specifically developed and optimised by SUSE for use with SAP applications has also enabled the company to benefit from integrated and on-going technical support. Calzedonia can use the SAP Solution Manager tool to request support for any part of the software stack, from the operating system up to the applications, and receive prompt, efficient and professional help from SAP and SUSE. This means that the company avoids having to diagnose where the problem sits in the stack, and eliminates the need to wait while the external vendors determine who is responsible for a particular fault.
Dall’Ora said, “Without SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, we certainly would have not been able to pursue our international expansion plans, and our business would not have grown as we wanted.”