"We quickly realised that our IT infrastructure would be the place to start," said Falk-Oliver Bischoff, Head of IT at DRV Baden-Württemberg. "We were running CICS-COBOL applications on IBM z/OS, and the cost of licensing and maintenance was high."
The business was also running applications under SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on standalone Intel servers.
"The need to maintain numerous servers led to wasted space and power in our data centres," said Hartmut Hackert, Head of IT at DRV Knappschaft-Bahn-See. "The heterogeneous landscape also meant that we needed different development platforms, which was inefficient."
"We have been using SUSE Linux offerings for several years, so it was a simple decision to use SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE in this project too," said Bischoff. "We see SUSE as a visionary company, developing new products that help us run our IT landscape efficiently."
Because of the size and complexity of its applications, DRV initiated a two-year proof-of-concept to evaluate the benefits of migrating to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE.
"We investigated how easily we could port our applications from z/OS to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE, and ran performance tests," said Bischoff. "This demonstrated significant improvements in price-performance, so we decided to proceed with the migration."
Development teams from DRV agencies in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Saarland, and DRV Knappschaft-Bahn-See in Bochum worked with consultants from IBM to analyse 3.5 million lines of COBOL code in 2,500 applications, and port them to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE.
"IBM Global Business Services worked on the first steps for the migration of the applications to Linux," said Olaf Senger, Project Manager, IBM Global Business Services. "IBM also developed tools for the Linux environment and trained customer employees, drawing on the Linux expertise of the IBM lab in Böblingen."
DRV now runs the legacy applications on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE at locations in Würzburg and Bochum.
"Running our legacy applications on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE gives us an adequate platform for consolidating additional servers—mainly for our standalone Linux servers, but also, if possible, for suitable applications from our client-server environment. We not only save space, air-conditioning and power consumption, but also simplify the administration of these system environments within a single machine."
The cost savings are achieved through the lower licensing and support costs of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE, and the ability to leverage cost-effective z Systems IFL processors. As a result, the IT organisation expects to contribute significantly to DRV's target of 10% cost savings.
"We are currently integrating Linux services into the system environment of our network," said Bischoff. "And we also benefit from tools like the company-wide metadirectory, which is based on eDirectory™, and the centralised patch management feature."
"We also aim to achieve a stronger focus on open source," said Hackert. "We can use this platform both for the replacement of existing client/server applications and the introduction of new ones."
The flexibility and openness of Linux are also important factors for DRV. "Young people coming from the universities feel much more at home in Linux than they would in a z/OS environment," said Bischoff. "Now we have combined the classical world of mainframe systems with a more modern client-server architecture."
As a result, DRV now feels that it is in a stronger position to meet future IT requirements.
"SUSE is able to provide continuity and interoperability for legacy systems, current standards and future technology," said Hackert. "This means that we can integrate legacy systems with minimal risk, and can achieve notable cost savings."