Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, the European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s intergovernmental organization for space activities and exploration. ESA employs approximately 2,200 people across 22 member states and has an annual budget in excess of $5 billion.
The European Space Agency (ESA) knows that if it is to stay at the leading edge of global space activities, it needs to ensure maximum efficiency of all operations and cut unnecessary costs. Having identified its financial processes as an area for improvement, ESA deployed SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which boosts efficiency, slashes system maintenance costs by 40% in year one, and cuts energy and cooling costs by eliminating 150 physical servers.
Developing state-of-the-art aerospace facilities that keep Europe at the leading edge of global space activities is no easy task. The European Space Agency (ESA) knows well that if it is to deliver on its mission, it needs to ensure maximum efficiency of all operations and cut unnecessary costs.
ESA identified its financial processes as an area that would benefit from improvement, as Mauro Del Giudice, application infrastructure service manager at ESA, states, “Our financial applications, most of which are based on SAP, were running on a heterogeneous environment of different operating systems, which was becoming costly to maintain and was hindering the smooth performance of IT operations.”
While ESA’s financial applications are not strictly mission-critical, the organization aimed at providing its staff with best-in-class technology to perform their daily tasks—from invoicing to accounting and supplier payments.
“In order to maximize the efficiency of the IT department while keeping costs at a minimum, we knew that comprehensive system consolidation and harmonization were paramount,” says Del Giudice.
“Choosing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications was practically a guarantee of success for our SAP ERP migration.”
Because the majority of its financial applications are based on SAP ERP software, ESA worked closely with SAP to assess several operating systems and decide which would be best suited to virtualize its applications.
Following the assessments, ESA chose to migrate its financial applications—both SAP and non-SAP—to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications. The organization also deployed SUSE Manager for complete lifecycle management of its Linux servers, and SLES Priority Support for enterprise-class, seamless and integrated support for its entire SAP stack.
“Choosing SLES for SAP Applications was practically a guarantee of success for our SAP ERP migration,” says Del Giudice. “In addition, SUSE’s targeted support for SAP has a much longer duration compared to other providers, meaning that we can count on long-term, specialized assistance even for non-current versions of SAP software.”
Using SLES for SAP Applications gives ESA a robust, reliable and highly available technology foundation for its financial applications.
Del Giudice says, “Relying on a platform like SUSE Linux Enterprise is crucial to allow ESA to carry out its wide range of financial tasks smoothly. Whether we need to invoice a supplier or want to track payments and perform spend or other financial analysis, SUSE Linux gives us the peace of mind that we can do that rapidly, securely and reliably.”
ESA leverages SUSE Manager to automatically provision virtual servers, perform complete IT inventory, boost system security and monitor and deploy patches and updates quickly and consistently.
“Besides the excellent technology, we are also taking advantage of SLES Priority Support for SAP applications. This enables us to receive the enterprise-class support that we need from both SUSE and SAP. Having fine-tuned, end-to-end assistance for our SAP landscape is crucial, and SUSE’s support offers just that,” says Del Giudice.
With the SUSE solution in place, ESA has achieved its initial goals of centralizing, consolidating and harmonizing its heterogeneous systems while slashing costs.
Del Giudice says, “By deploying SUSE as our main operating system, we gained full consolidation of IT operations while cutting maintenance costs by 40%. This allows us to carry out our financial processes much faster and more accurately, without being held back by the need to manage and maintain a heterogeneous environment of many different systems, which would often slow down business processes in the past.”
By leveraging virtualization technologies, ESA eliminated approximately 150 physical servers and currently deploys a fully virtualized environment of 500 servers running on X86-based hardware.
Del Giudice says, “Eliminating so many physical machines has enabled us to cut energy and cooling costs by 10%, a great additional benefit.”
He concludes, “With best-in-class technology and tailored support, SUSE delivered all we needed to make this migration project an all-round success.”