GRAWE Group Logo
Industry: Banking & Financial Services
Location: Austria
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GRAWE Group

Highlights

  • Eliminated the time-consuming task of updating servers individually, improving productivity by 20%
  • Accelerated the deployment of new systems by 40%
  • Increased visibility of the server landscape, providing an instant overview for system administrators

Products

GRAWE Group, a rapidly growing financial services and insurance company, wanted to find an easier way to support an increasing number of business applications and services. The company deployed SUSE Manager to centralize the administration of 50 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server instances, and free its IT team from routine manual tasks. As a result, the group has accelerated its system update process by 20% and cut deployment time for new servers by 40%.

Overview

GRAWE Group is a multinational financial services and insurance company headquartered in Graz, Austria. The company is the sixth largest insurer in Austria and operates there under the name Grazer Wechselseitige Versicherung.

The group’s 4,500 employees manage almost 2 million insurance policies for customers in 13 countries including Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia, Macedonia and Kosovo. GRAWE Group achieves an annual premium income of €490 million.

The Challenge

Over the years, GRAWE Group has grown its business by entering new markets and countries. This growth has been reflected in the company’s IT landscape, which has expanded from six Linux servers to 50. To run its IT operations more efficiently, GRAWE Group wanted to streamline its server management processes.

Michael Royer, IT Infrastructure at GRAWE Group said, “We have a small team, so we need to focus on reducing the amount of manual, repetitive tasks to increase our productivity. To maintain flexibility and agility, we also wanted to standardize server management, so that any team member would be able to support any server.”

“The ability to group servers together helps us manage our IT landscape very efficiently, eliminating the time-consuming task of manually updating every single server. And the integrated roll-back functionality allows us to return to the previous configuration instantly if necessary.”

SUSE Solution

GRAWE Group uses SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to run dedicated systems on 15 physical servers. It also runs 35 additional SUSE Linux Enterprise Server instances on virtual machines in a large VMware environment.

Michael Royer said, “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provides great performance and reliability for a wide range of applications. Our core insurance application runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.”

GRAWE Group values the flexibility and ease-of-use of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which makes it the company’s preferred choice for agile deployments of innovative web applications.

Michael Royer said, “In our experience, Linux often provides more flexible configuration options. Open source software also accelerates disaster recovery, because you can dig much deeper into the system to identify and fix potential issues.”

GRAWE Group worked together with SUSE partner Hofstädtler Industrie-Electronic GmbH and decided to deploy SUSE Manager to streamline server management of all 50 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server instances.

Michael Royer said, “We are now planning to integrate information from SUSE Manager with the open source system monitoring software Icinga. SUSE Manager’s powerful API means we can leverage patch-level information in our monitoring solution—a much better level of integration than we had before.”

GRAWE Group is also very satisfied with the level of support from SUSE. Whenever the company has opened a support request, it has received a quick response—minimizing the impact on the company’s business operations.

The Results

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provides very high system availability for GRAWE Group. Most patches do not require reboots, which helps to increase total uptime. In addition, patch installation rarely requires any reconfiguration or optimization; with other operating systems, issues and failures after an update are more common and laborious to deal with.

GRAWE Group uses SUSE Manager to define groups of servers, enabling the company to deploy patches and configurations to an entire group at the touch of a button. With SUSE Manager as a central point of control, GRAWE Group can distribute applications to relevant servers safely and quickly, easing the burden of managing each server individually.

Michael Royer explained, “The ability to group servers together helps us manage our IT landscape very efficiently, eliminating the time-consuming task of manually updating every single server. And the integrated roll-back functionality allows us to return to the previous configuration instantly if necessary.

“All this can be controlled via a modern, easy-to-use web interface, helping our team of system administrators to share the work, and even stand in for colleagues during holidays.”

GRAWE Group also uses SUSE Manager in combination with pre-configured AutoYaST scripts to automatically set up new servers, saving the company 40% of the time it spends on each new install.

Michael Royer said, “Thanks to SUSE Manager and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we can provide reliable IT services to the entire group with a small team. Since we implemented SUSE Manager, our staff can work more productively and focus on business challenges instead of routine tasks.”