Greenpanel became an independent business in 2019 and has grown to become one of India’s largest manufacturers of wood panels. With two state-of-the-art manufacturing plants strategically located in Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh, Greenpanel makes top-quality medium density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, veneers, flooring and doors. The company delivers a wide range of products efficiently to customers, via a robust distribution network of more than 3,000-plus outlets spread across the country.
When Greenpanel separated from its parent company, it wanted to enhance its supply chain and reduce manufacturing costs for greater efficiency. To that end, it needed an optimized platform for its SAP ERP and SAP HANA database environment, both to meet internal demand for fast insight and to keep production and logistics processes running smoothly. To avoid high licensing costs and vendor lock-in, the company favored an open source option, and chose SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications to run on its Dell hyperconverged hardware. Tuned for the specific requirements of SAP software, SLES for SAP Applications gives Greenpanel real-time performance for SAP queries as well as saving around 40% on licensing costs.
Open source for a flexible future
When it separated from its parent company, Greenpanel took control of its own destiny. On the business side, the company was keen to cut its manufacturing costs and improve service levels by strengthening the supply chain. The key aim was to improve the integration of the supply chain with manufacturing, so that the company could avoid manufacturing too much or too little of a given product as demand levels fluctuated.
Dr. Vineet Bansal, CIO of Greenpanel, explains: “It was clear that gaining real-time stock visibility would improve our control over manufacturing and reduce our costs. We recognized that the SAP HANA in-memory database technology would give us this real-time capability, and this became the cornerstone of our plans for the SAP landscape.”
To run its SAP applications and SAP HANA database efficiently on a new hyperconverged Dell server platform, Greenpanel needed an operating system that could offer both high performance and high availability. The company was convinced that an open source operating system would be a smarter choice than a proprietary platform.
“Relying on proprietary software creates too much risk of being locked into a single vendor, and the licensing costs can be significant,” says Dr. Bansal. “We wanted to be able to take full advantage of our hyperconverged infrastructure and have the freedom to upgrade our hardware to improve performance, without worrying about our software licenses increasing every time we add more cores.”
SAP HANA offers near real-time analysis of enormous data sets – enabling business users to make informed decisions that drive greater customer satisfaction and higher profitability. However, the software needs a powerful platform to achieve this. “To get the most out of SAP HANA, you need a platform that can make effective use of large amounts of memory,” says Dr. Bansal. “Clustering for high availability is important, too.”
“With other enterprise Linux vendors, if you want high availability, you have to pay for multiple extra features. With SLES for SAP Applications, there’s just one high availability extension, and the web-based wizard makes it easy to set up a cluster.”
Following an RFP process, Greenpanel selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications as the operating system for its SAP ERP application and SAP HANA database platform.
“SLES for SAP Applications was one of the few operating systems that could meet all our requirements,” says Dr. Bansal. “Linux is open source, so we are not locked in, and SUSE’s unlimited licensing for VMware means we can run as many virtual machines as we want. This is important for large SAP environments like ours, which require multiple test and development VMs, as well as multiple production VMs.”
Greenpanel manufactures and ships goods around the clock, and any downtime in its factories represents enormous lost opportunities. SUSE’s superior high availability capabilities are therefore very important to the business.
“With other enterprise Linux vendors, if you want high availability, you have to pay for multiple extra features,” says Dr. Bansal. “With SLES for SAP Applications, there’s a single, fully integrated route to high availability, and the web-based wizard makes it easy to set up a cluster.”
The SAP-certified SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension incorporates not only a clustering solution for application servers, but also solutions for high-availability storage and network load-balancing.
Game-changing performance and manageability
Greenpanel’s IT team completed the implementation of SLES for SAP Applications in just one weekend. First, they set up a standalone instance and then configured a cluster for high availability. Once the environment was up and running, the team spent one week on testing and stabilization before moving its SAP landscape into production.
“The implementation was quick and easy, and supporting the environment is simple, too,” says Dr. Bansal. “SLES for SAP Applications is certified by SAP, and we can manage the operating system directly through SAP Solution Manager. Moreover, if we need technical support, we can go directly to SAP, and they will bring in SUSE experts, if needed, so we have a clear support path.”
Because the kernel of SLES for SAP Applications is specifically tuned for running SAP workloads, performance is excellent. By making larger amounts of memory available for the SAP applications, the operating system gives Greenpanel faster response speeds and better transactional performance. This means that business users can find information and gain insight faster and more easily, and that the company’s manufacturing and logistics systems are always available to serve customer needs.
Dr. Bansal concludes: “SAP HANA has been a game-changer for performance, enabling us to analyze business data in real time. SLES for SAP Applications helps us get the most out of our SAP HANA environment, while making the most effective use of our hyperconverged infrastructure.
“Moreover, as an open operating system, SLES for SAP Applications frees us from lock-in and empowers us to scale our hardware when we need more performance, without worrying about increased licensing costs. We estimate that we’re saving around 40% on software licensing whenever we upgrade our hyperconverged infrastructure.”