Founded in 1959, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is one of the largest producers of petrochemical products in India and operates over 32,000 fuel stations located across the country. As well as powering homes and businesses throughout India, IOCL exports high-quality petrochemical products to more than 70 countries.
To stay ahead in the competitive energy sector, IOCL decided to move its core business applications to SAP HANA running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications — streamlining business processes and delivering significant operational IT savings.
Powering a nation
With the crude oil market becoming increasingly volatile and governments around the world taking active steps to decarbonize energy supplies, meeting the energy needs of millions of companies and individuals is more complex than ever before.
Keen to drive innovation and build on its leading position in the Indian oil and gas sector, IOCL is constantly enhancing the systems and processes that power its extensive operations. Having relied on SAP ERP to support its key activities for many years, IOCL saw an opportunity to reduce costs and improve the performance of key business activities — from financial planning to supply chain management — by migrating its ERP solution to the SAP HANA real-time data platform.
To facilitate the move, IOCL set out to refresh its IT infrastructure to ensure excellent performance, high availability and rock-solid reliability for its new SAP HANA environment.
“For many years we used a proprietary operating system that was built-in to our hardware stack to manage and maintain our ERP solution, along with other key systems,” comments V.N.K Reddy, chief general manager at IOCL. “While this approach enabled us to keep our core applications running smoothly, it generated significant cost for the business.”
He adds: “Because we relied on a proprietary operating system, we found it increasingly hard to source IT professionals with the sophisticated skillset required to manage the solution, which in turn lengthened the hiring cycle and increased training periods. And with support for our existing operating system due to end, adopting a new solution offered a clear way to future-proof our IT infrastructure.”
“With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, we’ve seen a 30% reduction in our operating system costs, and we’ve also been able to cut our infrastructure maintenance costs by a further 30%.”
Finding the best solution
Encouraged by the positive results IOCL had already seen from running other applications on SLES, the company decided to adopt SLES for SAP Applications to support its move to SAP HANA.
Reddy explains: “Our experience of running SLES demonstrated that SUSE solutions could provide excellent performance, reliability and stability, so adopting SLES for SAP Applications as the operating system underpinning SAP HANA was an easy decision.”
He continues: “We were particularly attracted to SLES for SAP Applications because of the close partnership that exists between SUSE and SAP. And as a certified operating system for SAP HANA, we felt confident that SLES for SAP Applications would provide the optimum environment for our SAP landscape.”
To help ensure uninterrupted uptime for its critical systems, IOCL deployed SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) High Availability Extension. The company also runs SUSE Manager to simplify the monitoring and updating of its SLES landscape.
Reddy says: “We’d already used the clustering and automated failover capabilities of SLE High Availability Extension in our previous SLES environment — and the solution had proven highly effective at protecting against unplanned downtime and data loss.”
By moving to SAP HANA on SLES for SAP Applications, IOCL has unlocked impressive IT infrastructure savings, while ensuring 24/7 availability for its mission-critical systems.
Reddy explains: “With SLES for SAP Applications, we’ve seen a 30% reduction in our operating system costs, and we’ve also been able to cut our infrastructure maintenance costs by a further 30%. What’s more, by moving from a multi-OS environment to a SUSE-only landscape, we’ve saved 30% on administration costs. Ultimately, these savings release more resources for IOCL to invest in research and development activities.”
Since SLES for SAP Applications is much more user-friendly than the company’s previous operating system, IOCL has gained access to a much broader pool of IT talent.
“SLES for SAP Applications is much easier to use than our previous system, and SUSE Manager makes monitoring our SAP environment quick and simple,” says Reddy. “Because of this, we’ve slashed the time it takes to bring new hires up to speed with our system from one year with our previous environment, to just six months with SLES for SAP Applications.”
Liton Nandy, executive director (IS) at IOCL, explains: “With SLES for SAP Applications keeping our mission-critical applications running efficiently, smoothly, securely, cost-effectively and in compliance with industry standards, IOCL can focus on what we do best: supporting communities with multiple energy solutions, while innovating to meet the energy challenges of tomorrow.”
What’s next for Indian Oil Corporation Limited?
With one of India’s biggest instances of SAP HANA deployed on SLES for SAP Applications, IOCL’s future plans are firmly focused on growth.
“We already have a large IT infrastructure, with 47 SAP HANA servers having a capacity of 250TB RAM and 2250TB Storage, and we expect it to increase as data volumes grow,” says Reddy. “Thanks to SUSE solutions, we’re well placed to scale our systems quickly and easily without incurring huge costs — helping to ensure stability as our business develops in the years ahead.”
By streamlining its core business processes and driving innovation with SLES for SAP, IOCL is now even better placed to strengthen its leading position in the competitive Indian oil and gas sector and deliver excellent energy services to businesses and consumers.