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Industry: Automotive
Location: United States
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Safe-Guard Products International innovates with 98% faster new server spin-up


  • Accelerates innovation with 98% faster spin-up for new servers
  • Enables exceptional service continuity through live and automated patching
  • Boosts IT ROI by providing new capabilities within the same budget


Established in 1992, Safe-Guard is the num­ber-one global provider of branded vehicle protection products in the finance and in­surance space to the automotive, RV, ma­rine and motorcycle/powersports sectors. Safe-Guard partners with leading automo­tive brands including Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Toyota and VW.


To help add direct-to-consumer sales to its existing B2B activities, Safe-Guard needs IT services that it can count on. The company migrated from Red Hat Enterprise Linux to SUSE Linux Enter­prise Server and deployed SUSE Man­ager, increasing availability and secu­rity dramatically. With these solutions and Kubernetes, Safe-Guard can now innovate faster and more easily, help­ing the company build on its industry-leading position.

The Challenge

Safe-Guard saw an opportunity to offer its unique value proposition direct to consum­ers. To avoid putting the brakes on its plans, the company decided to address frustra­tions with its existing IT infrastructure.

Michael Johnson, senior infrastructure en­gineer at Safe-Guard, says, “We’ve ex­panded rapidly over the past few years, and our growth rate will rise as we move into the B2C space. It was vital that our IT landscape was ready to support the next phase for Safe-Guard. We had spent doz­ens of hours working with external consul­tants to get our management product for Red Hat Enterprise Linux working, without a satisfactory outcome.”

With major global automotive clients re­quiring access to Safe-Guard’s systems around the clock, maintaining availability and security for core systems is always top priority for the company. As its environment grew, Safe-Guard was spending more and more time on patching and recovering un­reliable systems, which was stealing focus from business innovation.

“Before, coordinating this complexity could take us up to two weeks. Thanks to our SUSE platform, we can now complete the setup in just six hours.”

SUSE Solution

When several Red Hat Enterprise Linux sys­tems went down over a weekend, it was the final straw for Johnson, who successfully rebuilt the systems on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Having secured internal buy-in, Johnson’s team then began migrating all business-critical systems—including a large Postgres database environment and the all-important in-house contract man­agement solution—to SLES. To automate management, the company implemented SUSE Manager.

“Switching to SUSE technology was pain­less,” recalls Johnson. “We’ve migrated al­most all of our Linux-based applications to SLES, and any outliers are down to legacy application code. We were up and running with SUSE Manager in just one or two weeks, which was a huge change from our experi­ence with Satellite!”

With SUSE Manager and SUSE Linux Enter­prise Live Patching, Safe-Guard has a reli­able automated security patch cycle for the first time. As a result, the company no longer needs to take key systems offline to patch them—a challenge in the past, given they have customers in just about every global time zone.

SUSE Manager also makes it easier for Safe-Guard to manage legacy applica­tions. Where an application is dependent on non-current software components, the team can “freeze” the relevant repositories so that any new environments that are cre­ated draw seamlessly on the non-current components, avoiding compatibility issues.

Since moving to SLES, Safe-Guard has also embraced containerization, deploying Ku­bernetes as part of its environment. “Tak­ing containers into account, we now have around 4,000 instances of SLES,” comments Johnson. “Introducing Kubernetes offers our developers greater freedom to innovate, while SUSE’s Kubernetes support gives us the control we need to manage that grow­ing environment effectively.”

The Results

With greater flexibility provided by its SUSE solutions, Safe-Guard is strongly positioned to seize growth opportunities. The compa­ny can give developers the resources they need to work faster and enable better busi­ness outcomes.

“To provision resources for our developers, we have to spin up many systems at the same time,” says Johnson. “For example, setting up a new UAT (User Acceptance Testing) envi­ronment usually involves around 17 different systems! Before, coordinating this complex­ity could take us up to two weeks. Thanks to our SUSE platform, we can now complete the setup in just six hours—a huge improvement that translates into faster innovation.”

Safe-Guard has also decreased risk by bet­ter securing its systems with regular, auto­mated patch cycles—all without adding to its costs, despite very significant growth in its infrastructure.

“Switching to SUSE as our strategic provider for Linux and Kubernetes has enabled us to achieve better uptime and greater peace of mind around security,” says Johnson. “SLES is so cost-effective that we have been able to deploy SUSE Manager and Kubernetes as well, all within the same total cost of own­ership of our previous enterprise Linux plat­form.”

Safe-Guard is now free to focus on the road ahead and achieve its goal of a leading po­sition in the direct-to-consumer market.

Johnson concludes, “We aim to double in size over the next two to three years. With SUSE solutions, we’re confident that we have the right technology platform in place to make that happen.”