Italian fashion retailer Calzedonia wanted to grow its business but its existing ERP system could not support this. The company implemented SAP ERP, with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the operating system. Calzedonia now has all the necessary data always at hand and has boosted business productivity.
Calzedonia is constantly developing ambitious plans to expand its international operations. In order to keep pace with the ever-changing world of fashion, Calzedonia wanted to have up-to-date, reliable and easy-to-handle information about its numerous sales points, production plants and customers across Europe. By collecting, storing and analysing increasing amounts of data, the company aimed to gain more thorough and detailed insights on its performance in the market and shape future actions accordingly. This would enable it to stay competitive and boost productivity. Calzedonia’s existing ERP software solution, running on an IBM AS/400 platform, was struggling to keep up with the increasing amounts of data being collected by the company, and this was beginning to impede the company’s growth plans.
Calzedonia decided to replace its existing ERP solution with a comprehensive suite of SAP ERP applications. This new landscape would help the company’s 300 to 400 internal users—located in countries around Europe—to benefit from a centralised and integrated solution.
The company started looking for the ideal combination of operating system and hardware to support SAP ERP and took offerings from SUSE (with various x86_64 vendors) and two proprietary UNIX vendors.
Federica Dall’Ora, IT Manager, Calzedonia, said: “When building up our SAP ERP solution, we wanted to find a resilient and cost-effective operating system. We carried out a rigorous selection process and finally opted for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, as it perfectly suited our business needs.”
The choice of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, still rather innovative among Italian retail companies, was based partly on Calzedonia’s positive experience as a long-term customer of Novell and SUSE, but mostly on the solution’s technical advantages. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications is specially tuned to optimise performance, productivity and business continuity, support vast amounts of data, and reduce IT operational costs.
Dall’Ora said, “The solution’s unique technical features—SAP-optimised kernel settings for memory management, the embedded SAP-specific Java Virtual Machine and the integrated high-availability solution—as well as the highly professional and efficient support services offered were among the reasons which led us to select SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications.”
Calzedonia was also impressed by the fact that with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications the settings required by the SAP Notes are already applied when the media is released from the factory. This feature helped the retailer to ensure a smooth, error-free deployment with much less requirement for manual configuration.
The implementation started early in 2008 and the first go-live was performed in January 2009. The project was successfully designed and managed by SUSE Partner and Calzedonia technology advisor MICROLINE NETWORKS. The application server layer is virtualised on VMware ESX Server, which runs a different virtual instance of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications for each SAP application server. In addition to offering greater flexibility and more efficient use of physical server resources, this helps increase availability by isolating the applications from each other.
With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, Calzedonia benefits from a scalable, reliable and flexible server infrastructure, which perfectly supports its core business SAP applications. This ensures that the company’s employees can obtain up-to-date, trusted and valuable insights on sales, products and financial performance in the international markets.
“Our SAP systems are very large and heavily loaded, and therefore critical for the business: any downtime would stop planning, production, invoicing and warehouse processes,” said Dall’Ora. “With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications we are achieving 99.99% uptime, and we have saved 70% on hardware acquisition costs and 90% on hardware maintenance costs.”
The SUSE solution has enabled Calzedonia to have all the data it needs at hand at all times and has allowed it to improve overall productivity and business operations. Deploying the only operating system specifically developed and optimised by SUSE for use with SAP applications has also enabled the company to benefit from integrated and on-going technical support. Calzedonia can use the SAP Solution Manager tool to request support for any part of the software stack, from the operating system up to the applications, and receive prompt, efficient and professional help from SAP and SUSE. This means that the company avoids having to diagnose where the problem sits in the stack, and eliminates the need to wait while the external vendors determine who is responsible for a particular fault.
Dall’Ora said, “Without SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, we certainly would have not been able to pursue our international expansion plans, and our business would not have grown as we wanted.”