As its manufacturing operations continued to grow, Consol Glass found it increasingly challenging and costly to guarantee the smooth running of its extensive SAP application landscape. By migrating to the T-Systems Dynamic Cloud Platform and running SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server as its strategic operating system, the company has maximized performance and uptime for vital business systems, while cutting IT operational costs by approximately 25 percent.
Consol Glass produces up to a million tons of glass annually—the equivalent of around 4 billion glass containers. To gain a clear view of its supply chain across multiple locations and ensure that processes run efficiently at all times, the company relies on a comprehensive suite of SAP ERP, logistics and analytics applications.
“We serve many fast-moving consumer goods companies, who work on a just-in-time basis and expect us to stick to very precise delivery schedules,” said Johan du Plessis, IT Director at Consol Glass. “Our SAP systems play a critical role in ensuring that we deliver the right products at the right time, and we cannot afford even minor errors or downtime.” Previously, Consol Glass ran SAP applications in a virtualized environment at its own data center. With operations expanding rapidly, the company found that it was becoming increasingly costly and complex to guarantee the high levels of performance and availability demanded by the business.
“Even though we were running a virtualized environment, we were beginning to hit the upper limit of our available capacity, which prevented us from reacting flexibly to the needs of the business,” said du Plessis. “We started to look for a new operating mode, which would allow us to lower IT costs, improve availability, increase flexibility and cut time-to-market for new solutions.”
Consol Glass decided to migrate its SAP applications and other business systems to a private cloud infrastructure, selecting long-term IT partner T-Systems as its cloud service provider.
“It was evident that T-Systems had a long history of supplying cloud services to customers on a global basis,” said du Plessis. “Moving to a highly standardized, enterprise-grade cloud architecture, backed by a strong provider like T-Systems, would give us the reliability and availability that we were looking for, and all at an attractive price point.”
The T-Systems Dynamic Cloud Platform is based on Intel architecture servers, featuring VMware virtualization technology and running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
Alan Collins, Emerging Products Architect: Cloud & Big Data at T-Systems South Africa, said, “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server acts as the strategic operating system for our Dynamic Cloud Platform. Industry research suggests that around 70 percent of all SAP on Linux environments run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, so we want to follow that trend.”
“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is also the only operating system optimized for all SAP software solutions and the collaboration and integration between SAP and SUSE is very strong. It gives us a huge amount of confidence that our cloud platform is based on such a robust and optimized operating system.”
By moving from an on premise computing environment to a cloud computing platform, Consol Glass has significantly reduced the time and effort spent on IT administration, and achieved impressive cost savings.
Du Plessis said, “From a total cost of ownership perspective, we saved around 25 percent on IT operational costs over a period of two years by moving to the T-Systems Dynamic Cloud Platform, running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.”
The combination of the T-Systems cloud platform and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server provides Consol Glass with a highly reliable and available platform that maximizes uptime for critical SAP applications. In the first year, the platform experienced just five minutes of downtime (or 99.999% uptime).
The flexibility of the cloud model makes it easy for Consol Glass to dynamically scale compute and storage resources up or down as its requirements change, while providing near-limitless capacity for the company to grow without impacting its capital budget.
“The flexibility we have gained by moving to a cloud platform allows us to better support our growing business,” said du Plessis.
“And the rock-solid reliability we get from running our applications on a highly secure, top-of-the-line cloud platform gives us total peace of mind.
“When it comes to glass, at Consol we believe that we make the best in the world. When it comes to operating systems, I believe that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the best for cloud solutions.”
At a Glance
The largest manufacturer of glass containers in Africa, producing up to one million tons of glass annually
- Saved, approximately, 25 percent on IT operating costs by migrating to a cloud environment
- Reached 99.999 percent availability for business-critical SAP applications
- Increased flexibility to react faster to changing market conditions
Africa’s largest manufacturer of glass containers, Consol Glass produces everything from drinks containers for international beverage companies to glass containers for the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries. The company operates four manufacturing facilities and employs more than 1,800 people.