To provide a cost-effective platform for its new SAP* ERP applications and Oracle* databases, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Ltd (FFBL) implemented SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server, running on two clustered HP* servers for SAP production. The solution provides better than 99% availability for the SAP and Oracle environment, supporting FFBL’s 24x7 manufacturing operations. SAP Solution Manager and the SAP development, quality and business-intelligence environments are also deployed on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
With rapid year-on-year growth, it became increasingly important for FFBL to standardise working practices across the company—both to improve internal efficiencies and to simplify regulatory compliance. The management team decided to implement a centralised ERP solution, choosing applications from SAP and an Oracle 10g database. “As a manufacturing company, we operate on a 24x7 basis, so we knew that the new ERP solution would need to be able to offer very high levels of availability,” said an FFBL representative. “We also wanted an infrastructure that would offer the maximum performance without requiring extensive investment in hardware. We decided to perform a full analysis of the different platforms available.”
A third important factor was technical support: FFBL recognised that SAP environments can be complex, and wanted to find a single vendor that could provide support for the entire SAP software stack. SUSE and SAP work together to provide a better customer experience. The two companies have reduced the complexity of application deployments, lowered costs and given customers a single point of contact for acquiring and supporting the complete landscape.
FFBL considered various options. From the hardware perspective, the team was keen to use standard x86-based servers to deliver the best possible performance while avoiding the expense and inflexibility of proprietary hardware.
“When looking at an x86-based architecture, there were two realistic options: we could deploy SAP on Microsoft* Windows*, or we could take the open source route and look for a suitable Linux* distribution,” said the FFBL representative. “We analysed both approaches, and found that Linux was not only more secure and reliable, but also a much more cost-effective choice—not only in terms of software licensing, but also because it required fewer servers and less powerful processors to deliver the same level of performance.” Once FFBL had decided to implement SAP on Linux, the choice of vendor was straightforward. “We consulted SAP and discovered that 75% of companies running SAP ERP on Linux are using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server,” said the FFBL representative. “SUSE works very closely with both SAP and Oracle to ensure that SUSE Linux Enterprise can offer the levels of performance and stability that complex ERP environments require. Moreover, SUSE offers a support package for SAP that is second to none among Linux vendors.”
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Priority Support for SAP Applications gives FFBL a single point of contact for support for its SAP environment, from the applications themselves down to the operating system. When a problem occurs, the SUSE team takes responsibility for resolving it—calling on resources from SAP and other vendors, if necessary. “We don’t have to worry about whether a problem is caused by the operating system, the database or the application layer—SUSE just deals with it,” said the FFBL representative. “As our SAP environment grows in size and complexity, the need for top-quality support becomes ever more important, so we are glad to have SUSE’s expertise on our side.”
FFBL worked with NDS Technologies, a Novell Partner, to deploy ten new HP servers for the SAP environment. The team used the built-in high-availability features of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 to deploy a two-node cluster for the SAP production servers. In the event of a hardware failure, the SAP applications and Oracle database on the primary server will be able to run on the standby server, maintaining availability and ensuring that users will be able to access the system at all times. “The clustered SUSE Linux Enterprise environment delivers better than 99% availability, which is critical for supporting our manufacturing operations 24x7,” said the FFBL representative. “The fact that these high-availability tools are built into the operating system is a real advantage for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, compared to other operating systems.”
The company is currently completing its SAP implementation, and continuing to work with SUSE for technical support.
“Whenever we have had any kind of problem, the response from SUSE has been prompt and effective,” said the FFBL representative. “Since so many companies run SAP on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the SUSE consultants have a lot of experience of environments like ours: as a result, the support they provide is excellent. We have built a good relationship with SUSE, and look forward to their support as we bring our new SAP environment into production.”