pharm-analyt Labor GmbH wanted to improve productivity and efficiency while reducing IT costs. The company selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to run its mission-critical Oracle database for its digital archive. The migration accelerated database dumps by over 400 percent and the cost-efficient subscription model enabled pharm-analyt to standardize and simplify its server landscape. Separating IT services led to lower complexity and fewer dependencies, increasing the reliability and availability of its systems without increasing maintenance costs.
To gain a competitive advantage, pharm-analyt became one of the first independent laboratories in this highly regulated, international market to implement an electronic archive that fully complies with strict data protection and retention policies.
With the requirement to store data for up to 15 years, allowing authorities to investigate and verify all raw data, pharm-analyt needed a reliable and future-proof solution. In its efforts to reduce operating costs, pharm-analyt looked for alternatives to replace its aging Solaris server with a more cost-efficient system.
DI Dr. Reinhard Stroh, Head of Engineering and IT Department at pharm-analyt Labor GmbH said, “The costs of running our vital Oracle database for the digital archive on Solaris were growing continuously. To maintain competitiveness, we needed to reduce our IT expenditures.”
Following the recommendation of its consulting partner, pharm-analyt decided to migrate its mission-critical Oracle database from Solaris to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Subscriptions for the migration were provided by leading local distributor FRANK Robin Linux-Systems.
Reinhard Stroh said, “We selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server because of its superior efficiency—it offers faster application performance at a lower cost by comparison to other operating systems.”
Following the successful migration of pharm-analyt’s all-important Oracle database server for the electronic archive, the company started a standardization project to move its central services onto a virtualized environment. Today, pharm-analyt operates two physical servers for production workloads and one backup system.
Eight virtual machines run SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on VMware vSphere virtualization, providing flexible and reliable IT services to the specialist laboratory. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server works perfectly in combination with the VMware vSphere standard tools that pharm-analyt uses for backup and recovery.
“The migration was very smooth; it was simpler to integrate the Oracle database into our IT landscape than it was under Solaris,” said Reinhard Stroh. “Since we moved the Oracle database to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we can also upgrade to new software releases faster and benefit from new features quicker, because SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is always among the first certified operating systems.”
Migrating to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server enabled pharm-analyt to optimize its server landscape for maximum reliability. “The simple and cost-efficient subscription model helps us to make the most of our virtualized environment,” said Reinhard Stroh. “Before, we were running many services on one operating system, making our landscape complex and error-prone with many dependencies. With SUSE, we run each service in a separate virtual machine, simplifying management and increasing security and availability. Problems in one application no longer affect all other services— this is a major advantage for us.”
pharm-analyt operates eight separate virtual machines at similar maintenance costs to those for just a single Solaris server. “Thanks to SUSE, we can keep operating costs low,” said Reinhard Stroh. “And we can always rely on professional support when needed to minimize downtime and ensure business continuity.”
Easy maintenance with user-friendly tools such as YaST® and the flexible environment provided by openSUSE® on the desktop help the company manage its servers more efficiently. “We have two networks, and with openSUSE I can quickly switch between them to work on various virtual machines, saving time and effort,” said Reinhard Stroh. “Many tasks are more efficient on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. For example, we recently wanted to write a backup to an encrypted external disk. With the integrated system tools we were able to do this flexibly and quickly.”
“The migration reduced the time to create database dumps from two hours to 30 minutes—a massive improvement, even though data volume has doubled,” said Reinhard Stroh. For users, searching the comprehensive electronic archive is now faster, increasing their productivity.
“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with all its integrated tools simply allows us to get things done rapidly in a stable environment, with minimal overhead,” said Reinhard Stroh. “It is a flexible system that enables us to standardize our IT services and increase the overall reliability of our IT environment without increasing the costs.”