Coop Group is a leading retailer, wholesaler and food producer, with more than 2,300 stores and outlets in Switzerland and in numerous other European countries. The group has a strategic focus on advanced logistics to support its ambitious sustainability strategy and to reduce food waste.
Relying on advanced logistics to reach sustainability targets and reduce food waste, Coop Group needed dependable, high-speed access to insights from its SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications providing a stable platform, and with SUSE Manager automating server management and configuration, Coop Group is now able to maximize the efficiency of its SAP landscape, resulting in more sustainable operations.
Digital processes: the only way to achieve sustainability targets
To hit its ambitious sustainability targets and become a carbon-neutral business by 2050, Coop Group relies heavily on tightly integrated and finely tuned business processes.
Christoph Kalt, IT architect at Coop Group, says: “With rapid growth, our resource requirements are increasing on average by 20% per year. We can only achieve our vision of more sustainable operations by enabling more efficient digital processes.”
To this end, Coop Group is working with SUSE, IBM and SAP as key strategic suppliers. The company’s SAP applications (which manage many aspects of its business) run on SLES for SAP Applications atop IBM Power servers, with SUSE Manager helping to streamline systems management.
“With the high-speed digital processes that SUSE Manager enables for our high-performance SAP environment, we have the platform we need to support our sustainability goals, helping us streamline our processes and reduce the environmental impact of nationwide retail logistics.”
The impact: SLES for SAP Applications
Optimizes logistics and reduces food waste via faster decision making
Moving to SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA on SLES for SAP Applications atop IBM Power10 servers has given Coop Group the real-time insights it needs to make faster decisions to optimize its logistics operations and retail processes.
Boosts user satisfaction with consistent application performance
“SAP S/4HANA running on IBM Power10 with SLES for SAP Applications has accelerated some tasks by 30% — a testament to the improved performance of IBM Power10,” confirms Michel Rodel, head of system technology Unix solutions at Coop Group. “Our SAP S/4HANA applications are not only 30% faster on average, but end-user application performance is also more consistent, improving user satisfaction.”
The impact: SUSE Manager
Simplifies management of diverse systems
Coop Group uses SUSE Manager to manage 40 production systems supporting SAP S/4HANA business applications, SAP BW/4HANA analytics platforms and SAP HANA databases running on IBM Power. The group also uses SUSE Manager to control approximately 3,000 VMware virtual machines running on Intel-architecture servers.
SUSE Manager leverages Salt, an open source configuration tool that enables organizations to define their software infrastructure as descriptive code, facilitating updates and automation initiatives. Coop Group’s satisfaction with the combination of SUSE Manager and Salt is evident from its decision to use Salt for its AIX environment, too.
“SUSE Manager and Salt offer us valuable features and a clean user interface out of the box,” says Rodel. “The ability to manage Linux on Power and x86 with a single solution is very attractive. And by using Salt for AIX on Power, we can further harmonize configuration management across systems.”
Increases standardization, productivity and service quality
SUSE Manager has kick-started a cultural transformation at Coop Group. The IT team is fully behind a future-proof and scalable DevOps approach that helps the company handle a growing number of systems and applications.
“Our server footprint is increasing by about 10% each year. Thanks to SUSE Manager, my team can run this growing number of servers without adding more staff,” remarks Rodel. “Our productivity is higher, and increased standardization helps the team to manage more servers and maintain our high service quality.”
Increases security with universally applied configuration templates
By adopting configuration templates, Coop Group can apply its Infrastructure-as-Code paradigm (defining and managing infrastructure using machine-readable definition files) more widely, including to more systems and applications.
“We simply define what our systems should look like, and SUSE Manager and Salt Configuration Management do the rest,” says Rodel. “We no longer need to manually fix configurations or adjust systems that have drifted away from our default setup. And because we can roll out updates and patches faster, SUSE Manager and Salt make our systems more secure and better protected against cyber threats.”
What’s next for Coop Group?
The next stage in standardization will be to extend the use of Salt and SUSE Manager. “We will deploy Salt to systems running on the IBM AIX operating system,” explains Rodel. “This step will bring all major business systems infrastructure under the control of Salt configuration management tools.”
Coop Group will continue to build on its successful adoption and expansion of SUSE Manager to automate systems management at scale.
Kalt concludes: “With the high-speed digital processes that SUSE Manager enables for our high-performance SAP environment, we have the platform we need to support our sustainability goals, helping us streamline our processes and reduce the environmental impact of nationwide retail logistics.”