Bayer Business Services Migrates Mission-Critical SAP Landscape from AIX to Red Hat

September 5, 2013

Bayer Business Services, the Bayer Group’s global competence center for IT and business services, was looking for a way to reduce costs while maintaining the quality of its mission-critical SAP infrastructure.

Customer: Bayer Business Services

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers the stability, flexibility, and performance necessary to power the next generation of computing applications...” Sven Meissner, Linux operation manager at Bayer Business Services in Leverkusen

Red Hat Business Partner: SAP
Industry: Other
Geography: EMEA
Country: Germany


Business Challenge:

Bayer Business Services, the Bayer Group’s global competence center for IT and business services, was looking for a way to reduce costs while maintaining the quality of its mission-critical SAP infrastructure.

Migration Path:

Bayer chose to migrate from AIX, a proprietary UNIX operating system, to Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SAP

Hardware:

50 HP rack servers of various levels of performance

Benefits:

Bayer chose to migrate from AIX, a proprietary UNIX operating system, to Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® and substituted IBM servers running on proprietary software with standards-based x86-servers. With this dual solution approach, Bayer Business Services improved performance at a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

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Background:

Bayer Business Services is the global competence center for IT and business services of the Bayer Group. Some 4,900 employees throughout the world support the Bayer Group’s business processes in the most efficient way. Bayer Business Services offers Bayer companies competitive and innovative services wherever and whenever they need them and is active in four core areas: IT infrastructure and applications, procurement and trade services, personnel and management services, and finance and accounting.

Business Challenge:

High TCO of proprietary solutions

Until a few years ago, paying more of a premium for proprietary hardware and software licenses seemed necessary to achieve a superior level of performance. And during the recent 2005-‘08 economic upswing, many IT departments enjoyed access to extensive resources. All that changed rather abruptly in 2009 because the financial crisis caused IT expenditure to come under serious scrutiny. IT departments and IT service providers were forced to look closely at their bottom line and comb their data centers for potential ways to save money.

Bayer Business Services underwent a similar journey. Although the concept of creating efficiencies and saving money via consolidation and virtualization have existed for a few years, the company was forced to realign existing infrastructure. Their existing infrastructure solution had been in use since the previous decade, and mission-critical SAP applications were running on proprietary servers with the UNIX operating system, AIX.
 

Solution:

Exit strategy for legacy systems

Bayer Business Services is the Bayer Group’s global competence center for IT and business services. Not only did it need to reduce costs, Bayer Business Services also wanted to continue delivering innovative solutions to Bayer’s subsidiaries. So, after more than a decade using SAP applications on a proprietary operating system (AIX running on IBM servers), it decided to implement a future-proof solution with x86-servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

“There are two central requirements of the migration project,” explained Sven Meissner, Linux operation manager at Bayer Business Services in Leverkusen. “The first is maintaining the quality of the infrastructure and solutions, and - whenever possible - increasing reliability, availability and performance. The second is cost reduction. These goals are achieved by replacing IBM AIX UNIX servers with x86-servers and by migrating all SAP systems from AIX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”

“When the UNIX system from IBM reached the end of its life cycle, the opportunity presented itself to turn away from proprietary technologies altogether,” explains Meissner. “The main consideration here is cost reduction, which affects two major categories of activity: procurement costs and recurring maintenance expenditures. x86-servers running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux offered significant cost savings.”

Bayer Business Services had been using open source solutions on about 300 servers to support e-business applications, so it was able to draw on in-house experience when it opted for Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the server operating system. “The operating system proved to be incredibly stable and reliable for years on end, and Red Hat has always been a very reliable, professional, and cooperative partner,” explained Meissner.

Benefits:

Higher performance. Lower TCO.

The migration began in October 2009, and the team migrated less critical systems first. Once this initial phase was completed, the series of SAP systems requiring six-core or ten-core processors was introduced to achieve the same SAP Application Performance Standard (SAPS) performance as the previous AIX servers. SAPS is an indicator used to describe performance. It is derived from the SD Benchmark (Sales and Distribution), which executes a series of processing steps in the SD module of the SAP system. A value of 100 SAPS is defined as 2,000 fully processed order line items per hour in a given configuration.

One of the higher performing systems is an HP-DL580-G7 server. This rack system is equipped with four CPUs (each with ten processor cores), 1 TB RAM, and running on VMware vSphere 5 as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. With all this power, the system can achieve about 42,000 SAPS. This indicator is of central importance in calculating the available functions, as the business units of the Bayer Group continue to purchase SAPS as the unit of measurement for the required computing power.

“The solution as a whole is what we’re looking at, but the operating system is a very important factor in its overall success. Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers the stability, flexibility, and performance necessary to power the next generation of computing applications,” said Meissner.

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