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Lufthansa Systems Standardises its IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux
August 24, 2011
Customer: Lufthansa Systems
“Red Hat Network Satellite has increased the speed of our deployment processes substantially. In the past, the basic installation of a new server instance took us half a working day. Now it’s something we can do over a coffee break.” - Bardo Werum, Vice President Data Center, Lufthansa Systems AG
To service global customers with a high-availability infrastructure based on an extremely reliable and scalable operating system; ensure fast and cost-effective manageability of complex and large-scale systems
From a UNIX-based server landscape to a standardised operating system environment with virtualised Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat clustering technology, managed with Red Hat Network Satellite
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, Red Hat Network Satellite, MySQL and Oracle databases, Red Hat Consulting
x86, dedicated and virtual
A high degree of standardisation resulted in stability and robustness as well as low error rates; automated server deployment with Red Hat Network Satellites’ “Kickstart” function; streamlined systems management in a complex environment with multiple security zones; high availability through a combination of virtualisation and Red Hat clustering technology; fast and knowledgeable support from Red Hat Consulting experts.
Lufthansa Systems provides consulting and IT services across a number of industries with a leading position in the global aviation industry. The wholly owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group offers its customers a wide range of IT services, including consulting, development, and implementation of industry solutions. Headquartered in Kelsterbach, near Frankfurt, Germany, the company operates one of the most modern datacenters in Europe. Lufthansa Systems AG has offices throughout Germany as well as in 16 additional countries, employing approximately 3,000 people. Lufthansa Systems develops specialized applications and operates mission-critical IT infrastructure for airlines and other companies around the world.
In terms of infrastructure, Lufthansa Systems’ extensive responsibilities include the design, operations, and maintenance of datacenters, the processing and storage of hardware, and the connectivity of IT infrastructures worldwide. “We are constantly looking to simplify system management processes whilst providing maximum availability on the operating system level,” said Bardo Werum, vice president, data center at Lufthansa Systems. “In the course of our regular replacement cycle, we started to revisit our UNIX strategy as early as 2004, when we first started to work with Linux on a number of systems.”
“In 2004, Red Hat Enterprise Linux already provided excellent systems management capabilities through Red Hat Network. As we run very complex infrastructure landscapes, with hundreds of instances, Red Hat was an ideal partner, and we began standardising on Red Hat Enterprise Linux in the course of our regular replacement cycle,” said Werum.
Streamlined management of its server infrastructure is key to Lufthansa Systems’ success, as the company serves clients with a broad range of requirements. Management processes have to be standardised to a high degree to keep operating costs low and manual input to a minimum.
Over the past six years, since first introducing Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Lufthansa Systems has migrated all of its UNIX systems to the Red Hat platform.
In 2006, Red Hat Enterprise Linux became the official standard with 90-95 percent of the approximately 250 servers at Lufthansa Systems running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The majority of Red Hat-based server instances run web or application server middleware, which is responsible for delivering applications to customers. Most recently, Lufthansa Systems Infratec began standardising its database servers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
“Our server landscape is extremely complex and designed for highest availability and security,” said Werum. “That makes systems management challenging, but we are continuing to achieve everything we planned for with the help of Red Hat Network Satellite.”
Lufthansa Systems uses the Kickstart functionality in Red Hat Network Satellite to automatically deploy predefined server images. “When a new server instance is needed, it takes merely 15 minutes to get it up and running, including all configuration settings that are rolled out by scripts triggered by the Kickstart feature,” said Werum. “Red Hat Network Satellite substantially speedsup the deployment process. Before this project, the basic installation of a new server instance took us half a working day. Now it’s something we can literally do over a coffee break.”
With high availability being an essential service-level objective across all areas, Lufthansa Systems deployed a combination of virtualisation with Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the guest operating system and Red Hat clustering. The company has been very pleased with the results. “Clustering provides a very powerful way of scaling systems up and down to match fluctuating customerdemand,” said Werum. “We worked closely with Red Hat Consulting to scope and configure the clusters so that they are capable of accommodating even the highest workload peaks.”
By fully standardising on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with Red Hat Network Satellite for systems management, Lufthansa Systems has created a widely homogeneous operating system landscape.
Red Hat Network Satellite also helps the infrastructure management team quickly deploy new server instances and meet customer demand as it happens. “Standardisation also drives down error rates and makes troubleshooting and patching of the systems much easier,” said Werum. “We’re very happy with the performance levels Red Hat Enterprise Linux achieves in virtualised environments, and its clustering technology gives us the flexibility to adapt our computing capacities to meet the volatile market conditions of the airline industry and beyond.”
Lufthansa Systems AG continues to use the expertise of Red Hat Consulting as needed and has access to a dedicated Technical Account Manager (TAM), who is familiar with Lufthansa Systems IT landscape. The TAM provides immediate assistance and problem resolution on-site when needed and assists with the planning of larger projects like the company’s planned migration to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.