Marico Reduces IT Costs by 50 Percent and Increases Performance by Migrating Mission-Critical SAP Applications to Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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August 17, 2010

Customer: Marico

Industry: Life Sciences
Geography: APAC
Country: India


Migration Path:

HP-UX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, SAP Business Suite (R3 and BW), Oracle 10 G DB (Approx. size 1 TB for R3), HP-UX for database

Hardware:

HP Blade System C 7000 with BL 860 C (2 Nos. Total 4 CPUs) – For Database tier; HP BL 460 G6 servers (4 Nos. Total 8 CPUs) – For SAP application tier

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Background:

Business Challenge:

In order to cater to its mission-critical operational needs, such as material management, production controlling, distribution and logistics, Marico has used SAP as the ERP solution since 2001. In order to assure high performance and reliability, the solution was running on the proprietary HP-UX operating system implemented on an Intel Itanium 2 -based hardware platform. In late 2008, Marico was planning to embark on a project to upgrade its SAP suite comprising of SAP R3 and SAP BW. “The business has been growing phenomenally and we wanted to retain our competitive edge,” said Satish Pai, systems administrator manager, Marico. “By implementing the latest SAP version, we wanted to utilize the newer functionalities for further business growth.”

Implementation of the new version of SAP meant that there was a huge demand for computing resources. “This was especially true in our case since our hardware was about five years old,” said Pai. On one side, usage of the same hardware would have led to lower response time, while on the other side it would mean that a significant portion of the newer functionality would not run, which defeated the purpose of upgrading the software. “This just meant that we had to first undertake the activity of hardware upgrade before upgrading the software,” said Pai.

The total cost of ownership of the project became enormously high when the HP-UX- based servers were used for both the application, as well as database tier. “We needed to find alternative solutions that would significantly reduce the TCO without any compromise on other parameters such as performance, reliability, and scalability of the solution,” said Pai. With these issues in front of them, the Marico IT team initiated the process of evaluating alternative operating platforms.

SOLUTION

Solution:

In search of a cost-effective combination of operating system and hardware platforms, Marico’s IT team came across the recently launched Intel Nehalem processor-based servers running a Linux operating system on top. “Intel’s Nehalem processor based-servers from HP were up to the mark in parameters like performance and scalability with that of HP’s servers based on the RISC architecture, so we decided to select this as our hardware platform for our SAP application tier,” said Pai.

After deciding to implement a hybrid hardware infrastructure that would leave its Oracle databases on the original HP-UX platform and migrate its remaining systems, including SAP, to its Nehalem-based platform, the next decision was to choose the appropriate operating system for the Nehalem servers.

“We ruled out Microsoft Windows as we anticipated support level issues to arise due to co-existence of heterogeneous systems with both Windows and UNIX,” said Pai. As a result, Marico’s IT team evaluated two flavors of Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux was an an ideal fit as it not only met the criteria of performance, reliability, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, but it also allowed Marico to take advantage of the collaborative support structure that exists for SAP implementations on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and avoid proprietary vendor lock-in.

“Implementation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux was one of the key milestones in our IT deployments as it was the first time Marico was implementing a Linux-based open source solution,” said Pai. “Red Hat, as the world’s open source leader, was chosen because it is stable, secure, and has better support structure than SUSE Linux,” said Pai. “Additionally, there were many success stories of SAP implementations on Red Hat Enterprise Linux all over the world, which encouraged us to select Red Hat,” he added. As a result of SAP’s commitment to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system as a long-term strategic supported platform for SAP customers worldwide, Marico was assured that the end-user solution would have end-to-end support—from the hardware, through to the operating system and the business applications.

BENEFITS

Benefits:

The migration of Marico’s mission-critical SAP applications to Red Hat Enterprise Linux was completed in one month, and has since exhibited exceptional stability − a strong testament to the Marico and Red Hat teams, and most importantly, the stability of the underlying Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform and HP servers utilizing Intel Nehalem processors.

“With Red Hat, we were able to extract tremendous value from our systems and applications,” said Pai. “Red Hat freed Marico from vendor lock-in, and enabled our organization to choose commodity hardware platforms that delivered flexibility and high performance.”

Red Hat solutions also allowed Marico to lower its IT costs by 50 percent, simplify its management, reduce systems maintenance, and increase scalability and performance with SAP Business Suite. “Red Hat solutions allow you to extract more from your systems to generate excellent performance at a very low cost,” said Pai. “We estimate a reduction of at least 50 percent in the total cost of ownership due to the migration exercise.”

A large portion of Marico’s cost savings resulted from the elimination of software licensing fees that are standard with proprietary vendors and the hardware cost due to the usage of RISC-based architecture.

In the future, Marico’s IT team is planning to consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux for its database layer, which is currently running on HP-UX. Thoroughly impressed by the stability and the performance of the Red Hat system, Marico is also evaluating migrating other applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Overall, Red Hat provided Marico with enterprise-class solutions at an affordable price without any compromise on performance and scalability. “We make our IT decisions after thoroughly examining and understanding the potential impact on our business, performance requirements, and the net impact on our operating costs. In that sense, running SAP Business Suite applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform delivers maximum value to our business enabling business growth,” said Girish Rao, head of IT, Marico.

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