Red Hat Provides CEPSA with a Scalable, Standardized, High-Availability SAP Platform

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August 2, 2011

Customer: Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A. (Spanish Petroleum Company, CEPSA)

"Red Hat and HP completely understood our objectives and helped us to achieve substantial savings with solutions offering optimal quality, better flexibility, and high availability." Alfonso Toca, SAP and Storage systems manager, CEPSA

Industry: Utilities
Geography: EMEA
Country: Global


Business Challenge:

To achieve cost savings and performance improvements by updating the company#39;s mission-critical SAP platform

Migration Path:

From a UNIX distributed platform to standard HP servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux to support SAP applications R/3 and ECC, Oracle databases

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Enterprise Middleware, Red Hat Training and Consulting

Hardware:

HP Servers with 4 and 6 cores Intel® Xeon® processors

Benefits:

Improved SAP platform response time from 20 to 40 percent; Achieved significant reduction in infrastructure costs by 80 percent; Built a standardized, scalable platform with high availability

More
Background:

Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A. (Spanish Petroleum Company, CEPSA) is an industrial group that employs more than 11,000 people. Its core business is the refining of petroleum and marketing of its derivatives. CEPSA is one of the major Spanish distributors of fuel and hydrocarbons. The company includes a petrochemicals department, which is closely aligned with the refining department. They both work to develop complementary activities, such as exploration and production of hydrocarbons, natural gas, and electricity. CEPSA has almost 80 years of experience in the Spanish energy market and has developed a reputation for its ability to adapt to the marketplace. It has also expanded its operations into Algeria, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Panama, Peru, and Portugal.

Business Challenge:

The UNIX platform that supported CEPSA's ERP SAP system ceased to meet the scalability requirements necessary to address the group's growing needs, such as the integration of acquired companies and continuity plans. For this reason, the company was looking to update its platform in a cost-efficient way.

The organization's SAP platform supports CEPSA's mission-critical business applications, including accounting, finance, and the operation of its international offices. It is divided into three vertical portals: IS-Oil for petroleum and refining activities; IS-Utilities for gas marketing; and IS-Retail, which provides services to more than 1,700 service stations covering all of Spain. The IS-Oil portal for production was the only one of three vertical portals that was experiencing high availability and contingency systems.

The SAP platform at CEPSA also supports Oracle databases and various internally developed shell script applications, such as the printing administration system for more than 1,000 printers, backup services, and disaster recovery, as well as other proprietary applications for volume calculations, engineering development, and monitoring. To demonstrate the complexity of the platform, it is worth highlighting that the 5TB of storage connected to the production system database is one of the largest in Spain.

Updating and improving the performance of the platform was the highest priority project for CEPSA, with important implications for the development of its business. For this reason, the company wanted to implement the project with trusted vendors such as Red Hat and HP.

Solution:

Red Hat, HP and CEPSA worked together to design and implement the new SAP platform. HP designed the infrastructure consisting of HP Proliant servers and Intel® Xeon® processors with remote replication via "dark fibre" with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3. The infrastructure is distributed to two datacenters located in Madrid and the surrounding area. Three production areas have high availability and contingency systems.

“HP works closely with Red Hat engineers to provide better hardware and software infrastructure and better management solutions to guarantee that our clients manage to improve the flexibility and reduce the complexity of their IT environments”, comments Ester de Nicolás, ProLiant servers manager at HP Spain.

Red Hat was responsible for implementing the operating system platform, a crucial part of the project since it required migration of a highly complex software infrastructure that includes, amongst others, monitoring, printing administration, backup functions, disaster recovery, and redundant hardware.

Red Hat provided consulting services during different phases of the implementation; this included a high availability cluster for the SAP and Oracle services, redundancy of network access and storage, SO Platform, creating scripts for migration, backup and remote replication, as well as training for CEPSA technicians. The training sessions were instrumental in providing knowledge transfer and operational documentation from official Red Hat Training courses as well as workshops tailored to meet CEPSA's specific needs.

Red Hat Consulting guided the design of the project and enabled CEPSA to implement the best technical solution at the lowest investment and operational cost.

"Red Hat Consulting and Red Hat Training have guided all phases of the project implementation from initial planning and development, to the training of our technician,” said José Pablo Gómez de Andrés, project manager at CEPSA. “Red Hat has been actively involved in this project, understanding our objectives perfectly, ultimately providing reliable and innovative solutions to meet each of our specific needs."

An example of this is the implementation of a high-availability solution for the Oracle database. The initial idea for the project was to use Oracle RAC to create a data base cluster to distribute the CEPSA database in high availability. The high cost of this proprietary solution led the Red Hat Consulting team to propose a solution based on Red Hat clustering, a tool included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform for no additional cost. This implementation provided high availability, efficiency, reliability, and Red Hat support in the most cost-efficient way.

CEPSA has implemented Red Hat solutions in the past and has been migrating various key platforms to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise Middleware over the past few years. As an example, the company has been migrating a large part of its J2EE applications to JBoss Enterprise Middleware and the majority of the company’s intranet, websites, and end user services also run on open source middleware from Red Hat.

Eighty-five percent of CEPSA's J2EE applications are running on JBoss Enterprise Middleware, supporting online and business applications such as human resources, manufacturing, marketing, logistics, and distribution. "JBoss Enterprise Middleware is extremely simple to install and user friendly, it is also very useful for developing new solutions. Another advantage very important to us is the ease with which it integrates with other standard technologies such as JBoss Hibernate Framework, jBPM, Drools (a JBoss Community project) and jGroups," said Alfonso Toca, SAP and Storage systems manager at CEPSA.

The combination of superior performance and support, better flexibility, and quality solutions based on open standards and the company's ability to offer reliable, secure business solutions at a fraction of the cost of proprietary alternatives have all confirmed CEPSA's confidence in Red Hat's open source solutions.

Benefits:

With the implementation of the new SAP infrastructure, CEPSA has significantly reduced its costs, improved the scalability of the platform, and administered its resources in a way to optimize performance. It has also enabled the move toward a standardized platform, that offers greater flexibility and a more economical use of resources. The new infrastructure has also allowed for the provision of high availability and contingency of CEPSA's three production systems. In addition, CEPSA has improved the SAP platform response time around 20-40 percent.

"We have decided to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise Middleware, both standard, open, and scalable solutions that provide us with all the advantages we were looking for at a considerably lower cost,” said Alfonso Toca, SAP and Storage systems manager at CEPSA. “Thanks to Red Hat, we have been able to migrate our database without having to make large upfront investments in software licenses, while still obtaining superior power and performance. In addition, we were extremely satisfied with the collaboration of Red Hat, SAP, and HP on the project and the excellent consulting, training, and technical support provided by Red Hat. We are confident we have selected the best solution.”

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on HP Proliant servers with Intel® Xeon® processors allows our IT team to gauge the resources necessary to dynamically administer SAP without increasing the number of machines. This has reduced the complexity of the platform and lowered administration costs,” said José Pablo Gómez, project manager at CEPSA.

"Red Hat and HP completely understood our objectives and helped us to achieve substantial savings with solutions offering optimal quality, better flexibility, and high availability,” adds Alfonso Toca.

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