VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS: RED HAT INNOVATION AWARD WINNER

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September 16, 2009

Customer: Verizon Communications Inc.

Industry: Telecomm
Geography: North America
Country: United States


Business Challenge:

Needed a reliable and cost effective solution for its SAP and PeopleSoft Enterprise Resource Planning applications that would scale with its growing computing infrastructure

Migration Path:

UNIX-based SMP platform to Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, Red Hat Network Satellite, SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle RAC

Hardware:

300 Dell and HP servers

Benefits:

Reduced costs, improved performance, increased ability to scale and prepared for future growth, increased energy conservation efforts

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Background:

Verizon Communications Inc., a Dow 30 company, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. With more than 235,000 employees, Verizon was selected for the Optimized Systems Innovation Award for its consolidation and standardization on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for its SAP and PeopleSoft Enterprise Resource Planning applications to reduce costs, increase performance, and allow the ability to scale for growth. The company now runs its servers more efficiently,with minimal need for additional equipment, and Verizon has further bolstered its conservation efforts.

Business Challenge:

With a massive global workforce of more than 235,000 employees, Verizon had an increasing need to consolidate and standardize business applications, most notably, its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Due to Verizon’s acquisition business growth and the challenges of implementing disparate systems, and the need to serve its employees, the company needed to migrate its systems to a highly reliable and stable platform that would scale with the growing computing infrastructure while simultaneously reducing costs.

Verizon’s existing UNIX-based IT architecture lacked the ability to cost-effectively scale horizontally with the constant business growth.

Solution:

Verizon identified the need to migrate its large proprietary UNIX-based SMP platform to standardize on an open source operating system running on x86 based commodity hardware to achieve the required scalability, reduced costs, and equivalent performance, in regards to all of its business critical PeopleSoft and SAP applications.

After a thorough evaluation period in 2007 of multiple open source vendors, Verizon selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the standard operating system for the mission critical business application migration project.

Verizon decided to deploy the PeopleSoft and SAP project in phases. The first phase began in 2008 and started the financial modules, taking about 6 months to complete before moving to production. The second phase consisted of the HR and Payroll modules and due to the better than expected results, Verizon plans to continue the consolidation with its reporting, warehousing, and credit card processing applications. The PeopleSoft and SAP applications were migrated from UNIX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform with Red Hat Network Satellite and Proxy for Management, Provisioning, & Monitoring running on over 300 Dell and HP Intel/AMD based servers and Oracle RAC.

“With Red Hat Enterprise Linux on standard based x86 commodity hardware, we are able to scale our growth horizontally and meet the needs of our employee base,” said Michael Blake, director, systems and architecture implementation, Verizon, “The fact that Red Hat Enterprise Linux was certified with all of our third-party applications, such as SAP and PeopleSoft, allowed us to make this decision confidently and proceed quickly, as the costs continued to mount with the previous solution.”

Benefits:

Migrating the systems off the proprietary UNIX based servers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, allowed Verizon to reduce costs, increased its ability to scale and prepared its architecture for future growth, while at the same time providing increased performance.

“If migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux simply allowed us to scale at a fraction of the cost, and provided the same performance, we would have deemed the migration a success,” said Blake, “But, the real impact on the business was the increased performance with the same applications running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”

In addition to the cost savings and performance increase, Verizon also realized a two-thirds reduction in power usage in its data center. “This is a very real and valuable benefit and will have a direct impact on our energy conservation efforts,” said Blake.

Verizon was able to increase capacity, reliability and security, allowing end users to work more efficiently. Blake commented that, Red Hat Enterprise Linux has eliminated performance surges and through the consolidation the company was able to identify bottlenecks in the system, providing a more streamlined environment. End users were minimally disrupted by the change in systems but have since noticed a more improved IT environment. The total cost of ownership has been greatly reduced.

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a trusted product with excellent value and allowed us to extract the value of the new HP C-Class hardware,” said Blake, “We also saw Red Hat Network Satellite as a strategic component to our deployment, it enhances patch management, and security, and without Satellite it would be difficult to manage our systems. Satellite simplifies this process and frees up our system administrators for strategic business projects.”

“For companies in similar situations, the most critical component is to run tests, document, and confirm the expected behavior of your Red Hat certified applications as this will drastically reduce the complexities of the migration project. We knew that with Red Hat, we could worry less about the application certifications, and focus more on proving the business case to secure buy-in from the entire IT organization. By running tests and executing numerous examples for specific teams, we were able to prove to our internal customers, that not only would the solution work, but it will perform better, and at a fraction of the previous costs,” said Blake.

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