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Case study

Tomago Aluminium improves SAP performance with Red Hat and IBM

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Tomago Aluminium, Australia’s largest aluminum smelter, requires a stable, reliable infrastructure and high visibility into IT performance to support 24x7 availability for its production systems. To maintain availability at scale while improving development efficiency, the company migrated its SAP HANA® environment to Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, supported by Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, and IBM hardware. With improved control and insight, Tomago Aluminium has improved development efficiency, consolidated its server footprint, and enhanced system and data security. 

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Benefits

  • Maintained 24x7 availability and optimized processes at scale
  • Improved development efficiency with automation
  • Reduced infrastructure costs with consolidated server footprint
  • Enhanced security with faster issue resolution and greater control

Supporting innovation at the speed of business

Operating continuously since 1983, Tomago Aluminium is Australia’s largest aluminum smelter. It contributes more than AUD$1.5 billion annually to the country’s economy and exporting 90% of its products to global markets.

To maintain 24x7 operations, Tomago Aluminium’s IT systems must be reliable and highly available. Its IT team works to refine processes and improve data access to help the company respond faster to issues affecting production. Tomago Aluminium uses SAP HANA to support its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business warehouse systems, including a variety of processes from project management and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking to health and safety and human resources. 

“For instance, we have a large warehouse of spare parts that are critical for our plant. If something breaks or wears out, we need to find parts and get the system running again quickly,” said Dennis.

Previously, the company ran its SAP HANA workloads in a managed public cloud environment, but this solution lacked visibility into performance or effective notification when systems approached capacity. Additionally, the vendor’s service contract limited development to business hours, hindering innovation and rapid response to changing business needs. When the service contract was due for renewal, Tomago Aluminium decided to find a new partner for its hybrid cloud infrastructure to improve agility and complexity while maintaining availability.

“Our partner was very risk-averse, which limited progress and made it hard to innovate,” said Dennis Moncrieff, IT Superintendent, Tomago Aluminium. “Without visibility of how things were running, we couldn’t even identify opportunities for improvement. We finally realized how restricted we were.”

Standardizing SAP operations with a hybrid cloud solution from Red Hat and IBM

Based at a single site with no expansion plans, Tomago Aluminium decided to migrate its SAP HANA architecture from public cloud to a private, on-premise solution based on Red Hat software running on IBM server and storage hardware.  

The company consolidated multiple operating systems onto Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, a single, consistent foundation for SAP workloads that includes:

Additionally, Tomago Aluminium adopted Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to automate provisioning and operational processes, such as virtual machine (VM) creation for testing.

“We had a mix of Red Hat and SUSE Linux environments, but we lacked in-house SUSE expertise and Red Hat offers stronger support,” said Dennis. “Building on Red Hat’s technology would help us grow our existing in-house skills to fix issues and better support innovation.”

Red Hat partners Advent One and SAPWORKS supported the deployment. Advent One inspected for certification issues, then implemented the new hardware and software solutions in just six days. SAPWORKS completed a parallel migration of Tomago’s SAP environment and related testing.

“The partnership is seamless, and the solutions fit together perfectly. We’re confident that we have a resilient, stable system and would recommend it to anyone,” said Dennis. “Our collaboration with Advent One helped us get our IT environment how we want it.”

Optimizing processes and security with integrated, efficient infrastructure

Maintained critical production availability at greater scale

By standardizing its SAP HANA environment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions, running on IBM Power servers, Tomago Aluminium can keep its critical business and production processes running 24x7—even at larger scale. 

Red Hat Insights provides greater transparency into performance and efficiency through a single, user-friendly dashboard, helping the company improve operational efficiency while maintaining availability.

“Previously, we could only view monthly reports, but with Red Hat Insights we have real-time visibility that helps us make smarter decisions about processes,” said Dennis. “For example, for five years we ran a certain transaction only once a week, because it was so slow. Now, we have the information we need to look for ways to make that process faster.”

Improved development efficiency with automation

By integrating Ansible Automation Platform with IBM PowerVM server virtualization, Tomago can use standardized playbooks to speed provisioning and other manual, repeatable processes. 

“Automating processes such as SAP HANA deployments using Ansible Automation Platform helps us automate VM provisioning for testing environments and accelerates development of new, innovative features,” said Dennis.

Reduced infrastructure costs 

Compared to its previous managed cloud solution, running Red Hat software on IBM POWER hardware has helped Tomago Aluminium improve server density. As a result, the company has consolidated its server footprint from 32 CPUs to just 8, reducing related operational and power costs.

“Our goal is to improve effectiveness and efficiency while keeping infrastructure costs down. With Red Hat, we get a better return on our investment,” said Dennis.


Enhanced security with faster issue resolution and greater control

By adopting an integrated solution from Red Hat, IBM, and SAP, Tomago Aluminium has improved control and security capabilities across its application environment.

Tomago Aluminium uses Red Hat Insights to proactively identify potential security and compliance issues, analyzed against a large volume of internally defined, Red Hat-defined, and industry-defined advisories. Additionally, Red Hat provides ongoing patches, updates, and bug fixes to protect against vulnerabilities and threats.

“Red Hat impressed us with the speed of security patches and bug fixes,” said Dennis. ”Working with a responsive partner gives us the confidence that our operating system will continue to be stable and effective.”

Adopting IBM hardware, managed through Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has also helped the company improve security for its data and systems. IBM PowerVM isolates applications for improved performance and scalability on Tomago Aluminium’s servers while maintaining security for critical services and processes. 

Expanding digital transformation to new processes

After its initial success with its new SAP environment, Tomago Aluminium plans to migrate additional SAP ERP and production processes to Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions.

“So far, everything we’ve migrated to Red Hat runs better. Now that we’ve got the high-priority work done, we can focus on enhancing and expanding our environment to make sure we can keep supporting our critical operational processes,” said Dennis.

About Tomago Aluminium

Tomago Aluminium is Australia’s largest smelter. It produces more than 590,000 tons of aluminum every year, which is 25% of the country’s primary aluminum. It employs 950 full-time staff and 190 contractors.