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Frosta AG Lowers Operating Costs and Improves Reliability for Mission-Critical Systems by Migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
May 18, 2011
Frosta AG set out to migrate mission-critical SAP systems and a warehouse management system from Sun Solaris to an affordable, clustered infrastructure running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Customer: Frosta AG
“Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides a technological platform that best meets the requirements for the uninterrupted operation of mission-critical applications.” -- Robert Blasig, head of IT, Frosta in Bremerhaven
To migrate mission-critical SAP systems and a warehouse management system from Sun Solaris to an affordable, clustered infrastructure running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux
SAP migration from Sun Solaris to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Clustered systems, consisting of a total of 10 Fujitsu Primergy RX300 and RX600 servers, all running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Enhanced performance; High level of reliability; Increased stability; Locally hosted in Bremen, Germany
Based in Bremerhaven, Germany, Frosta AG is one of the largest producers of frozen food products in Europe. The company operates 11 locations throughout Europe and maintains four production facilities in Germany and Poland. The market leader in frozen-ready meals throughout Germany, Frosta is the first and only frozen food brand based in Germany to abstain from using added flavor enhancers, colorings, aromas, stabilizers, or emulsifiers in its products or in the processed and raw ingredients. Frosta products are available in several European countries. Frosta’s frozen products are produced around-the-clock at four facilities--three in Germany and one in Poland. For this reason, Frosta’s production systems, and therefore its IT systems, need to be available at all times. This is the only way to ensure that all of the ingredients can be processed and kept fresh when they are harvested at various times of the year. The core components of the IT system consist of SAP R/3 and the warehouse management software ProStore from TEAM, a logistics and ERP specialist based in Paderborn, Germany. The two programs work together to manage and monitor the end-to-end production and logistics process. If the applications were to fail or crash, work at all four plants would come to a stop. Therefore, in order to reduce the risk of system failures, in 2008 Frosta decided to outsource the two mission-critical applications to the consulting and IT service provider Logica. The discussion was made based on Logica’s high security standards and flexible project planning offered by its datacenter, as well as its proximity to Frosta. The primary factor for making the decision to outsource these applications was the high costs associated with creating the necessary technical infrastructure at a datacenter operated internally by Frosta. Logica guarantees that Frosta’s mission-critical systems run with almost no disruptions or failures.
Once the servers and applications had been successfully outsourced in the first phase and it was proven that this worked well in practice, Frosta teamed up with Logica to plan the second step--a migration to an open source infrastructure. “The Solaris servers were at the end of their service life. It would have cost too much to simply purchase and operate new server models. We also ruled out switching over to another UNIX-based product for the same reason. Therefore, we decided to make the transition to standard Fujitsu servers based on x86 architecture,” said Robert Blasig, head of IT at Frosta.
As a Red Hat Premier Partner, Logica has the expertise and experience necessary to implement the migration to open source software. Logica and its 39,000 employees provide consulting, systems integration, and outsourcing services worldwide. The company employs around 2,000 people across 13 cities in Germany. Logica has worked on a professional basis with Red Hat for many years. As part of this partnership, the two companies have completed a number of business-critical projects. “Red Hat’s efficient open source products provide Logica with ample opportunities to offer cost-effective and innovative open source solutions. Its solutions support a long-term IT strategy and deliver the required level of stability and flexibility,” said Blasig. As both SAP R/3 and the warehouse management software ProStore support Red Hat Enterprise Linux, there were no obstacles when proceeding with the migration.
The migration project began in late 2009. A few months later, the first x86 servers were delivered to the datacenter in Bremen. Technicians from the joint project team began to implement the design of the new architecture and perform the first tests on the configuration. Whereas Frosta had purchased and owned the old Solaris servers, Logica leased the new hardware.
The clustered systems, a total of 10 Fujitsu Primergy RX300 and RX600 servers, are all running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The open source solution provides all the tools necessary for the control of datacenter operations.
Another product in use is Veritas Cluster Server, a cross-platform clustering solution used to reduce application downtime. One of the main strengths of this solution is that it moves beyond reactive recovery to proactive management of application availability within a datacenter or across several datacenters at different locations. Logica uses this architecture to guarantee a high level of reliability for mission-critical applications.
Other measures include the use of a back-up power supply with two separate circuits. This approach ensures high availability of mission-critical applications during planned and unplanned downtime. This is achieved by monitoring the status of individual applications and executing a failover in the event of a hardware error or an emergency. The IT services offered by Logica are delivered in accordance with ITIL guidelines, an internationally recognized de facto standard for the implementation of IT management services.
The service environment of this trusted datacenter platform establishes the conditions necessary to ensure the availability of complex standard business software, as well as warehouse management software at all times, both day and night. In addition, the modular, flexible, and robust architecture of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, along with the management tools, provide an upgrade in terms of usability and scalability.
At the four Frosta facilities, approximately 450 employees work with SAP and the warehouse management software. The plants in Germany and Poland are directly linked to the datacenter in Bremen via data lines. “A hosted open source solution has many advantages for Frosta,” said Blasig. “And because Logica is able to deliver the level of reliability, performance, and stability our company requires, we are able to focus on our core competences and other strategic projects. Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the solution provides a technological platform that best meets the requirements for the uninterrupted operation of mission-critical applications.” With the open source solution run by Logica, Frosta can use a complete security stack from network firewall control to secure containers for application isolation.
With the switch to an open software solution, Frosta reached a key milestone in the second phase of its consistent IT strategy. This is to be followed by the third and final phase, which involves the migration from SAP R/3 to SAP ECC 6.0 (ERP Central Component). Funds have already been allocated for the project in the next IT budget.
“Red Hat Enterprise Linux delivers businesses like Frosta the resilience and openness they need as they transition to the next generation of IT computing,” said Blasig. With regards to a long-term IT strategy, Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports all leading hardware architectures and offers compatibility across releases, including a seven-year update and support lifecycle.