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So A Chameleon And A Penguin Walk Into A Bar… [SUSE]

Enterprise Software | Posted on October 29, 2012 by Emily A. Davidson


Before I discuss Linux and SAP, I want to quickly recap what I’ve already covered in the Advisor blog. The first two posts looked at the importance of high availability and the tools available to get there. As part three, this post focuses on an example of how mission-critical applications fit with Linux – specifically SAP.

First and foremost, downtime means data loss. Subsequently, data loss means recovery times keep profits down. Accidental or malicious data loss, unplanned system outages, user error, hardware theft or failure, power failure, software failure, fire, flood, earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes, tidal waves and tornadoes can all wreak havoc on business data. To quote a previous post about backup and recovery for SAP applications,

“In short, no matter how you have backed up your mission critical applications, you still have downtime…If you have clear answers to RPO [Recovery Point Objective] and RTO [Recovery Time Objective] for your critical apps, then you realize these apps need to be highly available.”

So you get the whole data loss and business continuity thing. Have you considered how the OS on your servers affect the performance of your SAP applications? In this post, I’ll discuss the high-availability benefits to choosing an open source Linux Enterprise Server.

Quick definition of SAP servers

SAP servers (also called application servers) facilitate the interaction between diverse operating systems and business applications across internal and external networks.  The operating system on your applications server can have a big impact on application performance.

SAP and Linux

Linux is a popular OS for SAP servers due to the flexibility and cost savings of its open source structure. Choosing a Linux-based SAP server depends on very specific scenarios, but some businesses choose Linux to increase flexibility and scalability with large systems, have freedom of choice for technology vendors or replace larger, Unix-based SAP servers.

The SAP Business Suite on Linux is generally available for use in a productive environment starting with release 4.0B. For availability of other SAP software components, please visit the Product Availability Matrix (login required) in the SAP Service Marketplace.

Advanced Reading

There are lots of arguments for/against SAP on Linux. If you want to learn about other SAP supported platforms or you have more technical questions I encourage you to visit the SAP Community Network, and read the SAP on Linux FAQ.

So a chameleon and a penguin walk into a bar…SUSE Enterprise Linux Servers

SUSE Enterprise Linux Servers meet the quality standards of SAP (certified since 1999) and, due to the independent SAP architecture, no SAP business applications need to be modified in order to work on Linux servers.

For example, SAP Linux Lab assists in releasing SAP software on Linux and drives the porting of SAP software to new platforms. SAP has also worked closely with Linux distributors to ensure their solutions work smoothly on Linux. In fact, Linux is the only OS optimized for SAP software and it comes recommended by SAP as the preferred Linux platform.

What do I get?

  • The SUSE high availability extension to virtualize SAP environment
  • Built-in capabilities of high availability extension
  • Totally automated end to end installation workflow – integrates installation of SUSE Linux enterprise server, SAP software solutions and 3rd party components with an intuitive wizard
  • For more technical speeds and feeds, visit the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server page.

How do these servers help during downtime?

When time equals money inside your downed data center, SUSE offers the  options below for support:

  • 24/7 electronic and phone support
  • Separate update channel for fixes and patches
  • Integrated support through SAP solution manager – understand all unique details
  • Extended service pak overlap support – 18 months of support

Real world example: Burton Snowboards

Since 1977, Burton Snowboards has been a hugely popular brand fueling the growth of snowboarding through its groundbreaking product lines. Privately owned by Jake Burton, its headquartered in Burlington, Vermont.

The problem: The company’s previous operating platform required expensive hardware and time-consuming administration. Frequent downtime was also an issue. While preparing for an upgrade of its SAP and Oracle applications, the company began evaluating a move to Linux.

The risk:  Burton operates 24/7 and requires the flexibility to react quickly to changes in the marketplace. Therefore, the IT department needs to provide consistent uptime.

The solution: After determining that a UNIX upgrade would be cost-prohibitive, the company selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a aplatform for its SAP and Oracle environment. Burton migrated its mission-critical systems to Dell servers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, including SAP ERP, Business Intelligence, CRM, Enterprise Portal, as well as its Oracle applications. They plan to use built-in Xen virtualization to reduce the number of physical servers and scale up or down as needed.

The ability to deploy virtual servers quickly will improve the IT staff’s ability to add new applications. Virtual servers will also help the team create development and testing environments on existing hardware.

The results:

  • Leveraging open source applications helps Burton to reduce software costs.
  • Moving mission-critical SAP and Oracle environments to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server reduces Burton’s overall server costs by 80%.
  • Using commodity servers reduces the company’s hardware costs and power consumption by 30%.
  • Installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server helps Burton reduce administrative time and costs by 40%.
  • Experiencing consistent uptime reduces time spent supporting users by 25%.

Overall, the company enjoys 99.999 percent uptime.

“Since moving to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, our uptime has been insane,” said Bill York, Linux administrator at Burton. “We have some servers that have gone two years before being rebooted…Particularly in today’s economy, flexibility is critical…While snowboarders are not averse to risk, as a business, we can’t afford to take risks when it comes to our business-critical systems that need to be available at all times.”

How do I get started?

Contact your Softchoice Account Representative to discuss a SUSE solution. Do you prefer Unix as an OS? Want to share your experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise servers, or ask our experts a question? Leave a comment and our team will respond as soon as possible.

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