Linux wins heart of global SAP user

Switzerland's Endress+Hauser (International) Holding, a global supplier of process control systems, has migrated all its business applications from SAP to a mainframe running the open-source Linux operating system.

The manufacturer, in Reinach, Switzerland, joins a growing cadre of companies moving core IT systems, such as SAP's R/3 ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, to Linux in an effort to lower operating costs and increase performance.

The ERP system runs on Novell's Linux SuSE, which is installed in an IBM zSeries 990 mainframe and supported by IBM's z/VM server virtualization technology, according to Jan Olaf, manager of marketing and sales at Endress+Hauser Infoserv, the IT service unit of the Swiss manufacturing group.

"We run a wide assortment of SAP applications, including CRM (customer relationship management), SCM (supply chain management) and the new NetWeaver integration platform," Olaf said. "We use a lot of SAP software, and it's now all on Linux."

More than 3,500 employees use SAP applications within the group, which consists of 35 subsidiaries with 60 sites spread around the globe.

One of the reasons for the migration was to improve performance. "We have much shorter response times with Linux compared to IBM's mainframe operating system, z/OS," Olaf said. "We also find maintenance to be much easier."

The migration to Linux has also resulted in quicker back-up and recovery -- between 10 percent and 20 percent faster than with the former system, according to Olaf.

Asked whether cost also played a role, the manager said, "of course."

In total, Endress+Hauser migrated nearly 20 production applications and over 60 test, quality and development systems to Linux.

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