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Enovos SAP Environment virtualized on Cisco NetApp Flexpod

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  • 1. This article appeared in the OCT NOV DEC 2012 issue of insiderPROFILES (http://insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com) and appears here with permission from WIS PUBLISHING.Virtualization — The Enovos Way How One European Utility Divides Business Operations and SAP Environments with a New Virtual Platform by David Hannon, Senior Features Editor W hen Luxembourg-based energy the company would have to replicate the provider Enovos Group learned majority of its SAP data so it could reside that it had to separate its activi- in two distinct environments. To achieve ties of grid operator and energy provider this duplicated landscape, Enovos did to comply with regulations enacted by not want to build an entirely new data the European Union, the IT organization center and, therefore, researched a vari- faced a unique challenge. Dividing its ety of other options that could solve this business operations essentially meant that business dilemma. Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.
  • 2. “To separate our operations and systems without virtualization, we would have had to duplicate all of the physical servers, the storage that is required, and the networking components.” — Paul Van den Abeele, SAP Solution Architect, Enovos After careful consideration and planning, the Paul Van den Abeele, SAP Solution Architect atcompany elected to migrate its SAP systems onto a new, Enovos and one of the key players in this IT initiative,more stable virtualization platform — with the hopes says, “Our exact requirements were evolving as we pro-that this platform would provide the flexibility to dupli- gressed through the process of reviewing our SAP land-cate and divide the SAP systems as needed without nega- scape. We encountered a number of IT-related decisionstively affecting the performance of those systems or the we could not have predicted, and we continually discoverbusiness as a whole. new applications that we need to duplicate. If we had to buy more hardware or disk space each time we had toSeparating Systems and Operations duplicate an application, it would significantly delay theThe mandate from the European Union created a compli- separation process.”cated business change for Enovos, especially considering Virtualization was the answer that would provide thethe company’s role in providing natural gas, electricity, needed scalability and flexibility. Enovos had experienceand renewable energy to customers in several European with virtual servers as far back as 2005 when it beganmarkets including Luxembourg, France, Belgium, and using VMware solutions in its data center. In fact, theGermany. To comply with the mandate, the company IT organization had already virtualized all but sixwas required to create two distinct companies: Enovos of its 25 SAP systems. Having been an SAP customerLuxembourg, focusing on energy sales within its vari- since 1997, the SAP landscape at Enovos has grown sig-ous markets, and Creos Luxembourg, owning the gas and nificantly over time and includes applications such aselectricity lines and handling energy transmission. Both SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAPcompanies operate independently under a single holding NetWeaver BW), SAP ERP Human Capital Managementcompany, Enovos International. (SAP ERP HCM), and the SAP for Utilities industry The separation process, which began in 2005 and is still solution. The company’s extensive history with bothongoing, has been a gradual one with specific milestones SAP software and virtual servers gave the IT teamto achieve each year. Some business operations were enough knowledge to understand the advantagedivided between the two units, but others, including the that virtualization could provide in dividing its SAPIT organization, remain centralized at the holding com- landscape and data.pany. IT was tasked with determining, together with the “To separate our operations and systems withoutdifferent business units, what applications each business virtualization, we would have had to duplicate all of thewould use, what data should be duplicated or divided, and physical servers, the storage that is required, and thehow to ensure complete separation of the two landscapes. networking components,” says Van den Abeele. Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.
  • 3. Building the Right PlatformBefore diving head first into splitting up the SAP landscape, theIT organization at Enovos decided to focus first on finding andimplementing a stable, standard infrastructure platform on whichit could build its virtualized environment. With that kind of stableplatform in place, dividing data and applications across the twobusinesses would be much more repeatable and make the overallenvironment more reliable. As Van den Abeele explains, the IT team set three top prioritieswhen looking for a virtualization platform:•  ystem performance. The benefits brought about by virtu- S alization could not come at the expense of performance. For example, the performance of the company’s customer service systems has a direct impact on business, and any dip in system performance would immediately affect the bottom line.•  ecure system separation. “We knew down the road we would S need to show regulators that we separated the data between the companies,” Van den Abeele says. The platform selected would need to be able to divide the various SAP environments securely so the two business units could not access each other’s data.•  ingle point of contact. In some of Enovos’ previous work S with virtualization, the company experienced the challenge of collaborating with different vendors for the various aspects (stor- age, networking, and virtualization). Having a single provider or point of contact for those areas would be a major timesaver.Finding the Perfect FitWith its business and technical requirements clearly documented,Enovos went out to the market to find its virtualization platform.After an extensive review, the company selected FlexPod, whichcombines the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platformas a networking solution, VMware virtualization technology, andstorage capabilities from NetApp in a prevalidated “packaged”solution. (See the sidebar at the end of the article for a more At a Glancetechnical look at the Cisco UCS platform.) Objective: Reconfigure the SAP The main driver for Enovos choosing FlexPod was the flexibility environment so that two business units canthe platform provides to successfully manage the unbundling pro- operate secure, flexible, and completelycess for the company’s SAP applications. Other important factors separate SAP virtual systemscontributed to the decision process, including: Solution: Implemented the FlexPod package•  ervice levels. The IT department has to service the Enovos S as the platform for the new virtual environment Group and all its affiliate companies, which have legacy solutions with high availability requirements and also high Benefit: Better system performance with service-level agreements to guarantee. more flexibility, higher availability, and faster response times•  ontrolled costs. The company’s quickly evolving applica- C tions and various infrastructure needs must be handled with controlled costs and in a stable infrastructure to avoid constant additions and increased expenses. Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.
  • 4. Headquarters: Luxembourg Enovos International Industry: Energy products Employees: •  ,300+ employees (Enovos Group) 1 • 650 employees (Creos Luxembourg) Revenue: •  2.5 billion in 2011 (Enovos Group) € • €205 million in 2011 (Creos Luxembourg) Company details: •  olding company operates two separate H divisions: Enovos (supplies energy) and Creos (manages the gas and electricity delivery networks)Company Snapshot •  80,000+ delivery points 2 (electricity and natural gas) •  ,000-km long electricity grid and 9 3,600-km long natural gas grid •  AP user since 1997 S •  urrently focused on expanding its C renewable energy segment SAP solutions: •  AP ERP (three separate instances including S the SAP for Utilities industry solution) •  AP NetWeaver BW (two instances) S •  AP BPC S •  AP ERP HCM S •  AP SRM S •  nnovation. The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) concept I He adds, “We had a different method of defining and calculat- would enhance the way the whole organization could ing the storage space, so we had to learn NetApp’s method to accelerate innovation — due to the quick availability of ensure we split the data accurately when we divided systems.” mock-up or test systems with less security restrictions. Similar learning took place in the networking areas, accord- ing to Van den Abeele, most notably the zoning capability, •  ntegration. The business needed a platform that could I which was one of the major drivers for the move to FlexPod. integrate security (application and data), high availability, “Bringing in powerful new components and capabilities re- and disaster recovery. quires that even the most experienced network administrator take some time to get up to speed,” he says. And the benefits According to Van den Abeele, Enovos spent about three of that up-front education are already paying off for Enovos. months setting up the FlexPod infrastructure before migrat- ing SAP systems onto it so that IT could learn all of the new Migrating the Systems features in the FlexPod environment and leverage them later Once the FlexPod infrastructure was in place and secure, the during the migration process. information systems department began to migrate its SAP “The different teams involved needed to master unfamil- systems onto the new platform. To ensure the migration didn’t iar definitions and invest time to fully understand these new disturb the business during this process, the team started with concepts,” he says. “We wanted to be sure we knew the impli- the testing systems. The end-user feedback showed no disrup- cations of the different choices we made as we built the infra- tion to daily processes, so it was on to the development systems structure. Only when you understand those features can you next. Lastly, data was migrated from the production systems, think ahead and start considering how they may enhance moving from the least to the most significant applications. your specific systems and your business.” “We chose that approach so we could continue to gain For example, moving from a previous storage system to more experience as we moved onto larger, more critical NetApp meant learning about the new capabilities available. systems,” says Van den Abeele. Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.
  • 5. The Cisco UCS Platform for SAP Landscapes, Virtual or Not The Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) server platform provides a unique Intel Xeon processor- based, industry-standard infrastructure for business- critical applications and is ideal for cloud and in- Over the course of several infrastructure is exclusively acces- memory computing technologies. The platform offersmonths, Enovos migrated all of its sible by one part of the business and stateless computing capabilities with dynamic serverSAP systems onto the FlexPod plat- not the other. It functions as if itform, with the exception of the SAP were a separate infrastructure.” provisioning, unified fabric, and comprehensive man-ERP system that ran its centralized Rather than constantly buying agement across both physical and virtual environmentsoperations. Because of the number new physical servers throughout for reduced total cost of ownership (TCO).of users and concerns about per- the project and continually jug-formance, that system was never gling their loads, the virtual division Cisco and SAP are uniquely positioned as globalvirtualized in the past. But based of systems and data streamlines leaders in technology, providing innovations foron the success in migrating the the process exponentially while many shared customers. Together, Cisco and SAPprogressively larger and more com- reducing the costs.plicated SAP systems onto FlexPod, Troubleshooting issues is more provide differentiated, scalable, and secure end-to-endthe IT team was confident the new direct because there is one primary solutions that help reduce deployment risks and com-platform would provide the level of contact rather than multiple points plexity. When the Cisco UCS platform was introducedperformance required for its largest of contact. “In our past virtualizedSAP system. environment, if we had a server in 2009 as a new model in data center efficiency and “Migrating all SAP systems onto issue, we had to contact the server agility, it was designed with the performance and re-FlexPod was always the goal, and vendor. If the problem involved stor- liability needed to power memory-intensive, mission-the project would have been a dis- age, we went to the storage providerappointment if we didn’t do it,” and so on,” Van den Abeele says. critical applications and virtualized workloads.Van den Abeele says. “All systems “Now, one service provider manages For example, SAP’s in-memory computing technol-are now migrated, and everything the entire infrastructure and then ogy, SAP HANA, provides SAP customers the speedwent fine. Today, performance is contacts the appropriate vendorgreat, and our response times have when it is necessary to do so.” to power analytics at exceptional performance levels.improved and are faster than ever.” Another benefit Enovos achieved Customers get information immediately, without the by migrating to FlexPod was stan- delay of typical enterprise data warehouses, by build-Targeting the Most dardization. In the previous envi-Important Benefits ronment, its virtualized servers ran ing on the benefits of the Cisco UCS platform, whichFlexPod’s ability to separate the var- on various operating systems and provides an agile, scalable, highly available, and cost-ious systems and data into “zones” versions so the move to a new vir- effective industry-standard infrastructure platform.or “tenants” is what sold Enovos tual infrastructure was also a goodon the solution because it meets excuse to standardize on a single For the systems that are part of the architecture thatthe current requirements of the operating system. supports the SAP installation, the Cisco UCS platformregulator without having to move “We really didn’t move the 25 SAP offers hardware-state abstraction that transparentlydata from one physical server to systems so much as we reinstalledanother. Van den Abeele says those and reconfigured them in the new integrates server, storage, and networking resourceszoning capabilities are facilitated by environment because we wanted a used for any application, virtualized or not, thus elimi-the NetApp and Cisco components new start for the SAP systems,” he nating the waste that can be caused by dedicating poolsand VMware infrastructure within says. “We agreed on naming conven-FlexPod, and make the business tions and developed clear rules for of resources to a specific purpose.move much more manageable. managing the infrastructure before For more information about the Cisco UCS server “In the new architecture, we we moved anything onto it.” platform, visit www.cisco.com.can separate the data in a logi- When asked to summarize thecal way, but keep it all within one variety of benefits his company hasinfrastructure,” Van den Abeele says. received from this project, Van den“You can create tenants on the stor- Abeele puts it simply: “We’re gettingage and networking level to guar- more flexibility and faster responseantee the data in one part of the times with higher availability.” Subscribe today. Visit insiderPROFILES.wispubs.com.