Klinikum Chemnitz cuts SAP infrastructure investment costs by 20 percent

Published on 09-Apr-2009

Validated on 09 Dec 2013

"The new IBM infrastructure has given us the capacity, performance and availability to complete a number of consolidation projects successfully. The bottom line is that we are very satisfied with the actions and tasks delivered by both PROFI and IBM." - Dr.-Ing. Stefan Förster, Head of Medical Informatics, Klinikum Mittleres Erzgebirge

Klinikum Chemnitz


Deployment country:

Business Continuity, Business Resiliency, Enterprise Resource Planning, Infrastructure Simplification, Optimizing IT, Server Consolidation, Virtualization

IBM Business Partner:


The Klinikum Mittleres Erzgebirge (KME) and Klinikum Chemnitz operate several locally owned hospitals in the Saxony region of Germany. KME possesses about 450 beds and employs some 700 clinical and non-clinical staff, with hospitals in Zschopau and Olbernhau. The Klinikum Chemnitz group is one of the largest hospitals in Germany, running a 1,790-bed hospital with 15 clinics, and employing more than 4,000 people.

Business need:
Older infrastructure for SAP applications at Klinikum Chemnitz presented a serious business risk, with database and application servers that were not protected adequately against failure. The systems had reached the limits of their capacity, and could not be extended further. The eight physical servers in the SAP environment were costly to support, maintain and administer.

Working closely with Klinikum Mittleres Erzgebirge GmbH, Klinikum Chemnitz chose to consolidate to a shared infrastructure for SAP applications, using virtualization to reduce from eight HP servers to two IBM Power Systems servers. Data storage was moved from an isolated RAID storage system to a SAN based on IBM System Storage DS4000 disk systems. Data management was rationalized by standardizing on IBM DB2, with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for automated backup, archive and restore services

Reduced initial investment costs by 20 percent and cut operating costs by 10 percent with a shared infrastructure, using IBM PowerVM to support multiple virtual servers on each p570 server. Reduced user response times by 35 to 40 percent in dialogue mode and by a factor of four or five in batch mode. Cut system recovery time in case of component failure from one day to around 10 minutes. Reduced time for complete data recovery in case of disaster from one day to around two hours.

Case Study

Click here for a German version

The Klinikum Mittleres Erzgebirge (KME) and Klinikum Chemnitz operate several locally owned hospitals in the Saxony region of Germany. KME possesses about 450 beds and employs some 700 clinical and non-clinical staff, with hospitals in Zschopau and Olbernhau. The Klinikum Chemnitz group is one of the largest hospitals in Germany, running a 1,790-bed hospital with 15 clinics, and employing more than 4,000 people.

All significant business, financial and patient administration processes across the combined group are handled by SAP applications, using the SAP for Healthcare solution. The core data needs to be always available, and, because requirements are continually changing, the system needs to be able to grow and adapt to new demands. All shared systems infrastructure was hosted by Klinikum Mittleres Erzgebirge at its Zschopau location.

Dr.-Ing. Stefan Förster, Head of Medical Informatics at KME, explains, “The Chemnitz system was operating at its absolute limits, and we were not able to extend capacity further. The whole system architecture was outdated and the performance was not meeting the business needs. KME was experiencing similar issues, and had updated its IT infrastructure with help of the latest IBM technology in 2006. We therefore decided to leverage the synergetic potentials and start creating a combined solution in a cooperative project between both organizations.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Olaf Schlimpert, CEO of MidGerman Health GmbH Medizininformatik, the IT service provider for Klinikum Chemnitz, comments, “It is costly and time-consuming to run dedicated servers for each information system, and some of the servers were not being actively maintained. We only had one database server, which had reached the limits of its expansion, and a total failure would have caused a data outage of up to 24 hours. We were also running several operating systems, including TRU64, and 32- and 64-bit Linux, which further complicated maintenance.”

Possible routes to lower costs

To meet the twin challenges of availability and scalability, a team was formed including IT staff from both organizations, led by Dr. Förster. The team examined two possible approaches: deploy new server infrastructure at Chemnitz, or consolidate and extend the systems at Zschopau. The ambition was to introduce resilient systems, reduce operating costs, and implement scalable systems that would enable continued expansion. After an intensive study covering technical feasibility and cost-efficiency, the consolidation option was selected, offering hardware investment cost savings of around 20 percent and operating cost savings of around 10 percent annually.

The eight HP servers were replaced by two IBM Power Systems p5-570 servers, running the complete production SAP application landscape for both organizations. Two IBM p5-550 servers support the other SAP applications, such as development or consolidation systems. Virtual servers provide separate environments for the various SAP instances and the DB2 databases. Some 800 users at KME and about 1,700 users at Chemnitz access the SAP applications, with 600 concurrent users continually using the production systems.

“We wanted to create an economically advantageous solution,” says Dr Stefan Förster. “What we found really interesting regarding the IBM system architecture was the PowerVM virtualization technology. PowerVM allows you to run several systems within a single machine, even using different operating systems, and with fine-grained logical partitioning features. That was a big wow factor for us, and it was clear that virtualization would help us meet our objectives.

“The former monolithic systems were dedicated to specific tasks, with specific RAID storage systems in each machine. We had reached the point where we simply could not extend the systems in this direction any further cost-effectively. The new IBM architecture has taken us to another level of overall performance and system flexibility.”

“Virtualization allows us to assign capacities automatically, use dynamic load balancing, share virtual I/O devices and adapters, all of which help us to reduce costs and makes IT services management more efficient. The Micro-Partitioning facility allows us to assign tenths and even hundredths of CPU capacity to a virtual server, dynamically with or without limits, so that the server always consumes what it currently needs. That’s a very smart solution and a highlight for us! The technical advantages translate directly into business benefits, which convinced us to decide for IBM.”

Olaf Schlimpert adds, “The IBM solution provides some new possibilities not previously available. In the old set-up we needed to buy new hardware and install application servers or whatever was needed – now by virtualization this is rarely necessary, so we can provide new systems faster and more cost-effectively. The bottom line is high investment protection over the next years. Additionally, this is a more elegant solution: adding applications and servers does not add to complexity, which helps restrain administration and maintenance costs, too.”

Improving data management

During the evaluation and implementation project, the team also considered data management. It was vital to ensure that data was always available, and that a suitable disaster recovery service was in place.

“At the time, SAN technology was new to us,” says Stefan Förster. “We replaced the single RAID backup-managed, vulnerable database server with a SAN based on IBM System Storage DS4000 systems that would ensure that data was reliably accessible, and introduced data mirroring that would ensure continuity even if a specific storage device became unavailable.”

Two storage servers at different locations have been deployed, with data automatically and continuously mirrored to both locations. This arrangement has eliminated the single point of failure, and ensures data is always available for the critical patient and administration systems.

In 2005, KME had reviewed its database strategy, and selected IBM DB2 for SAP applications as the group-wide standard. A combination of superior performance and lower licensing costs for SAP applications made DB2 the right choice for KME. Klinikum Chemnitz chose to migrate from its existing Oracle database platform to DB2 for the same reasons, which would also ensure a uniform and simplified landscape for the combined operations.

“We wanted to run one, consistent, database environment, which would reduce workload and make it easier to integrate tasks such as backup across all systems. We measured and compared database solutions, and DB2 was better than other enterprise-class systems we considered, not only in terms of performance metrics, but also concerning handling and management of backups and costs. Database systems differ substantially from each other when it comes to maintenance, and we found that DB2 offers significant cost savings here,” says Stefan Förster.

“Additionally, the DB2 licensing arrangements for SAP applications provide very attractive price points and lower costs than competitor offerings, with a better cost-performance ratio.

Ensuring high availability

Klinikum Mittlere Erzgebirge implemented IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Solutions across its entire SAP and non-SAP application environment, yielding fast and flexible backup, recovery and archiving processes. Resource utilization can be optimized by balancing workload between storage subsystems. By deploying IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, Klinikum Mittleres Ergebirge has minimized system downtime and implemented simple, cost-efficient backup processes that provide operational flexibility.

“We selected IBM Tivoli Storage Manager to provide incremental backups for all SAP and other critical data,” says Stefan Förster. “ The IBM Tivoli solution reduces our administrative overhead for data backup significantly, enables fast and reliable backup and recovery of data, and provides greater reassurance that business-critical information is being safeguarded at all times.”

Though backups were completed every day, the previous solution was vulnerable to server failure. The worst-case scenario would have been loss of a full day’s data, with restore times of several hours. To mitigate this risk, the new IBM servers are clustered using IBM PowerHA. In the case of server failure, workload is automatically transferred to available servers for continuous operation.

“Fortunately, we have never experienced a major hardware failure, and SAP applications have only been unavailable during planned maintenance,” says Stefan Förster. “SAP application availability on the IBM Power Systems servers has been better than 99.8 percent – or 99.9 percent if you exclude maintenance windows. With PowerHA clustering, and the data mirrored to the remote DS4000 systems, we expect SAP application availability to become near-continuous.

“PowerHA monitors the systems continuously and disaster recovery is automated, responding automatically to different breakdown scenarios and moving applications from one system to the other. We operate two p570 systems in the cluster and all production SAP systems run on these machines. In a breakdown scenario, perhaps when a hardware component fails, the affected systems move to the second machine with no manual intervention. After 10 minutes the systems are back online.

“It is well known that server failures tend to happen out of hours or during vacations – yet with PowerHA we remove the burden from our standby staff, which saves costs and allows us to devote time to more proactive tasks.”

Excellent project management

Under EU rules, the implementation project was offered for public tender, which was won by IBM Business Partner PROFI.

“PROFI completed the hardware implementation promptly and on time, with a very smooth set up, integration and migration of the production systems to the new platform, and we were very satisfied with their work. IBM completed implementation of the SAP applications and DB2 migration, again a very satisfactory service,” says Stefan Förster.

A spin-off benefit of the program has been reduced power costs. By consolidating its infrastructure to a smaller number of more powerful IBM Power Systems servers using PowerVM virtualization technologies, total energy consumption has been significantly reduced. The dedicated RAID arrays in the previous standalone servers have been replaced by the DS4000 storage systems, which allows total storage space to be allocated more efficiently and the energy-hungry RAID systems to be eliminated.

Common infrastructure – better results

The new IBM infrastructure is delivering straight performance improvements when compared with the former solution, and reduced response times are leading to increased user satisfaction and rapid user acceptance.

Stefan Förster comments, “The common infrastructure for the hospitals leads to ease of IT management, for example through joint release updates and software patches. Previously, these tasks and services were duplicated, whereas now we have the option to plan and execute upgrades or the implementation of new features across all business units, reducing the cost of operation. The next joint task of our IT departments will be to migrate to the latest release – SAP ERP 6.0.”

He concludes: “The new IBM infrastructure has given us the capacity, performance and availability to complete a number of consolidation projects successfully. The bottom line is that we are very satisfied with the actions and tasks delivered by both PROFI and IBM.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Power Systems, Storage: DS4000, System Networking: SAN Fibre Channel Switches, Storage: TS3310 Tape Library, System p: System p5 550 Express - AIX 5L Edition, System p: System p5 570

Tivoli Storage Manager, DB2 for AIX

Operating system:

IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

IBM Deutschland GmbH, D-70548 Stuttgart, ibm.com/solutions/sap IBM, the IBM logo, and ibm.com are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Xeon and the Intel Xeon logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. This case study illustrates how one IBM customer uses IBM and/or IBM Business Partner technologies/services. Many factors have contributed to the results and benefits described. IBM does not guarantee comparable results. All information contained herein was provided by the featured customer and/or IBM Business Partner. IBM does not attest to its accuracy. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models. © Copyright IBM Corp. 2009. All rights reserved. © Copyright 2009 SAP AG. SAP AG, Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16, D-69190 Walldorf. SAP, the SAP logo, SAP and all other SAP products and services mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and several other countries.