Technische Universität München enables cloud-ready SAP Business Suite 7 on IBM Power Systems

Published on 06-Jul-2011

Validated on 01 Oct 2013

"The IBM Solution Sales for SAP team in Germany provides excellent migration, integration and configuration services for the UCC, and we look forward to achieving energy savings and expanded research opportunities in business and information systems engineering." - Professor Helmut Krcmar, Academic Director of the UCC and Chair for Information Systems at the Department of Informatics at TU München

Technische Universität München


Deployment country:

Cloud Computing, Enterprise Resource Planning, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:


Technische Universität München (TU München) is one of the leading technical universities in Europe, focusing on engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, medicine and economics. The university employs around 7,500 academic and non-academic staff, and is attended by more than 26,000 students.

Business need:
Technische Universität München struggled to complete its systems configuration work cost-effectively, with immense pressure on time and computing resources.

The University implemented a fully cloud-enabled infrastructure based on the IBM Power Systems platform that automates many administration tasks and greatly accelerates preparation for the new semester.

TU München can provision a new server in 30 minutes (a 90 percent reduction) and provision a new SAP instance in less than half a day. The University replaced 150 Sun servers with two IBM Power servers and two IBM BladeCenter systems, cutting 13 full racks to four half-racks, a saving of 85 percent, and cut energy usage by around 80 percent. Migration to DB2 resulted in a database size of 63 GB, a 40 percent reduction.

Case Study

Technische Universität München (TU München) is one of the leading technical universities in Europe, focusing on engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences, medicine and economics. The university employs around 7,500 academic and non-academic staff, and is attended by more than 26,000 students.

As one of two SAP University Competence Centers (UCC) in Europe, TU München provides educational services, hosting, backup and recovery services for about 100 SAP instances, somewhat comparable in character and size to real-world production systems, used by around 150 affiliated educational institutions.

To support the university, SAP donates the latest software releases of its Business Suite 7 and organizes free training courses. TU München maintains close relationships with the International IBM SAP Competence Center in Walldorf and the IBM Solution Sales for SAP team within IBM Germany, which both provide support for TU München.

IBM supports TU München’s SAP projects by providing the IT infrastructure, based on the IBM Power Systems (POWER7) platform and XIV storage, including operating systems, database and virtualization technology, managed with the IBM Tivoli suite of applications. IBM offers intensive knowledge transfer and ongoing support through the regular presence of highly-qualified IT architects and IT specialists on site.
Based on this support, TU München provides the SAP systems supporting its education courses and research projects at relatively low costs, on an ultra-modern systems landscape.

The virtualization solution allows for a fast and flexible deployment of new SAP systems and software on POWER7 and Intel processor-based systems accessing IBM XIV storage systems. The new releases can be evaluated and tested under well-defined conditions, without affecting the production installation. TU München, SAP and IBM all benefit from the results of this intensive cooperation.

“Thanks to IBM’s generous support, the University Competence Center at TU München will be able to continue providing excellent services to our higher education partners in Europe,” explains Professor Helmut Krcmar, Academic Director of the UCC and Chair for Information Systems at the Department of Informatics at TU München.

“The IBM Solution Sales for SAP team Germany provides excellent migration, integration and configuration services for the UCC and we look forward to achieving energy savings and expanded research opportunities in business and information systems engineering.”

“Cloud Readiness for SAP Business Suite 7” is born
The current objective is to define and develop a highly automated hosting center for SAP applications based on standardized IBM POWER7 systems. Such “Cloud Readiness” enables TU München to offer a huge variety of different SAP systems and components for its education and training programs at the start of each semester. This SAP Cloud Readiness being tested here also offers completely new possibilities for future use in the business world.

Dealing with blocked resources
Prior to the introduction of IBM Power Systems, TU München used a mixture of about 96 blades and 60 Sun servers, in combination with the MaxDB database. The resources needed for each SAP system had to be assembled individually and installed from scratch out of this system pool of discrete servers and blades. The computing and storage systems assigned to each SAP system were reserved for the duration of the course. In some cases, the systems were under very high load during the course, and performance suffered as a result.

On the other hand, capacity was sitting idle when a course finished, waiting to be released. As a result, many courses suffered from poor infrastructure performance while other systems were not used for days. No workload balancing was possible.

Flexibility and performance improvements
The first ambition was to consolidate the existing server landscape, by replacing the previous hardware pool of multiple separate servers with virtual servers hosted on two high-performance IBM Power 750 Express servers with 32 POWER7 cores, and with two IBM BladeCenter H systems.

Although the total capacity of all the former Sun servers was higher than the total capacity of the new IBM servers, the flexibility of the virtualized landscape means that the new solution can be used more effectively.
Each IBM Power 750 Express, shipped with four 8-core POWER7 processor modules and 512GB main memory, is considerably more powerful than any individual Sun server, and any virtual server or application can be allocated almost all of this enormous capacity if required – much more than it was possible within the Sun landscape.

Using IBM virtualization technology, TU München will map some 100 SAP systems to individual logical partitions (LPARs) on the IBM systems. At times of peak workload, any individual LPAR can be assigned much more processing, memory and storage capacity than would have been available from a single Sun server, and scaled back when no longer needed.

Each BladeCenter is equipped with two POWER processor-based IBM BladeCenter PS701 Express, one PS700 Express, as well as two HX5 blade servers powered by Intel Xeon series processors.

IBM XIV Storage System
The advanced end-to-end virtualization solution implemented at TU München includes two IBM XIV storage systems, each equipped with 43 TB of hard disk capacity. Data was migrated to the XIV storage systems, resulting in balanced performance and capacity utilization as well as simplified management.

TU München uses IBM XIV advanced snapshot capabilities to rapidly restore systems in a matter of seconds. Cloning existing systems can even be completed during runtime. IBM XIV snapshots also help to cut down the time for system backup, without affecting the production landscape.

Through server virtualization, both automatic load balancing and resource management can be enabled very easily and the IBM XIV technology used for storage virtualization allows automatic load balancing of the storage systems.

In the past, it was frequently the case that some disk systems experienced very high loads while others were almost idle. All the servers have access to the new IBM XIV storage system, which intelligently manages data access to increase overall performance.

With virtualization, it is possible to utilize all of the existing computing power for those who actually work on the system. At TU München, all users enjoy the same and continuously excellent system performance and the IT team even receives many grateful emails from customers, as the systems are now substantially faster than before.

In the process, TU München has replaced thirteen full racks and cabling with just four half-full racks, and estimates that it has cut energy consumption for the SAP hardware pool by 80 percent.

Benefits of Active Memory Expansion (AME)
TU München also exploits the Active Memory Expansion (AME) feature of the POWER7 processors in the IBM Power 750 servers. AME compresses the data in main memory, allowing better utilization of physical resources and, in many cases, increasing the processing performance by enabling faster access to data.

By using AME a partition of 13 GB may reside in 10 GB of main memory. AME runs transparently in the background, and typically offers time and resource savings of about 30 percent.

TU München completed the migration of the SAP databases from MaxDB to IBM DB2 smoothly and easily. DB2 offered storage space reductions of about one-third as it handles Unicode data very efficiently by using highly advanced compression algorithms. For example, one of the MaxDB databases of 500 GB was cut to 360 GB, a 28 percent saving.

The lower storage consumption also reduces the load and store times for copy and backup processes, increasing IT productivity. IBM DB2 offers both table compression and index compression to improve database performance and resource usage even further. For another MaxDB database of 104 GB, migration to DB2 resulted in a database size of 63 GB, a 40 percent reduction.

Automated systems cut manual work
With the virtualized landscape in place on the Power Systems, TU München developed script-controlled mechanisms for automated installation of complete virtual machines, including operating systems and databases.

Using manual processes, it took up to five hours to provision the blank server necessary for the start of every new course. With some 100 system entities to create for the start of each semester, the total effort added up considerably, resulting in very high workload for the technical staff.
Based on the script-controlled process, TU München is able to provision a new, fully-configured server in a separate LPAR in just 30 minutes, a 90 percent reduction. Staff members are able to create multiple new system entities in just a couple of days, freeing them for more valuable course assistance tasks.

TU München also uses IBM PowerVM Live Partition Mobility (LPM) to automate live system installation and replication. With LPM it is possible to move individual virtual systems from one physical server to another during runtime, without interruption for users. LPM can also be used to replicate existing or preconfigured systems quickly, by copying, rather than moving, the system from source to target virtual machine.

TU München uses LPM extensively to reduce the time needed for the installation of fresh duplicate systems by around 80 percent. Server administrators need just a few mouse-clicks at the beginning of the process, and LPM handles the partition creation.

SAP Business Suite 7 cloud-ready on IBM POWER platform
In addition to the requirement for basic server capacity, TU München was faced with an enormous work and time challenge at the start of each semester, creating around 100 new SAP systems. To create an individual SAP instance, including all relevant software modules, data configuration, users, monitoring and provisioning, usually took up to three days.

For the future, TU München, SAP, and IBM therefore set themselves the objective of providing complete SAP installations on POWER7 processor-based servers as fast as possible with little or no manual intervention.

Tivoli Service Automation Manager captures the workflows and user dialogs of an SAP installation, and directly enables a largely automated SAP installation process for the majority of applications, dramatically reducing the manual workload.

The automation and management capabilities offered by Tivoli Service Automation Manager are essential for delivering cloud solutions for applications like SAP. Standardized provisioning and delivery models for cloud services save time and costs, improve service quality, and ensure consistent configuration even in sophisticated SAP environments.
The template-based deployment approach embedded in Tivoli Service Automation Manager hides the complexity of setting up new systems, and reduces the skills needed for deploying and managing services. IT staff members are released from tedious entry and checking of configuration data, and can focus on advanced, business-related tasks. This process is the final stage in the cloud enablement of SAP Business Suite 7 on the Power platform. Virtual server provisioning is fully automated and SAP instance creation requires only custom user decisions.

Dr. Holger Wittges, UCC Manager at TU München, says, “The IBM solution makes it possible to assemble a selection of preconfigured SAP systems and modules to create customized solutions with just a few mouse clicks, almost like an online shop. After the selection process and input of user information, then provisioning of the SAP solution, allocation of resources needed, installation of virtual system partitions and virtual disk drives as well as setup of the monitoring system, are completed, mostly automatically.”

“This innovative and highly efficient SAP and IBM infrastructure offers a great opportunity for TU München to conduct ambitious projects in the important and competitive field of cloud computing research. With a focus on enterprise systems we can offer an attractive research environment unlike any other university in Germany,” concludes Dr. Holger Wittges.

Products and services used

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

BladeCenter H Chassis, BladeCenter HX5, BladeCenter PS700 Express, BladeCenter PS701 Express, Power 750, Storage: XIV

Tivoli Storage Manager, AIX, Tivoli Monitoring, Tivoli Service Automation Manager, DB2 for AIX

IBM-SAP Alliance

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