TU München creates a state-of-the-art research environment

With a smart cloud-enabled infrastructure based on IBM Power Systems

Published on 10-Oct-2011

"This innovative and highly efficient IBM and SAP 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. " - Dr. Holger Wittges, UCC Manager, TU München

Customer:
Technische Universität München

Industry:
Education

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Cloud Computing, Infrastructure Simplification, Optimizing IT, Smarter Computing, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

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:
At the start of each academic session, Technische Universität München (TU München) struggled to complete its systems configuration work cost-effectively, with immense pressure on time and computing resources.

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

Benefits:
TU München can provision a new logical partition (LPAR) 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 from MaxDB to DB2 has delivered storage space reductions of approximately 45 percent.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, click here.

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.

TU München is a member of the global SAP University Alliances Program – a global initiative covering more than 1,000 universities and educational institutions in more than 50 countries, helping to introduce students to modern software applications. 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. To support the university, SAP donates the latest software releases of its Business Suite 7 and organizes free training courses.

The configuration challenge
At the start of every semester, TU München needs to provide more than 100 operating system images and associated SAP software such as SAP Business Suite 7 systems for student coursework and academic research.

TU München used a mixture of about 96 blades and 60 Sun servers, in combination with the MaxDB database. Each dedicated Sun server took up to five hours to configure, and a further three days to provision with the relevant SAP landscape, resulting in an enormous manual workload that had to be completed within a specific timeframe.

Dealing with blocked resources
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 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
Working closely with IBM and SAP, TU München consolidated its 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 each, and with two IBM BladeCenter H systems.

Although the summed-up 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 much more effectively. Using IBM virtualization technology, TU München will map more than 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 power, 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.

All servers now have access to the new IBM XIV storage system, which intelligently manages data access to increase overall performance.

TU München has optimized its storage environment by replacing thirteen full racks and cabling with just four half-full racks. The university estimates that it has cut energy consumption for the SAP hardware pool by 80 percent, resulting in significant cost savings as well as leveraging the idea of Green IT.

Benefits of Active Memory Expansion
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 without any disruption to their end-users. DB2 offered storage space reductions of about one-third as it handles Unicode data very efficiently by using highly advanced compression algorithms.

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, storage access, and databases. Based on the new process, TU München is able to provision a new, fully-configured server in a separate LPAR in just 30 minutes, a 90 percent reduction.

TU München also uses IBM PowerVM Live Partition Mobility (LPM) to increase overall availability and manage workload distribution. With LPM it is possible to move individual virtual systems from one physical server to another during runtime, without any interruption for users. TU München uses LPM extensively to reduce the time needed for the installation of fresh duplicate systems by around 80 percent.

SAP Business Suite 7 cloud-ready on IBM POWER platform
Requiring a means of providing complete SAP installations on Power7 processor-based servers as fast as possible with little or no manual intervention, TU München decided to implement Tivoli Service Automation Manager.

The automation and management capabilities offered by Tivoli Service Automation Manager are essential for delivering cloud solutions for applications like SAP. Tivoli Service Automation Manager is able to handle the workflows and user dialogs of an unattended SAP installation, and directly enables a largely automated SAP installation process for the majority of applications, dramatically reducing the manual workload.

Having taken the first steps towards full cloud-enablement of SAP Business Suite 7, it is now easier for TU München to deliver on its educational commitments and drive future educational innovation.

Dr. Holger Wittges, UCC Manager, TU München concludes, “This innovative and highly efficient IBM and SAP 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.”

Designed for Data: TU München made use of Active Memory Expansion, a feature of the IBM Power 750 servers, to compress data in the main memory and enable the optimal utilization of physical resources.

Tuned to the Task: Server virtualization has enabled TU München to replace 150 Sun servers with just two IBM servers combined with two IBM BladeCenter systems, cutting 13 full racks to just four half-full racks. TU München extensively uses IBM Power VMs’ Live Partition Mobility feature to dynamically move workloads between servers without any downtime to the end-users.

Managed in the Cloud: IBM implemented an advanced end-to-end virtualization solution at TU München, replacing the university’s existing server landscape with a fully virtualized IBM POWER landscape. TU München has also taken steps to deliver cloud solutions for applications such as SAP on the IBM Power platform.

Driving Innovation: The new IBM and SAP infrastructure will enable TU München to expand research opportunities in business and information systems engineering. Students at the university will be able to conduct ambitious projects in the competitive field of cloud computing research, providing the university with the most cutting-edge technical research environment in Germany.

Products and services used

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

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

Software:
AIX, Tivoli Service Automation Manager, Tivoli Storage Manager, DB2 for AIX, PowerVM, Tivoli Monitoring

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Deutschland GmbH 71137 Ehningen Deutschland ibm.com/de IBM Österreich Obere Donaustrasse 951020 Wien ibm.com/at IBM Schweiz Vulkanstrasse 1068010 Zürich ibm.com/ch Produced in Germany October 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Tivoli, PowerVM, DB2, AIX, BladeCenter, Power and XIV 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: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Intel, the Intel logo, and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. 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. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.