GUARDUS speeds time to market with faster development cycles

Accelerating deployment of application testing environments by 96 percent

Published on 19-Nov-2013

"We have limited space in our data center and want to use that space as efficiently as possible. When we compared different alternatives, we decided against a competitive solution and in favor of IBM, because we estimated that the IBM solution was much more compact and needed 30 percent less cooling." - Werner Dehne, Customer Service Management, GUARDUS Solutions AG

Customer:
GUARDUS Solutions AG

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Flex System, Flex System running hypervisor - VMware, Flex System running Linux - Red Hat, Flex System running Linux - SUSE, Flex System running OS - Windows, Flex System x240, PureSystems, Cloud Computing, Energy Efficiency, Infrastructure as a Service

IBM Business Partner:
transtec AG

Overview

With nearly 25 years of know-how, GUARDUS Solutions AG has become a reputable name in industrial manufacturing quality and production management. The core of this internationally recognized enterprise is based on the Manufacturing Execution System GUARDUS MES. This software solution combines with extensive manufacturing experience to cover the complete strategic and operational components of modern manufacturing enterprises, including seamless integration into your business processes.

Business need:
For software company GUARDUS Solutions AG, thorough testing is crucial to ensure top-quality products. Inefficient management of fragmented test environments was threatening the company’s productivity.

Solution:
GUARDUS replaced 20 heterogeneous servers with a consolidated infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud environment, based on the IBM Flex System™ with four compute nodes and the external IBM® Storwize® V3700.

Benefits:
Test environments can be deployed 96 percent faster. Reduced administration time by 20 hours per month. Energy use for cooling the system is estimated to be 30 percent less than a comparable offering.

Case Study

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

With nearly 25 years of know-how, GUARDUS Solutions AG has become a reputable name in industrial manufacturing quality and production management. The core of this internationally recognized enterprise is based on the Manufacturing Execution System GUARDUS MES. This software solution combines with extensive manufacturing experience to cover the complete strategic and operational components of modern manufacturing enterprises, including seamless integration into your business processes.

GUARDUS’ customers rely on the company’s software to manage, visualize and monitor processes in real time. Any failures could translate into interruptions or delays to production lines and other processes, which could potentially have a negative effect on customers’ profits and reputations. To protect against this, GUARDUS needs to regularly test its software solutions in a variety of different environments to identify issues and develop and release patches.

As GUARDUS expanded over the years, its development and test environments became increasingly fragmented. The infrastructure was based on a number of outdated desktops and servers that were reconfigured to host test installations of the company’s applications.

This heterogeneous test infrastructure was too difficult to scale, and became unreliable, requiring significant attention from the administrator. Managing the environment was time-consuming, and when parts failed, it was often impossible to replace them. As a result, new servers had to be found and configured to move systems manually from the failed hardware.

Werner Dehne, Customer Service Management at GUARDUS Solutions AG says, “Inefficient management of the existing development and test systems was costly, slowed down our workflows and negatively impacted the productivity of developers and consultants who rely on these systems. And the situation was about to get worse: we wanted to extend our testing capabilities, which meant we needed to add two additional physical servers. Before we added to the sprawling test and development infrastructure, we wanted to see if there was a better and more efficient alternative available.”

Implementing a compact cloud solution
GUARDUS evaluated offers from a number of different vendors, and ultimately chose to work with its long-time IT service provider and IBM Business Partner transtec AG to deploy a tailored solution based on the IBM Flex System offering.

Working with transtec, GUARDUS replaced 20 physical servers with an IBM Flex System solution, which features four IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes that are connected to an IBM Storwize V3700 disk system through a 10 Gbps iSCSI-over-Ethernet link. For simplified network management, GUARDUS also implemented an IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 scalable switch.

Building on the internal infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities provided by the IBM Flex System solution, GUARDUS has created a private cloud platform to support its testing and development environment, enabling the company to benefit from a centralized pool of resources without compromising on flexibility. The IBM Flex System Chassis Management Module offers the company a unified infrastructure management system that simplifies system and network administration.

Virtualized with VMware vSphere virtualization software, the IBM Flex System solution currently supports 20 virtual machines, all of which are efficiently managed using VMware vCenter. The solution provides the company with unprecedented flexibility, because it can run multiple operating systems concurrently – including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows – with minimal complexity.

“The IBM Flex System enables us to utilize resources much more efficiently than before, running more systems within a smaller footprint,” comments Dehne, “We have limited space in our data center and want to use that space as efficiently as possible. When we compared different alternatives, we decided against a competitive solution and in favor of IBM, because we estimated that the IBM solution was much more compact, saving space, and needed 30 percent less cooling, saving operating costs.”

Working faster and more efficiently
GUARDUS has substantially improved deployment processes. Previously, setting up new test systems involved sourcing hardware and sometimes extending memory or adding disks, before manually installing and configuring an operating system and setting up the relevant applications. This often caused a significant delay before testing could actually begin.

“With the old infrastructure, configuring new test environments could take eight hours or more,” says Dehne. “Today, we simply clone a virtual machine template and update the configuration, and the new system is running within 15 minutes – an improvement of more than 96 percent. This translates into shorter testing and development cycles, and allows us to get products and patches to our customers faster.”

In the past, the GUARDUS team spent approximately 20 hours each month managing the test and development infrastructure. Since deploying the IBM Flex System offering, this has been cut to just between one and two hours, a reduction of up to 95 percent and time that can be spent on more productive work.

GUARDUS also benefits from superior availability and performance. Testing applications and changing configurations involves regular system restarts. While its physical servers needed up to 20 minutes to restart, the company can reboot virtual machines running on IBM Flex System within two minutes, reducing scheduled downtime by 90 percent.

Most importantly, choosing IBM Flex System as its strategic computing platform is an investment for the future. Dehne concludes, “We selected IBM Flex System as long-term solution for our IT challenges. By implementing the latest technology from IBM, we have the security of knowing that the environment is fully supported for ten years. Competitors only offered five-year support, a deal-breaker for a company with a future-oriented growth strategy like GUARDUS.”

Accelerating time to market by cutting development cycles
GUARDUS implemented an integrated infrastructure solution designed for cloud operations, based on the IBM Flex System. A highly optimized environment with built-in expertise, IBM Flex System allows the company to utilize resources much more efficiently than before. Automated deployment processes speed development cycles and give GUARDUS the flexibility and agility it needs to provide outstanding customer service.

For more information
To learn more about IBM PureSystems™, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at: ibm.com/puresystems

To learn more about products, services and solutions from transtec, please visit www.transtec.de

For more information on GUARDUS Solutions AG visit: www.guardus-solutions.de/en

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Flex System, Flex System running hypervisor - VMware, Flex System running Linux - Red Hat, Flex System running Linux - SUSE, Flex System running OS - Windows, Flex System x240, Storage: Storwize V3700, System Networking, System Networking: IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093 10 Gb Scalable Switch

Operating system:
Linux, Novell SUSE Linux

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Deutschland GmbH, IBM-Allee 1, 71139 Ehningen, Deutschland. ibm.com/de. IBM Österreich, Obere Donaustrasse 95, 1020 Wien. ibm.com/at. IBM Schweiz, Vulkanstrasse 106, 8010 Zürich. ibm.com/ch. Produced in Germany. November 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Flex System, IBM Flex System Manager, PureFlex, PureSystems and Storwize are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Linux is a registered 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. IBM and transtec AG are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor transtec AG makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.