Transporting company growth to the next level by unleashing true scalability

Published on 12-Dec-2013

"IBM Real-time Compression delivers savings of up to 85 percent for some systems, which allows us to make much better use of our resources. It delays the need for us to make further investments in storage, helping us stretch budgets further." - ÆgirPalsson, Director of IT Technical Services, Samskip


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Enabling Business Flexibility, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

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Samskip is a global logistics company offering transport and related services by land, sea, rail and air. It employs 1,300 people at offices in 24 countries in five continents. Focusing on cost-efficient, sustainable and environmentally-friendly transport, Samskip achieves annual revenues of EUR 530 million (USD 718 million).

Business need:
To support growth in its IT infrastructure, which extends across multiple sites, Samskip needed to work out how to leverage economies of scale and create a more cost-efficient systems landscape.

By leveraging an IBM virtualization solution, Samskip transformed the utilization of IT resources and uncovered new efficiencies, enabling it to deliver greater IT capabilities while keeping costs level.

Optimization of licensing and utilizing storage compression eliminates the need for further investments, even as the number of users increases – maximizing return on investment for IT.

Case Study

To read an Icelandic version of this case study, click here

Samskip is a global logistics company offering transport and related services by land, sea, rail and air. It employs 1,300 people at offices in 24 countries in five continents. Focusing on cost-efficient, sustainable and environmentally-friendly transport, Samskip achieves annual revenues of EUR 530 million (USD 718 million).

Turning technology into business advantage
With a vast IT network that extends to locations across most of the globe, Samskip’s IT team has the unenviable task of ensuring that all users at any of its offices can count on 24/7 access to the systems that they need to do their jobs. To sustain a healthy level of growth, the company realized that it needed to find ways to stretch its IT budget further without reducing service quality.

One solution was to optimize IT efficiency, as explained by ÆgirPalsson, Director of IT Technical Services at Samskip, “Part of what makes my job so interesting is the expectation from management that we should constantly improve our existing IT service levels and offer new capabilities, all within the same tight budget. This means that we have to find and deploy more efficient and manageable technology, especially as our IT team has remained roughly the same size even as the company has grown.”

When Samskip decided to adopt a best-of-breed strategy for its application landscape, selecting the systems that most closely suited its needs instead of purchasing everything from a single vendor, it became more important than ever to find flexible hardware options that could offer optimal performance for a wide range of software.

“Our approach to IT is proactive rather than reactive, so when we suspected that we might run into issues with scalability in the future, we decided to move fast and refresh our server and storage landscape,” comments Palsson. “The priority was to ensure that we could dynamically scale up our IT resources when opportunities to expand arose. At the same time, we needed an infrastructure that could offer optimal interoperability for our varied application landscape.”

Long-term strategy
Samskip decided that virtualizing its IT resources was the answer to these challenges, and selected IBM technology as the best fit for its needs.

“We decided to move to IBM solutions in the year 2000, and this proved to be the right decision for us,” says Palsson. “In our opinion, the IBM roadmap is very clear and fits the direction of our business better than competing offerings on the market. As a result, we chose to work with Nýherji, our long-term collaborator and IBM’s main representative in Iceland, to explore the possibilities of IBM virtualization.”

The company deployed IBM® BladeCenter® PS700 Express servers, based on the latest-generation IBM POWER® processor technology, offering industry-leading performance. Harnessing IBM PowerVM® software to virtualize the blade servers, Samskip partitioned its server environment into a number of virtual machines running the IBM AIX® operating system. The solution supports the company’s business-critical systems, including shipping software, Oracle databases and the SAP ERP Financials application.

“A key advantage of choosing the IBM BladeCenter PS700 server is that migrating our Oracle database to the new environment enabled us to significantly optimize the licensing,” explains Palsson. “We also benefit greatly from the innate interoperability of the BladeCenter platform – while it provides advantages for running the Oracle software, it also delivers excellent performance for our SAP ERP Financials application. Since both these systems are critical to the business, it gives us real peace of mind to know that they are supported well by a single platform.”

Unleashing the power of virtualization
Leveraging IBM PowerVM virtualization enables Samskip to treat multiple servers as a single resource, maximizing utilization and dynamically allocating processing power as it is needed while systems are running. Using PowerVM Live Partition Mobility, the company can also migrate systems without affecting operation, giving unprecedented flexibility. Samskip also chose to implement IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller to manage a virtual storage pool based on the IBM Storwize® V7000 storage system.

“Virtualization with IBM technology enables us to work faster and with greater flexibility,” comments says Palsson. “It reduces the time we need to provision test and development environments by at least 80 percent, allowing us to take a more agile approach.”

By deploying both standard SAS and solid-state disk (SSD) drives within the Storwize V7000 system, Samskip takes advantage of the integrated IBM Easy Tier® function that automatically migrates frequently accessed data to the higher-performing, more expensive SSDs. Palsson adds, “For us, IBM Easy Tier is a key factor in balancing price with performance to achieve maximum benefit for the business.

Dramatic compression savings boost efficiency
Samskip has also succeeded in dramatically enhancing efficiency by making use of IBM Real-time Compression under SAN Volume Controller, which can enable storage of up to five times more active primary data in the same physical disk space.1

Palsson concludes, “We have already seen very impressive results with IBM Real-time Compression, and expect the results to improve further with the next firmware update. Compression savings of up to 85 percent for some systems allow us to make much better use of our resources, achieved without any impact on performance. It delays the need for us to make further investments in storage, helping us stretch budgets further.”

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Products and services used

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

BladeCenter, BladeCenter H Chassis, BladeCenter PS700 Express, Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000

AIX, System Storage SAN Volume Controller, PowerVM

Operating system:

IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Business Partner information:. Nyherji hf.. Borgartúni 37. 105 Reykjavik. Iceland. Produced in Iceland. December 2013. IBM, the IBM logo,, AIX, BladeCenter, Easy Tier, PowerVM, POWER7, Storwize and System Storage 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: Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. 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. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. 1. IBM lab measurements – April 2012