Werner & Mertz increased business agility by implementing a fully virtualized private cloud with SAP and IBM

Published on 22-Dec-2012

"The IBM and c.a.r.u.s. team delivered the robust, dependable infrastructure that we wanted, and into the bargain created a solution with significantly higher performance and much better time to market for our customers." - Michael Moser, CIO, Werner & Mertz

Customer:
Werner & Mertz GmbH

Industry:
Consumer Products

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Customer Relationship Management, Enabling Business Flexibility, Enterprise Resource Planning, Information Integration, Information Management Foundation, Small & Medium Business, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
SAP, c.a.r.u.s. Information Technology, VMware

Overview

Family-owned Werner & Mertz GmbH specializes in eco-friendly detergents and cleaning products for both domestic and professional use. Headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the company employs approximately 400 people in Germany and Austria to develop and manufacture its cleaning products, which it sells across Europe and in some other countries. The company owns a broad range of well-known brands such as Erdal, Frosch, Emsal, tuba, tarax, tofix, rorax, and ratzfatz and Tana, generating annual sales revenues of nearly 300 million Euro.

Business need:
Customer objectives included: increase business agility to react to changes in the market; reduce the time taken to implement changes; introduce new business services more rapidly; cut costs of IT operations to compete with large multinationals in the European market; enable real-time access to business-critical data by improving SAP application performance; provide better customized solutions to business users.

Solution:
Worked with IBM Business Partner c.a.r.u.s. Information Technology to bring the SAP solutions in-house to enable direct control of applications and development and deploy: IBM System x3650 M4 servers with Microsoft Windows operating system; VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus virtualization with vCenter management, vMotion, fully automated, private cloud; IBM SAN Volume Controller stretched cluster with IBM System Storage DS3512 as quorum disk and IBM Easy Tier; IBM Storwize V7000 as storage sub-system; IBM System Storage DS3524 for archiving; IBM System Storage SAN24B-4 SAN switches.

Benefits:
Customer benefits included: moving the solutions in-house enables the company to react quickly to changes in the market; consolidation of applications and storage reduces IT operational costs; storage virtualization enables Werner & Mertz to postpone costly storage investments; provides very fast access to business-critical data by implementing SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator; enables Werner & Mertz to identify inefficiencies in its business and ways to reduce cycle times and accelerate time-to-customer.

Case Study

About this paper

Werner & Mertz specializes in eco-friendly cleaning products. The company wanted to increase its business agility to react to changes in the market and to cut its operational costs, to help the company compete with large multinationals in the European market. Werner & Mertz relies on SAP solutions for business management, and running a flexible, scalable, and high-performance computing environment is an essential enabler of its operational management. To achieve its business objectives, the company decided to bring its SAP systems in house and deploy a fully virtualized private cloud designed and implemented by IBM Business Partner c.a.r.u.s. Information Technology. Werner & Mertz has achieved new levels of performance and flexibility, enabling the company to react quickly to changes in the market. In addition, the company has reduced its IT operational costs in the medium term and can postpone investments in storage infrastructure. New systems to test new features can be created in hours instead of weeks, since the company does not need to communicate all small changes to an external partner.

Customer objectives

  • Increase business agility to react to changes in the market
  • Reduce the time taken to implement changes
  • Introduce new business services more rapidly
  • Cut costs of IT operations to compete with large multinationals in the European market
  • Enable real-time access to business-critical data by improving SAP application performance
  • Provide better customized solutions to business users.

IBM solution
  • Worked with IBM Business Partner c.a.r.u.s. Information Technology to bring the SAP solutions in-house to enable direct control of applications and development
  • IBM System x3650 M4 servers with Microsoft Windows operating system
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus virtualization with vCenter management, vMotion, fully automated, private cloud
  • IBM SAN Volume Controller stretched cluster with IBM System Storage DS3512 as quorum disk and IBM Easy Tier
  • IBM Storwize V7000 as storage sub-system in each data center
  • IBM System Storage DS3524 for archiving
  • IBM System Storage SAN24B-4 SAN switches
  • Approximately 30 SAP systems: SAP ERP including finance, controlling, human capital management, warehouse management, SAP Customer Relationship Management, SAP Supply Chain Management, SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence.

Customer benefits
  • Moving the solutions in-house enables the company to react quickly to changes in the market.
  • Consolidation of applications and storage reduces IT operational costs
  • Storage virtualization enables Werner & Mertz to postpone costly storage investments
  • Provides very fast access to business-critical data by implementing SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator
  • Enables Werner & Mertz to identify inefficiencies in its business and ways to reduce cycle times and accelerate time-to-customer
  • By extending the life and usable capacity of existing storage devices, IBM SAN Volume Controller postpones future capital expenditure on new storage devices.

Background, starting point and objectives

About Werner & Mertz
Family-owned Werner & Mertz GmbH specializes in eco-friendly detergents and cleaning products for both domestic and professional use. Headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the company employs approximately 400 people in Germany and Austria to develop and manufacture its cleaning products, which it sells across Europe and in some other countries. The company owns a broad range of well-known brands such as Erdal, Frosch, Emsal, tuba, tarax, tofix, rorax, and ratzfatz and Tana, generating annual sales revenues of nearly 300 million Euro.

The company has a strong focus on environmental protection and complies with EMAS, the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. Werner & Mertz is a leading innovator in this field with its Frosch brand and cooperates with one of the largest German environmental protection associations, NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union). Recently its Frosch brand was awarded a prize by Reader’s Digest Magazine for its eco-friendly and sustainable products, beating all other German brands and manufacturers.

In recent years, Werner & Mertz has been undergoing a large program of modernization in reaction to tougher competition in the cleaning products market, which increasingly comes from large multinationals. As part of this process, the company is increasing its focus on sustainability and has built a new corporate headquarters to increase energy efficiency and use renewable energy where possible. Werner & Mertz needs to be able to react quickly to changes in the market to compete against large multinationals in the European market.

Initial IT environment
The company uses SAP solutions to manage all its business data regarding its finances, human resource management, supply chain and warehouse management. The integrated suite of SAP applications enables Werner & Mertz to trace its products through the entire supply chain. The SAP solutions are vital for the business, and provide an overview of the business and help executives to identify process inefficiencies that slow down time-to-customer. Werner & Mertz also acts as a Reference Customer for SAP, and is committed to following best practices for SAP solutions.

A few years ago, Werner & Mertz had decided to outsource its IT operations to a service provider, which managed and operated its mission-critical SAP systems.

Michael Moser, CIO at Werner & Mertz, explains, “After we outsourced the operation and management of our SAP ERP systems, we needed to coordinate every little change with an external partner. This coordination and the involvement of different companies with different processes reduced business agility. We also tailor services and applications to the business needs of individual departments; this became a cumbersome and lengthy process when all plans needed to be relayed to the IT services provider.

“We wanted to increase our ability to adapt to business conditions with a more flexible way of working. The aim was to be able to introduce changes and new business services rapidly and reliably.”

Business challenges and project objectives
Werner & Mertz had implemented the IBM Systems solution for SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator on site. However, with SAP ERP hosted externally and the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator system hosted internally, the solution was unable to gain access to SAP business-critical data at the kinds of speeds it wanted.

Naturally, the new solution would be designed to deliver all this at reduce operational costs, and with a planned pathway for expansion.

Technical solution
The Werner & Mertz team came to the conclusion that it would be more cost-efficient in the medium term to manage and run its SAP ERP operations in-house, and the team would be able to customize systems and configurations at short notice to react more rapidly to changes in the marketplace, such as competitor initiatives.

Werner & Mertz selected IBM Business Partner c.a.r.u.s. Information Technology GmbH Hannover and IBM to assist in the specification, architecture and deployment of the new solution.

Michael Moser comments, “The combined c.a.r.u.s. and IBM team offered in-depth knowledge and experience, giving us confidence that we would be able to specify, design and deploy the right solution, tailored to meet the company’s specific requirements. Most importantly, the integrated c.a.r.u.s. and IBM team allowed us to create the solution from what amounted to a single vendor, making this a simple project to manage.”

In its new corporate headquarters, Werner & Mertz has built a modern, eco-friendly and cost-efficient data center to host all of the company’s vital IT systems. The SAP solution includes a broad range of applications and modules including SAP ERP supporting business processes in finance, controlling, human capital management, and warehouse management. The company also deployed SAP Customer Relationship Management, SAP Supply Chain Management, SAP Advanced Planner and Optimizer and SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse.

To integrate its modern production facilities into its central SAP ERP system, Werner & Mertz implemented SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence. This application connects manufacturing systems to business processes and provides Werner & Mertz with deep insight into its supply chain with real-time information from manufacturing systems. This provides the company with a single source of information, which helps it to analyze manufacturing systems and other business processes.

Altogether, Werner & Mertz operates approximately 30 SAP systems of which 12 are productive. The company operates a single centralized SAP ERP instance for its global operations across all subsidiaries. This main SAP ERP system manages core business data and is almost 1 TB in size, accessed by some 500 users throughout the entire group.

Server architecture
Werner & Mertz worked with c.a.r.u.s. to design and implement a private cloud environment to host the company’s SAP solutions, relying on comprehensive experience and outstanding expertise from c.a.r.u.s. The team selected a private cloud configuration as the best way to provide the flexibility and automation to manage the company’s large SAP environment from one central console.

Working with c.a.r.u.s., Werner & Mertz installed VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus, which enables the company to manage logical resource pools and allocate resources to its different SAP workloads as required. Integrated virtual networking technology provides simplified network administration and management customized for virtual environments.

Sophisticated policy-based data center automation features from VMware ensure accurate and consistent solutions that are automatically replicated to create new SAP systems to quickly and easily test new features, tools or solutions with minimal effort. The ability to replicate SAP systems, rather than manually setting them up, saves the company many hours spent on IT administration for each new system deployed.

To support the company’s comprehensive SAP solution, ten IBM System x3650 M4 servers were deployed at the new data center. These servers are designed for energy efficiency, optimizing performance and density to achieve superior cost-efficiency.

Hans-Peter Weiler, Technology Head of IT at Werner & Mertz comments, “As we started from scratch, together with c.a.r.u.s. we developed a clean, straightforward solution. We used cost-efficient IBM System x servers and VMware virtualization technology to create a powerful solution which is scalable, reliable and easy to manage.”

The IBM servers feature Intel Xeon processors, with the IBM System x3650 M4 taking advantage of the Intel Xeon Processor E5-2600 series, which automatically regulates power consumption and intelligently adjusts server performance according to the application needs, maximizing both energy efficiency and performance. The Intel Xeon processors offer optimized I/O performance, which reduces latency by up to 30 percent, making data flow more rapidly and applications more responsive. Built-in hardware-based encryption capabilities supported by Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI) enable pervasive data encryption, yet with a significantly reduced performance overhead, to strengthen data protection across all applications.

The servers deployed include up to 256 GB main memory and innovative, thin hypervisor architecture, designed to optimize virtualization performance on all operating systems. These features make IBM System x3650 M4 servers a reliable engine to drive business-critical applications in cloud deployments.

Werner & Mertz deployed VMware vCenter Standard for centralized management of all virtual machines running across the ten IBM System x3650 M4 servers. To exploit the virtualization capabilities of VMware to the full, the team decided to use the Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) from VMware for its Microsoft Windows servers, for the entire SAP landscape including SAP production systems. This technology increases flexibility, as the virtual machines can be easily transferred from one storage and server system to another.

Michael Moser says, “With a solution based on IBM System x servers and VMware virtualization, designed and implemented by c.a.r.u.s., we created a reliable private cloud for our mission-critical SAP solutions. This configuration enables us to provide our IT infrastructure as an easily accessible service to our business users and developers.”

Storage architecture
For simplified, reliable and flexible data storage, the joint Werner & Mertz and c.a.r.u.s. team implemented IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), which virtualizes storage capacity. SVC consolidates existing storage spread over many devices – potentially from multiple vendors – into a single storage pool that can be allocated exactly as the need arises.

By using IBM SAN Volume Controller, investments in storage architecture can be postponed, since more data can be stored on existing storage devices by more efficient management of storage volumes.

The team implemented two IBM SAN Volume Controller nodes in a stretched cluster configuration with an IBM System Storage DS3512 array as quorum disk to ensure consistency in the event of failure. The redundant Fibre Channel switching fabric connecting the servers to the virtualized storage solution includes four IBM System Storage SAN24B-4 SAN switches.

Werner & Mertz manages the storage environment for its SAP systems centrally using the integrated IBM System Storage Productivity Center. IBM System Storage Productivity Center can be used to simply manage IBM storage products as well as mixed-vendor storage environments, saving time spent on storage administration.

To optimize storage performance, the company uses IBM Easy Tier on the IBM SAN Volume Controller cluster. IBM Easy Tier technology determines the appropriate tier of storage based on data access requirements, and moves it to the most appropriate device. Easy Tier automatically moves performance-critical data onto ultra-fast solid state drives (SSD), providing significant performance benefits without increasing administration or management workload. Both IBM SAN Volume Controller nodes include more than 500 GB usable solid state drive capacity.

Hans-Peter Weiler says, “We decided to install the solid state drives directly in the IBM SAN Volume Controller to provide optimal performance independent of the actual storage system. Furthermore, this configuration is more flexible and considerably improves storage performance during migrations from one storage system to another.”

Below the storage virtualization layer, Werner & Mertz implemented two IBM Storwize V7000 systems equipped with 15,000 rpm SAS disks for low data latency and excellent read/write performance. The storage arrays, which each offer a net capacity of 20 TB each, are equipped with redundant disk controllers for improved reliability, and are set up as RAID 5 arrays, with four hot spare disks per storage system. The individual disks are consolidated into managed disk groups, which are provided to the IBM SAN Volume Controller virtualization system as logical volumes.

Project achievements
In the past the internal team had to order additional resources from the hosting partner, often involving additional hardware and increasing the operating costs. Whereas previously implementation of new SAP instances took up to two weeks, the fully virtualized private cloud solution for the SAP systems enables Werner & Mertz to install new systems within a few hours, some 98 percent faster.

This technical improvement allows the company to test new features more easily, evaluate new tools and implement new solutions more rapidly in response to the external business environment.

In addition to substantially accelerated provisioning of new systems, the fully virtualized solution uses the available computing and storage capacity more efficiently. If extra data storage capacity is needed, Werner & Mertz can easily integrate any storage device from any vendor into the company’s storage environment, without increasing the storage administration workload.

The close integration with manufacturing systems allows Werner & Mertz to gather critical data of the manufacturing process automatically, tracking materials from end to end without any gaps and improving compliance with legal regulations.

Michael Moser comments, “Thanks to the professional IBM and c.a.r.u.s. specialists, our team managed to implement the new private cloud platform quickly. With the new solution, we can tailor our systems to the needs of individual faculties within the business without having to communicate everything to an external partner. With improved resource utilization through complete virtualization, we are confident that we will cut our IT operation costs substantially over the coming years.

“One of our key objectives was to engage with a fully competent team that was able to provide a complete, end-to-end solution reliably and rapidly. The IBM and c.a.r.u.s. team delivered the robust, dependable infrastructure that we wanted, and into the bargain created a solution with significantly higher performance and much better time to market for our customers.”

Werner & Mertz has successfully cut the costs of IT operations and increased its business agility thanks to the virtualized private cloud solution from IBM and SAP.

Michael Moser concludes, “IBM and c.a.r.u.s. delivered outstanding consulting services to help us shape the right solution for Werner & Mertz, with excellent implementation provided through one combined team. The professional project management made it possible to move from proposal to go live in only six months, a great achievement, making a direct contribution to Werner & Mertz’s business objectives.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Storage: DS3500 Express, Storage: Storwize V7000, System Networking, System Networking: SAN24B-4, System x, System x: System x running hypervisor - VMware, System x: System x running Windows, System x: System x3650 M4

Software:
System Storage SAN Volume Controller

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

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