"We have been delighted with FlexFrame for SAP. The solution has made our IT systems much faster and more flexible. We are now also able to manage virtual, physical, SAP and non-SAP systems centrally from a single console"
Peter Gans IT department, AKG Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH
Originally founded in 1919, AKG Group has gone on to become a world leader in unique cooling and heat exchange systems. In 2011, the family company, which today employs around 2,600 people (1,200 at its Hofgeismar headquarters), achieved sales of €270 million. The Group manufactures its high-performance cooling systems at 13 locations in eight countries. “Development is also spread across a number of different locations,” explains Peter Gans from AKG’s IT department. “We are currently in the process of storing all CAD data at our Hofgeismar headquarters. At the end of the day, our headquarters and international locations all benefit from knowledge sharing, from whichever location it originates.” AKG is implementing the central storage management systems to accompany its SAP implementation. For this purpose, AKG has set up a mirrored data centre in Hofgeismar comprising hardware from Fujitsu and NetApp.
There were several reasons that prompted AKG to implement SAP. As Peter Gans explains: “Previously, checking capacities at our various plants was relatively time consuming. Now, thanks to SAP, we can access any global parameter at the touch of a button and see immediately which subsidiary is best suited for a particular job.” SAP has also helped speed up the accounts process and customer relationship management. But the greatest benefit for AKG has been its additional implementation of FlexFrame for SAP. With this infrastructure solution from Fujitsu, the Group is able to manage both real and virtualised servers. The resulting pool of resources allows hardware capacities to be allocated dynamically to specific SAP applications as required, thereby simplifying and accelerating SAP processes on a sustained basis. This is also true for the SAP implementation itself, with FlexFrame shaving weeks off the time typically required for an implementation project.
To provide a stable infrastructure for its SAP systems, AKG first took the step of modernising the data centre at its Hofgeismar headquarters, installing state-of-the-art Fujitsu PRIMERGY BX900 S2 blade servers and NetApp FAS3140 filers for storage. The mirrored data centre features two blade servers and two NetApp filers with each respective server and filer operating redundantly. Each PRIMERGY BX900 has three server blades for SAP systems and five server blades for non-SAP systems, with the potential to expand to up to 18 blades per server. According to Peter Gans: “The energy cost savings these compact PRIMERGY servers offer are pretty impressive, considering that they consume around a third less energy than conventional servers.”
AKG’s IT environment is also impressing the system administrators. As Peter Gans explains: “Our IT systems are now highly flexible thanks to the virtualisation offered by VMware plus FlexFrame for SAP. AKG is now even benefiting from double virtualisation to some extent: FlexFrame also offers a virtualised environment, although at a module level rather than the traditional operating system level. This brings significant hardware savings, because we no longer require a dedicated server for each SAP module,” comments Gans. FlexFrame for SAP also improves availability because it enablesevery SAP service to run on any physical or virtual system.
In addition to increased security, AKG is also benefiting from the faster speed of its new environment and the time savings offered by FlexFrame for SAP. Peter Gans: “Simulating live operation for a SAP system now couldn’t be easier – and the subsequent migration of the tested system to our live environment only takes a matter of minutes.” Thanks to FlexFrame, SAP Provisioning is running three times faster. Operating system updates also take less time because there is no longer any need to restart each individual server.
The AKG Group currently has two terabytes of SAP data. The initial rollout will comprise 50 users, eventually increasing to 600 worldwide. With FlexFrame for SAP, AKG is able to maintain a better overview of its systems, as Peter Gans asserts: “There is no longer any need for us to monitor virtual and physical servers separately. Now, we can keep an eye on everything from one central console. Alongside the main user interface of FlexFrame for SAP, I also use a Web console to gain a quick overview, which I find very user friendly.”
AKG is gradually migrating all five of its German production sites to SAP and the centralised storage management solution.
Peter Gans: “We are currently in the process of building new plants in Turkey and India. The plan from the outset has been to have no dedicated servers at these locations; instead, all the data will be stored only at the headquarters.”
All in all, AKG has seen a significant improvement in data security and availability. The migration is due to be completed in 2014. AKG is delighted at the progress so far: “The advice we received from Fujitsu in respect of SAP system sizing and the server dimensions in particular couldn’t have been better,” continues Gans. “The implementation of FlexFrame for SAP, including the on-site training at our premises, took just three weeks – and the investment has paid off every day since then.”
Casestudy AKG Group (309 KB)