RealTime IT News

IBM Helps With Mainframe Move

"Linux is making significant inroads into the corporate marketplace."

For the past several years you could find some variant of this phrase reported about the time a LinuxWorld tradeshow rolled around. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to support such a claim, though it depends on how you define "significant." But the latest declaration has some resonance.

IBM has announced that Baldor Electric, a global designer and manufacturer of industrial electric motors and generators, has reduced its operations overhead and IT costs, while improving performance of its core business applications by 40 percent by consolidating its SAP applications on an IBM mainframe.

Baldor consolidated several UNIX-based servers onto one IBM eServer zSeries 990. Using zSeries partitioning and virtualization technologies, Baldor is able to run the entire set of its global SAP applications in 24 separate partitions on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and z/OS, all on one box. The company relies on SAP solutions running on zSeries to power its entire business -- including sales and distribution, manufacturing, payroll and finance -- supporting 3,800 employees worldwide.

"The migration of our SAP application servers to Linux on the zSeries produced an immediate increase in performance, and has made it easier to manage and maintain our systems," Mark Shackleford, director of Information Systems at Baldor Electric, said in a statement. "It has also significantly trimmed the total cost of IT and reduced the administrative workload on our department -- requiring less than 40 technology professionals to run our global operation."

On the hardware side, the selection of the IBM zSeries mainframe is another significant aspect of Baldor's successful implementation. IBM said the zSeries can go "decades" between outages. That has to be music to Baldor's ears as the company estimates $100,000 per hour of projected costs for systems downtime. And just in case, Baldor selected IBM's TotalStorage DS8000 storage system, connected to the mainframe, for back up and recovery of its nearly 14 terabytes of critical data.

To achieve increased application performance, Baldor is using HiperSockets (server-to-server communication with near-zero latency) for communication between the database servers on DB2 Universal Database for z/OS and the SAP application servers running on Linux for zSeries.

"More companies are harnessing the combined productivity and reliability of SAP solutions on IBM zSeries to meet the always-on requirements of operating in global, integrated environments," said Terri Virnig, vice president, IBM eServer zSeries in a statement.

SAP recently introduced support for the SAP Enterprise Portal on the zSeries mainframe, completing support for nearly all SAP NetWeaver components on the zSeries platform. SAP NetWeaver is designed as a comprehensive integration and application platform that works with a customer's existing IT infrastructure. The SAP Enterprise Portal, a core component of SAP NetWeaver, unifies key information and applications to give users a single view that spans the enterprise.