Marico deploys RHEL for SAP ERP
FMCG manufacturer reduced IT costs by 50 percent and increased
performance by migrating mission-critical SA P applications to Red Hat Enterprise
Linux. By Rajendra Chaudhary
Head IT, MARICO
"We didn't want any support level issues to arise due to co-existence
of heterogeneous systems with both Windows and UNIX"
In 2001, Marico, the FMCG company, grabbed headlines of the
every single enterprise IT media publication when it successfully deployed a
massive SAP installation comprising of SAP ERP, mySAP SCM, the SAP Advanced
Planning & Optimization (SAP APO) suite and mySAP Business Intelligence
solution. What was even more astonishing was that the company had completed
the task of deploying the project all at once in a big bang manner within a
short span of nine months,
In the years to come, the initiative delivered on all counts
helping the company streamline operations and lower its supply chain costs.
It helped Marico improve forecasting and planning exercises and even laid the
groundwork for other major developments, including technology-supported partnerships
with major distributors and vendor-managed inventory (VMI).
However, by 2008, the ERP had begun showing signs of fatigue.
Although it still supported Maricos mission-critical operational needs,
around late 2008, Girish Rao, Head-IT, Marico began contemplating an upgrade.
It was about time, said Girish Rao. We had been using the
ERP for almost a decade and our business had grown tremendously between 2001
and 2008. We just wanted to make sure that our ERP was up-to-date with the latest,
so that we could maintain our excellent operational standards. The upgrade to
the latest version of the SAP wouldve ensured that for us.
However, implementation of the new version of SAP meant that Marico would have
to invest significantly in newer computing resources. The Intel Itanium 2-based
hardware platform that the ERP ran on was about five years old. Using the same
hardware to support the upgraded ERP would not have been the best thing to do
for Marico, as it would have led to performance issues. Plus there was also
a chance that some of the newer functionalities would not have run properly.
Running the ERP on the old hardware platform would have defeated the whole
purpose of the exercise and so we decided against it. We took a call that we
would upgrade the hardware platform first, and then upgrade the ERP software,
Calculating the total cost of ownership of the project, Marico realized that
it became enormously high with HP-UX based servers for both application, as
well as database tier. It was a No-Go. Now, Marico had to look for
an alternative solution that would keep the TCO well within control, but at
the same time wouldnt compromise on other parameters such as performance,
reliability, and scalability of the solution.
It was then that the Marico IT team initiated the process of evaluating alternative
In search of a cost-effective combination of operating system and hardware platforms,
Raos team came across the recently launched Intel Nehalem processor based
servers running a Linux operating system on top. The Nehalem processor based-servers
from HP were up to the mark when we weighed them on parameters like performance
and scalability with that of HPs servers based on the RISC architecture.
Marico opted for the former as its hardware platform of choice for the SAP application
The Maricos team decided to implement a hybrid hardware infrastructure
that would leave its Oracle databases on the original HP-UX platform and migrate
its remaining systems, including SAP, to its Nehalem-based platform.
Now, all that Rao needed was an appropriate operating system for the Nehalem
Rao ruled out Microsoft Windows since he didnt want any support level
issues to arise due to co-existence of heterogeneous systems with both Windows
and UNIX. Instead, he evaluated two flavors of Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux
and Novell SUSE Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux was an an ideal fit as it not
only met the criteria of performance, reliability, scalability, and cost-effectiveness,
but it also allowed Marico to take advantage of the collaborative support structure
that exists for SAP implementations on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and avoid proprietary
Talking about the implementation at Marico, Satish Pai, Systems Administrator
Manager, Marico said, Implementation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux was one
of the key milestones in our IT deployments as it was the first time Marico
was implementing a Linux-based open source solution. We chose Red Hat because
we felt that it was stable, secure, and had better support structure than SUSE
Linux. Additionally, there were many success stories of SAP implementations
on Red Hat Enterprise Linux all over the world, which encouraged us to select
Red Hat, he added.
As a result of SAPs commitment to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating
system as a long-term strategic supported platform for SAP customers worldwide,
Marico was assured that the end-user solution would have end-to-end support
from the hardware, through to the operating system and the business applications.
The migration of Maricos mission-critical SAP applications to Red Hat
Enterprise Linux was completed in one month, and has since exhibited exceptional
stabilitya strong testament to the Rao and his team at Marico.
With Red Hat, we were able to extract tremendous value from our systems
and applications. Red Hat freed us from vendor lock-in, and enabled our organization
to choose commodity hardware platforms that delivered flexibility and high performance,
Red Hat solutions also allowed Marico to lower its IT costs by 50 percent, simplify
its management, reduce systems maintenance, and increase scalability and performance
with SAP Business Suite. Red Hat solutions allow you to extract more from
your systems to generate excellent performance at a very low cost. We estimate
a reduction of at least 50 percent in the total cost of ownership due to the
migration exercise, averred Pai.
A large portion of Maricos cost savings resulted from the elimination
of software licensing fees that are standard with proprietary vendors and the
hardware cost due to the usage of RISC-based architecture.
We make our IT decisions after thoroughly examining and understanding
the potential impact on our business, performance requirements, and the net
impact on our operating costs. In that sense, running SAP Business Suite applications
on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform delivers maximum value to our
business enabling business growth, said Girish Rao.
According to Rao, given the success he has enjoyed with RHEL,
he is now planning to consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux for its database layer,
which is currently running on HP-UX. Thoroughly impressed by the stability and
the performance of the Red Hat system, Marico is also evaluating migrating other
applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Overall, Red Hat provided Marico with
enterprise-class solutions at an affordable price without any compromise on
performance and scalability.
Company: Marico Ltd.
Industry: FMCG / Wellness & Beauty Solutions.
Business challenge: To design a reliable,
stable, high-performance, scalable, and cost-effective SAP-based Enterprise
Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Solution: Marico migrated its mission-critical
SAP application tier from HP-UX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and increased
flexibility, scalability, and performance while reducing costs.
Software: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced
Platform, SAP Business Suite (R3 and BW), Oracle 10 G DB (Approx. size
1 TB for R3), HP-UX for database
Hardware: HP Blade System C 7000 with BL
860 C (2 Nos. Total 4 CPUs) For Database tier; HP BL 460 G6 servers
(4 Nos. Total 8 CPUs) For SAP application tier.
Migration path: HP-UX to Red Hat Enterprise
Linux Advanced Platform.
Benefits: Increased flexibility and choice
by freeing the organization from vendor lock-in, decreased total cost
of ownership (TCO) by 50 percent, simplified management, reduced systems
maintenance, increased scalability and performance.