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case study K+S GROUP



The goals of the K+S Group are what drive its IT strategy. Close cooperation between IT organization and business units results in IT solutions that support both integration of the units and expansion. The K+S Group now ranks among the world’s leading suppliers of standard and specialty fertilizers and is committed to a strategy of healthy, sustainable growth. Of course, the Company’s IT resources also have to keep pace with this growth. And that applies especially to the area of SAP applications. K+S IT-Services GmbH (formerly data process GmbH) is the K+S Group’s IT arm. Its IT architects formulated a set of principles to describe what they consider ideal SAP operation – permanent availability of services, consistently optimal performance and adequate capacity. In other words, they wanted all services to be available on all servers at all times. The project managers of K+S IT-Services GmbH accepted that challenge. They started out by virtualizing the IT environment and then went on to create an internal cloud infrastructure by setting up virtual pools of resources. RAPID AVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES AND IMPROVED ECONOMY the customer

K+S ranks among the world’s leading suppliers of standard and specialty fertilizers. With operations in Europe as well as North and South America, K+S is the world’s largest producer of salt in terms of production capacity. the project

Future-driven redesign of the IT landscape to create a “private cloud” to support dynamic alignment of the on-demand infrastructure and software as a function of the needs of business processes. the solution

Gradual deployment of major solution components. The initial phase involved a FlexFrame for SAP pilot project. This was followed by further enhancement of SAP operating processes through a release change to FlexFrame for SAP 4.2 with integrated VMware server virtualization. The introduction of the SAP BW Accelerator Infrastructure also contributed to improved performance. And the Adaptive Computing Controller (ACC) provided a control center for flexible allocation of computing resources.

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K+S IT-Services GmbH successfully implemented the change in operational management of SAP business applications with FlexFrame™ for SAP® from Fujitsu. The in-house IT service provider bears considerable responsibility since it offers its services to Group companies worldwide. The Kassel-based IT team originally handled SAP applications for all worldwide locations of the K+S Group with a conventional IT infrastructure. However, this structure was less than ideal since the dynamic growth of the Group constantly required changes and modifications in the applications and the server systems that could be accommodated only with considerable effort. That took time, which meant additional cost and compromises in service quality. As a result, there were various good reasons to switch to FlexFrame for SAP – to be able to respond more rapidly to changes in business requirements, to reduce administrative expense and, not least of all, to achieve significant cost economies. The decision to deploy a dynamic infrastructure was made after an indepth analysis of possible solutions. The team headed by CIO Dr. Ulrich Lamp also assessed the potential benefits of FlexFrame for SAP in the context of a series of tests that were carried out before the pilot project was launched and a numerous SAP systems went into productive operation. Further milestones then followed – for example, the release change to ECC 6.0 under Linux and migration of all SAP systems to FlexFrame for SAP. Finally, the introduction of the Adaptive Computing Controller and integration of VMware into FlexFrame for SAP gave the customer an additional array of efficient tools that permit optimal use of computing resources.

case study K+S GROUP

benefits for the customer

hardware, software, services

S eamless consolidation of the IT infrastructure for the SAP application landscape Use of cloud computing services in the form of a “private cloud” Significant reduction in total cost of ownership through the reduction of administrative expense and the use of standardized components More flexible response to changing business requirements Improved service quality for users due to shorter reaction times and high availability of both the infrastructure and SAP services


Agility is what it takes to compete in any marketplace. After all, growth and globalization call for dynamic business processes and the ability to realign operational structures whenever necessary. And that in turn sets in motion other changes that have to be taken into account in a company’s IT landscape, which requires a stable platform. In the case of the K+S Group, the conventional SAP landscape was becoming increasingly complex. The administrative effort required to handle cluster technology, backups, desktops, mobile systems and even the branch locations that had to be integrated into the Group-wide SAP IT infrastructure was enormous. Maintenance of high-availability operation to support the needs of users with this type of architecture ties up personnel resources and can devour a substantial share of a company’s overall IT budget. K+S IT-Services GmbH, which is responsible for Group IT resources, opted to address this situation through radical modernization and formulated four major requirements: Implementation of a 2-site configuration for all productive systems Internal definition of RTOs High availability for all SAP systems Lower operating costs LONG-TERM COMPETITIVENESS WITH TECHNOLOGY FROM FUJITSU

K+S’ IT decision-makers found the dynamic infrastructure solution they were looking for in FlexFrame for SAP. When they opted to deploy FlexFrame for SAP, cost economy and improved maintenance were not the only considerations they took into account. The agility required to respond to changes in business requirements was a factor that was equally important. Of course, they based their decision on in-depth analysis of solutions and tests. Today, all SAP systems – an impressive 120 in all – have been migrated to FlexFrame. A total of 40 SAP lines are running on 136 PRIMERGY blade and stand-alone servers. These servers are not mirrored over the data centers, but are both productive. Two FlexFrame control nodes, servers and storage are distributed over two physically separate locations. This approach provides 100% protection against outages and avoids the cost of a standby environment. Recent integration of VMware into FlexFrame for SAP and the introduction of the Adaptive

2 -site configuration: Version 4.2 and 4.1 of FlexFrame™ for SAP® with 136 PRIMERGY Series blade and stand-alone servers Increase in performance of the SAP Business Warehouse (BW) through the use of Fujitsu’s BW Accelerator Infrastructure, PRIMERGY BX620 S4 Quad Core Blade Server with a dedicated NetApp FAS3140 Filer Complete virtualization in the SAP world: FlexFrame™ for SAP® with integrated VMware Control center: Adaptive Computing Controller 7.11 Integration of VMware Storage: NetApp Filer systems in a NetApp MetroCluster SAP cloning with NetApp FlexClone Database: DB2

Computing Controller (ACC) also contribute to the quality of the centralized SAP environment. The SAP world of the K+S Group is now completely virtualized, and deployment of the ACC has significantly simplified administration of the SAP IT infrastructure. Some 5,000 users throughout the entire K+S group now benefit from an extremely stable platform and unlimited availability of SAP services. FIRST “PRIVATE CLOUD” ON THE MARKET

With its combination of FlexFrame for SAP and VMware ESX, K+S ITServices GmbH created the first and only solution on the market to feature virtualization at both the hardware and application levels. And, as was to be expected, this extremely dynamic IT solution produced impressive results. For example, all SAP systems could easily be gradually migrated to FlexFrame for SAP. The administrators quickly became familiar with the dynamic IT infrastructure, which meant, for example, that several release changes could be handled within a short time frame without the slightest problem. To be the first to strike out in new direction and deploy new ideas is typical of the IT architects of K+S IT-Services GmbH. And success proved them right. System Engineer Data Center Marco Blüse, who is the spokesman for the FlexFrame for SAP panel within the Fujitsu Users Association, expressed his enthusiasm over the beneficial effects of the IT cloud: “WITH FLEXFRAME FOR SAP aND PRIMERGY BLADE SERVER TECHNOLOGY FROM FUJITSU, WE WERE ABLE TO PAVE THE WAY for A HIGH LEVEL OF VIRTUALIZATION AND CREATE OUR OWN PRIVATE CLOUD. WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SAVINGS THAT WILL RESULT FROM THE REDUCTION IN COMPLEXITY AT THE APPLICATION LEVEL. PLUS, WE’RE MORE AGILE THAN EVER BEFORE SINCE WE CAN NOW ALIGN IT RESOURCES AS A FUNCTION OF OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN NEXT TO NO TIME AT ALL.”

This new-found flexibility is paying off for the world’s leading supplier of standard and specialty fertilizers in the form of more effective everyday business processes. FlexFrame for SAP now makes it much easier to make the changes and modifications in applications that affect the underlying server systems.


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