Video credit: Bosch

Bosch Group, a leading global engineering, technology, and services company based in Germany, had committed to and achieved an ambitious target: to become the world’s first fully carbon-neutral industrial enterprise by 2020. On the journey to realize this objective while simultaneously enhancing its ability to innovate, the organization harnessed and continues to deploy ultra-efficient, high-performance IBM® Power® servers to deliver mission-critical SAP business systems to thousands of Bosch employees around the globe.

What’s next? Bosch is committed to setting an even higher bar for energy-efficient operations by enabling greater sustainability across its business. By moving its SAP solutions to next-generation IBM Power10 servers, Bosch is fostering the development of game-changing internet-of-things (IoT) solutions while slashing data center energy usage by 20%—taking its green strategy to the next level. 

From consumer goods, mobility solutions, industrial technology, and energy and building services, Bosch is building next-generation, always-connected IoT products that will transform our daily lives. At the same time, Bosch recognizes that a very different kind of transformative process is underway: climate change. By going carbon neutral, Bosch is making a specific contribution to the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

The organization aimed to play its role in tackling one of the single greatest challenges facing humanity without sacrificing the razor-sharp competitive edge that helped it become a household name. Pushing the boundaries of fields such as IoT and AI while further reducing its carbon footprint was no simple task. 

The Bosch IT function is central to the group strategy around IoT, AI, digital profitability, customer intimacy, resilience—and environmental protection. After achieving its goal to become fully carbon neutral in 2020, the organization wanted to extract even greater efficiency from every aspect of its operations, including the vital SAP business systems that help thousands of Bosch associates work productively every day. 

Bosch’s SAP infrastructure team provides SAP solutions and related services to all the company’s business sectors, with a lean team supporting a vast, interconnected network of global operating companies at more than 60 countries and 400 locations. The solution landscape includes SAP R/3, SAP HANA® and SAP S/4HANA® systems. As part of enterprise-wide digital transformation, and as support for older SAP R/3 draws to a close, Bosch is moving to SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA, which places new demands on the IT infrastructure. 

Christian Dümmler, Senior Manager responsible for global SAP infrastructure at Bosch, confirms: “SAP HANA represents the newest range of products and technologies from SAP, offering the latest developments and capabilities—crucial to helping us stay at the forefront of our industry. SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA are where Bosch wants to be.” 

Energy savings of

20%

compared with previous systems, shrinking carbon footprint

Performance improvement up to

75%

for the same SAP workload, supercharging IoT innovation

Achieving sustainability through growth

In the years leading up to 2020, Bosch looked at every opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint, including product design, supply chains, manufacturing, logistics and data center operations. With IBM Power servers, the organization delivered vital SAP services effectively while keeping data center power and cooling requirements to a minimum, making an important contribution to achieving full carbon neutrality. 

Today, Bosch aims to push the boundaries of IoT without exceeding its tight carbon budgets. To equip the business with cutting-edge digital capabilities to help achieve the goal, the company again turned to its trusted partner IBM. The company engaged a team of experts to transition more than 1,200 SAP systems, world-wide, to the latest-generation IBM Power10 platform—unlocking even higher levels of energy efficiency while boosting performance for essential SAP workloads. 

Dümmler remarks: “Bosch depends on a wide range of SAP solutions running on IBM Power servers. Transitioning to IBM Power10 servers delivers performance gains of up to 75% while cutting energy consumption by 20% compared to POWER9. IBM is a true partner in our journey to run business-critical systems cost-efficiently and sustainably, while delivering outstanding performance.” 

He continues: “IBM Power10 enables us to run more workload and deliver results more quickly to our business users. Early experience shows that for jobs with a high degree of parallelization, the move to Power10 is an essential component of the Bosch digital transformation and sustainable operations journey.”

Team collaborating with laptops

Credit: Bosch

Doing more work with less carbon

IBM Power10 servers were developed from day one to ensure enhanced sustainability. As a result, the new solutions not only offer Bosch greater compute performance, in-core security defenses, and optimized reliability and availability—they also greatly improve energy efficiency. 

Dümmler reports: “In early tests, for the same workload we discovered that compared to POWER9 servers, electrical consumption dropped from 8 kW to 6 kW per frame for Power10 servers. Even against a background of very high demand from our business users, the Power10 platform offers significant energy savings.” 

In total, Bosch operates approximately 150 IBM Power servers with over 12,000 cores and over 1 PB of memory. The environment includes POWER8® and POWER9™ processor-based systems, which will be upgraded to Power10 servers. 

“For one internal customer, Power10 delivers up to 75% performance gain for their SAP HANA and SAP R/3 workload, and we see similar gains for pure SAP R/3 workload, too,” comments Dümmler. “Essentially, Power10 enables more work with less carbon in less time.”

Gaining business advantage from technology leadership

Today, many enterprise IT departments respond to business requests for additional SAP services simply by deploying additional servers. However, to meet its strict efficiency targets, Bosch takes a more innovative approach. 

As part of its ongoing IT optimization effort, Bosch deploys IBM Power Enterprise Pools, a technology that enables workload to be dynamically allocated to available compute capacity, maximizing efficiency. Dümmler states, “Currently, some 70% of systems are assigned to Power Enterprise Pools, creating a private cloud environment where Bosch enjoys the flexibility of resource combined with the security and data governance in its own datacenters.” 

Wherever possible, Bosch takes advantage of Power Enterprise Pools to share resources, compute cores and memory across the landscape to help optimize operations. For example, rather than buy servers dedicated to a specific SAP solution, Bosch can assign cores from a Power Enterprise Pool. If a business sector demands greater performance, Power Enterprise Pools gives Bosch the flexibility to allocate workload as needed rather than dedicate a single machine that might be busy at one moment and idle the next. 

Vince Michaelis, Senior Expert responsible for the global SAP infrastructure at Bosch, explains: “By sharing resources, Bosch achieves around 90% processor utilization rate. From both load-sharing and sustainability perspectives, Power Enterprise Pools makes it easy to move jobs to Power10 at their lower energy cost even as we deliver better performance. The result? We can satisfy ever-growing business appetites for analytics while keeping our environmental footprint light.” 

Man standing next to Bosch ebike

Credit: Bosch

Business impacts of Power10 performance

IBM strives to be more than an IT vendor, cultivating strong, mutually beneficial relationships with enterprises all over the world. Over many decades, Bosch and IBM have forged a close alliance, which continues to evolve and deepen.  

Most recently, IBM invited Bosch to participate in the Power10 Early Support Program. To assess the business advantages of the new Power10 servers, Bosch completed standardized performance tests on its Oracle database for SAP R/3 systems, covering a wide range of small to large workloads, including highly parallelized sessions.  

The ultimate intention is to move the SAP HANA applications for all the Bosch business units to Power10 servers, all running the SUSE Linux® Enterprise Server (link resides outside of ibm.com) operating system. 

“Our customers are fully satisfied by the Power10 platform,” says Dümmler. “From the moment we onboarded our first customer to E1080 we saw processing performance gains, and improvements of roughly 50% in response times. Some customers remarked on how quickly their tasks were completed and were very happily surprised. In fact, even if in future we average only half that improvement, this will be a huge performance gain for every SAP HANA and SAP R/3 customer on Power10, enabling significantly greater business productivity.” 

Secure data

As a global company with operations in more than 60 countries, Bosch complies with data governance regulations from many jurisdictions. With duties to ensure data is retained safely and securely, often with specific requirements on physical data locations, Bosch uses cloud technology in its own data center, distributed globally.  

IBM Power10 includes new encryption functionality that the Bosch team intends to exploit as part of streamlining its data management capabilities. The IBM Power10 servers are engineered to achieve significantly faster encryption performance, with quadruple the number of AES encryption engines per core.  

Michaelis comments, “The built-in Power10 security technology will enable us to build new solutions without additional evaluation, deployment, and license costs.”

Woman with Bosch wet vacuum in laundry room

Credit: Bosch

Enabling connected Bosch of tomorrow

As Bosch continues on its sustainability journey, the company sees that its ongoing digital transformation with IBM will play an important part in unlocking new efficiencies. In fact, the company is already looking ahead at the optimizations that Power10 enables.  

With such a lean team supporting nearly 400,000 associates, service automation is high on the agenda. Bosch uses both IBM Business Automation Workflow and the Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform (link resides outside of ibm.com). Together, these solutions enable automated provisioning, deployment, and management of compute infrastructure, along with workflow orchestration, application deployment, configuration management and security threat response. 

Dümmler explains: “We are developing around 300 Ansible playbooks for managing, patching, quality assessments and related daily administration tasks in a Bosch-wide project that contributes directly to our cloud journey. Combined with IBM Business Automation Workflow for system ordering and provisioning, these solutions ensure we can provide highly responsive, resilient systems for our Bosch customers.” 

In addition, Bosch is considering the IBM Power Virtual Server offering for its future infrastructure strategy, which may include hybrid cloud. Next steps will include a proof of concept for IBM Power Virtual Server, which will enable the company to access all the features and capabilities of the IBM Power platform as a cloud service. This approach provides the security, resilience and performance of the IBM Power platform combined with the scalability, flexibility, and capacity of cloud solutions, with scalable virtual servers available on demand. 

Building the future with Power10

As its sustainability initiatives gain pace, Bosch is blazing a trail for other global industrial enterprises to follow. The company’s business-critical, global SAP solutions are crucial to underpin these efforts—and transitioning the SAP solution infrastructure to Power10 is an essential part of the long-term IT strategy. 

“Bosch and IBM have developed a fully trusted partnership,” concludes Dümmler. “Within a year more than half of our IT infrastructure will be based on IBM Power10 servers, and we’re fully satisfied with the reliability, security, and flexibility features of the IBM Power platform. The combination of advanced technology such as Power Enterprise Pools, the astonishing performance gains from Power10 of up to 75%, and the significant energy efficiency improvements of 20%, are all in direct alignment with the Bosch digital transformation journey, helping us build tomorrow’s better world and to accelerate our private SAP cloud journey.”

 

Solution components

Bosch logo

About Bosch Group

Headquartered in Gerlingen-Schillerhöhe, near Stuttgart in southern Germany, Bosch Group (link resides outside of ibm.com) develops advanced technologies and solutions designed to make life simpler and better. The Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and approximately 440 subsidiary and regional companies at more than 400 locations across some 60 countries. In 2021, the Group achieved sales revenue of EUR 78.8 billion, employed approximately 402,600 people, and delivered earnings before interest and tax of EUR 3.2 billion.

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