Business challenge

Analytics plays a key role in Electrolux’s growth strategy, helping the company to make timely, well-informed business decisions. With data volumes growing rapidly, how could Electrolux keep pace?

Transformation

To support long-term growth, Electrolux consolidated its SAP HANA analytics platforms to high-performance IBM Power Systems servers and IBM FlashSystem storage.

Results

Supports

business growth with a scalable platform for demanding SAP HANA workloads

30% reduction

in disaster recovery infrastructure costs, freeing up resources for innovation

75%

faster recovery times protect against downtime with a 4 hour RTO

Business challenge story

Modernizing the home

For over a century, Electrolux products have played a key role in the evolution of the convenient, comfortable modern home.

The company has steadily increased its global presence by acquiring leading producers of washing machines, kitchenware, vacuum cleaners and much more. A side-effect of this customer-led growth has been the acquisition of multiple business systems, processes, and infrastructure, from supply chain management to financial planning. 

With disparate processes and data siloed in different parts of the organization, Electrolux struggled to gain a clear view of its global operations, impacting growth, strategic decision-making, and innovation. 

A spokesperson at Electrolux comments, “As a manufacturer, we want to focus on our core competencies of design, innovation and customer service rather than IT management. How could we introduce new capabilities that would help drive and accelerate growth?”

IBM Power Systems offer enhanced scalability over the long term, and avoid the cost and disruption of having to regularly refresh our IT infrastructure.

Spokesperson, Electrolux

Transformation story

Partnering for success

Like many leading enterprises, Electrolux relies on SAP solutions to manage mission-critical workflows, supported by analytics from the high-performance SAP HANA data platform. As the volume and velocity of its analytics data grew, the company realized that the individual x86-based appliances supporting its SAP workloads were not able to provide global, integrated business insight. The company also recognized that expanding its existing x86 architecture would increase its IT infrastructure costs and introduce additional management complexity into its production and disaster recovery environments.

To solve the challenge, Electrolux decided to consolidate its multiple SAP HANA solutions to a single, global platform, and set out to build a future-ready solution. Having worked with IBM for many years, decision-makers at Electrolux knew that they could trust in the reliability and resilience of IBM technology.

“We were especially impressed with IBM’s technical response to our requirements,” says the spokesperson. “IBM demonstrated that if we continued with our existing hardware vendor, we would need to replace our SAP HANA appliances approximately every two years as data volumes grew, which would incur significant cost and business disruption. On the other hand, IBM Power Systems servers combined with high-performance IBM FlashSystem storage could support the whole duration of our five-year strategic growth initiative, while also delivering improved stability and reliability.”

Electrolux and IBM moved multiple SAP HANA solutions for its European businesses from x86 appliances to a new, central platform built on two IBM Power System E980 servers, IBM FlashSystem storage, and IBM SAN Volume Controller. Following this initial step, Electrolux chose IBM Power Systems as the preferred platform for its SAP HANA environment and extended its footprint to support its core SAP HANA applications for the company’s operations in North America and Asia.

Each server is equipped with IBM POWER9™ processors and runs SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications (external link), helping Electrolux to significantly enhance the resilience and maximize the performance of its SAP applications—including SAP ERP, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation and SAP Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA.

The spokesperson comments, “With data volumes increasing each year, we anticipated that our existing disk storage devices would struggle to meet our future needs, especially as we expected to increase our infrastructure capacity by up to 10 percent in the years ahead. Because IBM FlashSystem solutions offer a rich array of compression tools and low-latency performance, we knew that IBM technologies would be a good option for us in the long term.”

The spokesperson adds, “We felt confident that IBM POWER9 solutions would offer a flexible, cost-effective future path for scaling our core systems as we evolve our business, while also delivering enterprise-grade performance for our high availability SAP HANA environment. What’s more, we were impressed with the fact that IBM could offer support services in multiple languages—a key requirement for our large global organization.”

To run new virtualized and private cloud environments on its IBM Power Systems servers, Electrolux implemented IBM PowerVC™ for advanced virtualization and cloud management. Built on OpenStack, IBM PowerVC is designed to build private cloud environments on Power Systems servers, and improves administrator productivity through its powerful, intuitive cloud management capabilities. The company also uses IBM Spectrum® Virtualize to create easy-to-manage virtual storage environments and help optimize storage performance.

Working closely with IBM Services® and IBM Systems Lab Services throughout the implementation, Electrolux was able to move its core applications to IBM Power Systems in under four weeks—minimizing business disruption. As part of the overall solution, Electrolux relied on IBM Services to build and provide ongoing support for a disaster recovery environment.

“Data is the lifeblood of our business, so it’s critical that we can ensure a fast recovery in the event of unplanned downtime,” comments the spokesperson. “IBM demonstrated their technical expertise and eagerness to support our strategic goals, so we knew we could trust IBM to manage our disaster recovery environment.”

The spokesperson continues, “Migrating our SAP ERP environment to IBM POWER9 solutions went very smoothly. We simply performed a system replication to the new IBM Power Systems environment and then we were up and running. IBM supported us throughout this process by providing additional training for our engineers to help them get the most out of our IBM solutions.”

To spread the capital cost of its investment in IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage solutions, Electrolux used a payment deferral option from IBM Global Financing, which enabled the company to postpone initial payments for up to two months and delay full repayment by five months.

“With IBM Global Financing, we can spread our investment in the new infrastructure over a longer period of time, which helps us to enhance our IT capabilities while also protecting cash flow and reducing business risk,” explains the spokesperson.

By centralizing our SAP HANA solutions for Europe on IBM Power Systems, we have a clearer, more complete view of business performance.

Spokesperson, Electrolux

Results story

Investing in growth

The company is confident that the new platform will contribute to continued growth and will help Electrolux maintain consistently excellent customer services.

“By centralizing our SAP HANA solutions for Europe on IBM Power Systems, we have a clearer, more complete view of business performance,” says the spokesperson. “As a result, we’re far better placed to make smarter, data-driven decisions, which will ultimately help us to continue enhancing and expanding our global reach.”

The spokesperson continues, “As our analytics volumes continue to grow, we are also much better placed to expand our IT infrastructure to keep pace. IBM Power Systems offer enhanced scalability over the long term, and avoid the cost and disruption of having to regularly refresh our IT infrastructure. What’s more, using IBM Global Mirror, the asynchronous replication feature included with IBM Power Systems, we have reduced our disaster recovery infrastructure costs by 30 percent while also cutting recovery times by 75 percent.”

The spokesperson adds, “We’ve also been able to reduce our overall maintenance workloads by 10 percent since moving to IBM Power Systems servers and IBM Storage. And we can now restart key systems in under 10 minutes, compared to one hour with our previous infrastructure. This contributes to an overall 15 percent reduction in the time required for system maintenance windows.”

As well as achieving greater flexibility, Electrolux has significantly strengthened system resilience by outsourcing its disaster recovery operations to IBM Services.

“Because IBM manages our disaster recovery infrastructure, we can rest assured that we can keep operations running smoothly around-the-clock,” explains the spokesperson. “Before we worked with IBM Services, we didn’t have a dedicated disaster recovery solution but now we can rest assured that our most critical applications are always protected. For instance, if we ever experience unexpected downtime, IBM can help us get our systems back up and running in as little as four hours—minimizing disruption to our operations.”

Looking ahead, Electrolux plans to move all its global SAP workloads to IBM POWER9-processor-based systems, and aims to integrate its global manufacturing operations on a single SAP environment. To help improve the customer experience, Electrolux is also looking to deploy SAP Customer Experience, which will help the company achieve unified, streamlined and efficient processes across its entire operations.

The spokesperson concludes: “With SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems for our European operations, Electrolux gains system reliability, stability and flexibility. Centralized data analytics using SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems will bring clarity to our decision-making and business strategies, with the ability to scale as we roll out the solutions globally. With SAP solutions and IBM technologies underpinning our business operations, Electrolux is free to focus on developing innovative home appliances to delight our customers around the world.”

Electrolux logo

Electrolux

Established over a century ago, Electrolux (external link) is a leading global appliance company with brands including Electrolux, AEG, Anova, Frigidaire, Westinghouse and Zanussi. The company produces a wide range of consumer electrical goods, including washing machines, cookers, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, freezers and much more. With offices in over 60 countries and more than 49,000 employees, Electrolux is committed to designing products that help people around the world lead more convenient and comfortable lives.

Take the next step

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