Keeping the lights on and public transport moving

Private cloud provider rku.it relies on IBM Power

8-minute read
In partnership with
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rku.it GmbH headquarters in Herne

Every single day we rely on essential services such as power, water and transport, only noticing them if they fail. Ensuring total reliability and availability for our “daily life support systems” without costs getting out of control is a massive responsibility.

This is exactly where private cloud provider rku.it GmbH comes in, supporting modernization and digital transformation at municipal utilities, public transport organizations and local government clients.

By running SAP HANA® and SAP S/4HANA® solutions on IBM® Power® servers, in combination with the Red Hat® Ansible® Automation PlatformExternal Link, rku.it delivers cost-efficient, fast and reliable IT services to support essential public services for millions of citizens across Germany. With IBM Power, rku.it selected a future-proof infrastructure platform that offers flexible virtualization features that maximize resource utilization, minimize operating costs and scale dynamically based on demand while providing continuous support for critical business applications.

Private cloud provider and IT consulting expert rku.it has been working with municipal utility, public transport and local government clients across Germany for 60 years. Many of its larger clients are also stakeholders, giving the company unique insights into highly specialized business processes. Thanks to its deep industry expertise, rku.it has attracted over 130 clients with more than 6,500 business users, supported by some 80 production applications. For example, rku.it processes smart metering IoT data for more than five million distributed sensors.

Benjamin Kaspereit, Head of Data Center Systems Technology at rku.it, says: “Our clients provide essential services that millions of people rely on in their daily lives. However, our clients are also facing pressure to keep costs for their customers low. As a service provider, we benefit from economies of scale and can offer higher quality solutions and improved reliability more cost-efficiently. To continue winning over new clients, we always seek to optimize our own processes further, balancing flexibility and standardization.”

rku.it GmbH workspace

Boosts business agility thanks to

3x

faster provisioning

Maximizes availability by reducing risk of hardware failure effectively from

2 to 0

per year

Together with our partner CANCOM, we are already preparing for the upcoming IBM Power10 processors. The enhancements and even higher energy efficiency will help us to optimize our private cloud infrastructure, offering significant advantages for both rku.it and our clients’ sustainability efforts. For us, it’s very clear that IBM Power is the way forward.
Benjamin Kaspereit
Head of Data Center Systems Technology, rku.it GmbH

In addition, many rku.it clients operate in tightly regulated industries, with frequent new compliance requirements. Combined with constantly changing contract offerings and service provisions — often targeting different sales channels — business processes and workflows are themselves also highly variable.

“Only with dynamic solutions that can adapt rapidly can we ensure compliance and provide outstanding service levels,” confirms Kaspereit. “Our clients depend on our business agility to avoid costly penalties.”

He adds: “Managing the growing complexity while enabling innovation is the foundation of our success. This means that we are looking into the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to push the boundaries, and that’s when we turn to IBM.”

rku.it GmbH office
Inside the rku.it office
IBM Power has proven to be the most flexible and cost-efficient platform for our demanding SAP HANA database and SAP S/4HANA application workloads.
Benjamin Kaspereit
Head of Data Center Systems Technology, rku.it GmbH
Building on a flexible and stable platform
IBM Power has proven to be the most flexible and cost-efficient platform for our demanding SAP HANA database and SAP S/4HANA application workloads.
Benjamin Kaspereit
Head of Data Center Systems Technology, rku.it GmbH

As clients raise their demand for the next-generation ERP SAP S/4HANA as well as SAP BW/4HANA® and SAP HANA solutions, rku.it looked for ways to expand the capacity of its private cloud infrastructure. To strengthen its competitiveness, the company also aimed to streamline its deployment and management processes so it could handle the growing number of systems and higher data volumes.

Working together with IBM Platinum Business Partner CANCOM, rku.it selected IBM Power 950 and IBM Power S922 servers in combination with IBM PowerVM® virtualization. “IBM Power has proven to be the most flexible and cost-efficient platform for our demanding SAP HANA database and SAP S/4HANA application workloads,” says Kaspereit. “Our partner CANCOM offered a very attractive solution that accelerates our transformation towards more advanced DevOps practices. For example, we will deploy the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to support the implementation of our next-generation infrastructure, with a focus on even higher standardization through automated configuration and management.”

rku.it has been partnering with CANCOM for many years and values the technology expertise and close collaboration with IBM. CANCOM has proven to be a reliable partner with a long-term focus, and a comprehensive solution portfolio, as well as outstanding technical architects and consultants. “CANCOM always knows the latest trends and tools, guiding us towards future-proof solutions,” notes Benjamin Kaspereit. “Most important for us, CANCOM understands our business needs and drafts customized solutions that match our budget and ambition for innovation.”

Today, rku.it operates more than 12 IBM Power servers. Thanks to the advanced virtualization features of IBM PowerVM, about 30 logical partitions (LPARs) are running on each physical server, enabling infrastructure consolidation and highly efficient resource utilization. “When deploying SAP HANA on IBM Power servers, we leveraged our experience with the platform,” remarks Benjamin Kaspereit. “Dynamic resource allocations and flexible sizing of LPARs without reboots help us achieve a high system density and low total costs of ownership for the individual client applications.”

When rku.it first evaluated options for SAP HANA operations, it identified a number of performance and capacity limitations of running VMware servers on x86-based systems. The company found that IBM Power enabled a far more efficient system architecture. “We prefer scale-up configurations to reduce complexity and minimize system maintenance overheads,” says Kaspereit. “With IBM Power solutions, we do not need scale-out clusters, we simply can run large instances with SAP HANA System Replication across data centers to ensure high-availability.”

In addition, security and stability of IBM Power allows rku.it to pack more client workloads onto each server. The company can also run multiple SAP HANA database instances — as well as application servers — on the same systems to boost performance.

rku.it offers flexible services based on individual customer requirements with a mix of multiple tenant databases and dedicated SAP HANA instances to provide cost-optimized IT services to its clients. The company operates a wide range of SAP solutions with SUSE Linux® Enterprise Server for SAP ApplicationsExternal Link, including SAP HANA, SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA for Travel & Transportation.

The company also runs traditional SAP ERP and SAP for Utilities solutions using IBM AIX®, IBM Db2® and Oracle Database software. “After we moved Oracle Database instances from Microsoft Windows Server running on x86 systems to AIX on IBM Power, we reduced the number of database administrators by 50%. From our experience, IBM AIX is the most efficient operating system with the highest availability,” explains Kaspereit. “IBM AIX just works and requires fewer, and less-frequent, patching and updates. We estimate that we spend just one-third of the time and effort on basic system administration tasks by switching to AIX.”

Boosting productivity and supporting digital transformation

Making the most of its enhanced infrastructure and improved automation, rku.it worked with CANCOM to reduce provisioning time for new SAP HANA instances, shrinking deployment time from about three hours to just one hour. “Saving time is crucial when we constantly add more and more SAP HANA systems,” confirms Kaspereit. “By being able to provision a new instance three times faster, we can respond in a more flexible way to client requests, improving our business agility and enhancing client satisfaction.”

For rku.it, the IBM Power E950 capability to use memory and compute resources more effectively offers critical competitive advantage. “Over time as the requirements of our workload changed, we were able to flexibly and transparently increase our total memory per core configuration of our IBM Power servers by a factor of 4.8 to handle the growing number of SAP S4/HANA and SAP HANA instances,” explains Kaspereit.

“This 4.8x increase was essential to provide optimal performance for SAP HANA in-memory databases,” Kaspereit continues. “With IBM Power solutions, we can increase the memory we assign to virtual instances independently of the compute resources using IBM PowerVM. Features such as Micro-Partitioning and shared processor pools give us the opportunity to pack more databases and applications, including development and production systems, onto a single physical server, maximizing our compute or memory capacity. This is exactly what makes the solution commercially superior to any other option on the market.”

But for rku.it, the benefits will extend further still. For example, with the rise of smart metering services backed by SAP for Utilities solutions, the company suddenly needed to process data from five million IoT sensors. Thanks to the scalable and powerful IBM Power platform, rku.it simply deployed more capacity for its SAP for Utilities solutions to its existing landscape, instead of buying, installing, and managing additional hardware. The only adjustments that are often needed are changes in memory allocations, as data volumes grow. Thanks to IBM PowerVM, rku.it can quickly and easily adjust capacities to meet client requirements.

A key element of the rku.it approach is based on virtualization. “For example, by running SAP S/4HANA applications and associated databases on the same physical server, we can leverage the virtual LAN feature that enables ultra-fast communication between logical partitions and avoid any high latency issues,” comments Kaspereit.

The company maximizes availability and performance further using the IBM PowerVM Live Partition Mobility feature. By dynamically moving and balancing workloads across its IBM Power infrastructure, rku.it can deliver optimized performance at peak times, and keep business applications online even during hardware maintenance and upgrades.

With proactive monitoring and built-in redundancy, IBM Power offers far better reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS). “For example, memory is more fault-tolerant on the IBM Power platform, minimizing the risk of downtime. On some other platforms we regularly see memory hardware defects causing outages; this simply does not happen with IBM Power thanks to the advanced resiliency features, boosting business continuity across all our clients,” confirms Kaspereit. “Further, IBM Power offers four times more memory bandwidth than other architectures, and for SAP HANA memory bandwidth directly translates to system performance, delivering direct benefits to client applications.”

The capability to easily scale-up and run multiple tenant databases in a single SAP HANA system offers further cost saving potential for rku.it and its clients, as adjustments prompted by regulatory changes can be shared, reducing operating costs. The platform facilitates this operations model, as SAP HANA ScaleUp instances with up to 28 TB are currently supported by SAP on IBM Power Systems. Additionally, to speed up reboot and recovery times for large instances, the company can use the Virtual Persistent Memory (Virtual PMEM) feature for SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems to minimize the impact of potential outages.

To ensure smooth operations, rku.it relies on CANCOM, IBM and SAP. “The support for SAP HANA on IBM Power is absolutely superb,” says Kaspereit. “We work with multiple vendors and can honestly say that CANCOM, IBM and SAP stand out with quick responses and low administration overheads, delivering fast solutions when it matters most. The SAP HANA Total Solutions Support is a great showcase of this close collaboration.”

Next, rku.it aims to further automate its processes with Infrastructure as Code (IaC) deployments based on IBM PowerVC and Terraform. “The next steps of our next-generation infrastructure program will speed up processes further by enabling a higher level of parallelization, among other things,” concludes Kaspereit.

“Together with our partner CANCOM, we are already preparing for the upcoming IBM Power10 processors. The enhancements and even higher energy efficiency will help us to optimize our private cloud infrastructure, offering significant advantages for both rku.it and our clients’ sustainability efforts. For us, it’s very clear that IBM Power is the way forward.”

rku.it GmbH logos
About rku.it GmbH

rku.itExternal Link, based in Herne, Germany, offers sophisticated private cloud services. The company specializes in municipal utility, public transport and local government clients. With 380 employees, rku.it serves over 130 clients and 6,500 business users. rku.it is an SAP PartnerEdge RUN gold partner, SAP Certified in Hosting Operations, and SAP Certified in Cloud and Infrastructure Operations.

About CANCOM

As a Digital Transformation Partner, CANCOMExternal Link accompanies organizations into the digital future. The CANCOM Group’s range of IT solutions includes consulting, implementation, services and operation of IT systems. Customers benefit from this extensive expertise, as well as a holistic and innovative portfolio that covers the IT requirements for successful digital transformation. CANCOM has a long history as IBM Business Partner and many highly qualified and certified employees.

Solution components
rku.it GmbH logos
About rku.it GmbH

rku.itExternal Link, based in Herne, Germany, offers sophisticated private cloud services. The company specializes in municipal utility, public transport and local government clients. With 380 employees, rku.it serves over 130 clients and 6,500 business users. rku.it is an SAP PartnerEdge RUN gold partner, SAP Certified in Hosting Operations, and SAP Certified in Cloud and Infrastructure Operations.

About CANCOM

As a Digital Transformation Partner, CANCOMExternal Link accompanies organizations into the digital future. The CANCOM Group’s range of IT solutions includes consulting, implementation, services and operation of IT systems. Customers benefit from this extensive expertise, as well as a holistic and innovative portfolio that covers the IT requirements for successful digital transformation. CANCOM has a long history as IBM Business Partner and many highly qualified and certified employees.

Solution components