Running a complex worldwide industrial conglomerate—with annual revenue of more than a billion euros—from a single data center violates the “all eggs in one basket rule.” But one such System z installation supports Switzerland-based Endress+Hauser’s network of 89 companies in 42 countries.
Now operating with more than 8,400 employees worldwide, E+H began humbly in 1953 as what would today be called a “garage business,” though its first home was, in fact, a converted bedroom. After initially selling an innovative electronic-level sensor imported from England, growing business led the founders to build their own production facilities, creating the foundation for continuous growth.
Sales and services, first concentrated in Germany, expanded throughout Western Europe, with the first overseas branch offices opened in Japan and the U.S. in the ’70s. Sensors and devices for other physical variables, such as pressure, flow, analytics and temperature, were also developed, produced, and sold. In the ’80s, the company set out to be a technological leader in microelectronics; today, it ranks as a global market leader.
Since 2000, E+H has evolved from manufacturing sensors for the process automation industry to being an international provider of automation solutions targeting process industries such as chemical, pulp and paper, energy, oil and gas, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical. Today, the company offers a broad range of services and the most comprehensive array of industrial sensors on the market, including devices for measuring level, pressure, temperature, and flow; analytical systems; data acquisition/recorders; and components for integrated systems. One of the largest privately owned companies in the global automation industry, E+H provides product sales, services, and consulting in 97 countries on six continents.
Demonstrating Mainframe-Based Global Informatics Competence
This large, global company stands out from the crowd by running centralized, billion-dollar worldwide operations from a mainframe data center. Mainframe-based SAP—their primary comprehensive application suite—supports thousands of users in multiple job functions (manufacturing, supply, sales, etc.). If they lost multi-faceted SAP—their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system—for weeks, days, hours or even minutes, company operations around the world would stop. So, they've built a bulletproof backup with a parallel data center connected by high-speed lines.
Endress+Hauser InfoServe GmbH+Co KG. is the IT service provider for all E+H Group operations. Founded in 1997, it effectively concentrates the group’s many years of information technology experience and expertise within one company, providing centralized worldwide corporate IT department planning, budgeting, development, operations, and support to all E+H sales, production, and support centers. Outside IT vendors can be used only with InfoServe’s cooperation.
Supporting a complex, industrial powerhouse of this nature imposes unique geographic, cultural, language, and technology challenges. For example, all world time zones rely on InfoServe; even though formal Service Level Agreements (SLAs) aren't used, this means essentially no downtime is allowed beyond two planned Sunday outages annually, and SAP transactions are targeted for 600 ms or better response. Print services must accommodate local character sets. Network connections must reach exotic locations. Continuous support is needed because the sun never sets on E+H. Upgrades to components such as SAP follow detailed project plans to avoid disruption.
Organic InfoServe mainframe growth is driven by E+H Group expansion, planned over three-year periods and averaging 5 to 10 percent annually. Workload is measured via Resource Measurement Facility (RMF) data and SAP statistics. Two z10 systems are installed, allocated as 14 Central Processors (CPs) for DB2, and 82 Integrated Facilities for Linux (IFLs) for Linux on System z and SAP.
InfoServe has more than 250 employees plus about 20 student interns; headquartered in Weil am Rhein, Germany, it has regional offices in Freiburg, Germany; Greenwood, Indiana; Shanghai, China; Aurangabad, India; and Tokyo, Japan.