Open to new requirements
Today, the z Systems server at KEONICS has one general-purpose processor (CP) and six IBM Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processors running a total of eight logical partitions (LPARs). Seven of these LPARs are used for z/OS training systems and sandboxes, supporting around 460 users; the final LPAR runs KVM and hosts multiple guest instances of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems. This Linux environment runs the KEONICS ERP system, developed in-house to offer functions such as purchasing, inventory management, HR, contract management and tenant management. The ERP system is based entirely on open source technologies, including MySQL database, Apache Tomcat web server for the application front-end in HTML5 and AJAX, Spring Beans within the Spring Framework for the business logic, NetBeans IDE for the development environment, and Pentaho for reporting.
Bhavikatti comments: “We were keen to invest in open source technologies because they give us access to a wider pool of talent and support. IBM mentored us in KVM to ensure that we developed the right internal skills, and this was very helpful in the initial deployment stages. The performance of our ERP system on Linux on z Systems is great, and the stability is exceptional: the virtual machines just keep running without any problems.”
The Linux environment on the z Systems server at KEONICS also runs a Public Distribution System for the state of Karnataka and a Learning Management System that is used by multiple local government departments to deliver tailored education programs in their own training centers.
“By choosing to run Linux alongside z/OS, we rely on a platform we know, and we benefit from easy access to skilled resources and third-party software, backed by the traditional qualities of the mainframe in areas such as reliability, scalability and security,” says Bhavikatti. “Linux on z Systems enables us to be highly responsive to new requirements but also to offer stable solution delivery, which is obligatory when you are dealing with government organizations.”
Sharing the benefits
The rollout of the Linux-based ERP system at KEONICS is ongoing, and already the organization is seeing significant benefits in terms of greater efficiency and speed in internal processes. On the systems side, KEONICS expects to make cost savings of around 50 percent from deploying the software on the KVM hypervisor technology on z Systems.
Says Bhavikatti, “The key value of running Linux on KVM on z Systems is that it optimizes resource utilization, making sure we always have enough resources assigned to each virtual machine based on its current priority. With Linux on the mainframe rather than on distributed servers, we get all the capacity and scalability we require without needing to maintain large numbers of physical machines. This approach provides the best of both worlds, combining the flexibility of open source with the robustness of enterprise servers.”
He adds, “By selecting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems, we benefit from high-quality integrated support from both SUSE and IBM, saving us time and effort. The vendors have a close working relationship, and the way they collaborate continues to bring valuable improvements to the platform. Indeed, the quality of support is one of the reasons that we are focusing so much on Linux on z Systems for future projects.”
IBM and SUSE are now assisting KEONICS in promoting its services more widely in the state of Karnataka, helping the organization to win new government clients and convince them of the benefits of hosting their systems on a z Systems server.
Bhavikatti comments: “The z Systems platform has the power to run very large numbers of virtual machines on the same physical system. As we create more systems based on Linux, the number of users will rise without a proportional rise in IT costs, so the offering will become even more cost-effective for us to operate.”
As KEONICS requires relatively few processors to support potentially large numbers of clients, the organization will also require fewer software licenses, and use less floor space and energy in the data center. These factors will help reduce operational and maintenance costs, so that KEONICS can offer more competitive pricing for its services.
Bhavikatti concludes: “Introducing Linux on the z Systems platform undoubtedly helps us to achieve more with the same physical resources, which translates into higher-value services for our clients. We now have the flexibility to offer what amounts to a cloud hosting platform without the risk of trusting data to a third party outside of the state, and on a server that is renowned for the strength of its security. Equally, the platform contributes strongly to our mission of developing the IT leaders of tomorrow, giving them vital skills in z Systems technologies so that they can make valuable contributions to major organizations both in India and globally.”