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Pharmacy chain switches to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications

Pharmacy chain switches to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications

Haitham El-Ghamry, IT Director at El Ezaby Pharmacy, said: “Our previous systems were being outpaced as the company continued to grow."

When El Ezaby Pharmacy needed to update its flagging legacy system it decided to switch to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications. With almost a hundred branches across Egypt and the Middle East, the SUSE solution helped the company deliver fast, reliable services for its customers because of a significant decrease in IT administrative workload. In addition, the company has been able to install updates much faster and reduce the risk of downtime.

As one of Egypt’s leading pharmacy chains, El Ezaby Pharmacy, needed a strong IT landscape to support its complex and wide-reaching operations.

Its legacy IT infrastructure was proving inadequate to the task, so the company made the decision to switch to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications.

The SUSE solution cut the IT administrative burden, helping El Ezaby Pharmacy focus on delivering fast, reliable services for its customers.

Overview

Established in 1975, El Ezaby Pharmacy is recognised as one of Egypt’s leading providers of health and personal care products.

With nearly 40 years of experience serving the Egyptian community, El Ezaby maintains a nationwide network of 90 branches (and counting), multiple warehouses and one baby centre.

Challenge

With almost a hundred branches across Egypt and the Middle East, and a complex network of assets to maintain, El Ezaby Pharmacy needed a robust IT infrastructure capable of supporting its complex day-to-day operations.

However, the company’s existing solutions were proving inadequate to the task.

Haitham El-Ghamry, IT Director at El Ezaby Pharmacy, said: “Our previous systems were being outpaced as the company continued to grow. Our database was proving too small for the size and complexity of our inventory. The slow speed at which the system could be updated also hindered the reliability of our business processes.

“That was what initially led us to choose SAP Applications, as a means of managing our business more effectively. After that it just made sense to adopt SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. It came highly recommended from the vendors we spoke to, and it had the level of compatibility we needed to integrate our entire IT landscape.”

El Ezaby Pharmacy also saw opportunities for further efficiency in server virtualisation, knowing the SUSE solution was compatible with VMware technology.

Solution

After consulting with SAP, as well as evaluating a number of hardware options, El Ezaby Pharmacy decided to adopt the latest version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, running on HPE hardware.

“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server felt like the natural choice for us,” said Haitham ELGhamry.

“With SAP’s recommendation we really had our homework done for us, and HPE provided robust hardware that integrated well with our existing infrastructure. We chose the most recent version of the SUSE operating system because we wanted to start using SAP S/4 HANA, which had the scalability needed to keep up with our business growth.”

The company also decided to take advantage of server virtualisation, with support from the SUSE team.

“We saw VMware as a means of reducing administrative burden and speeding up the system overall,” said Haitham EL-Ghamry.

“We were impressed by how quickly the SUSE team was able to get our existing servers virtualised, and how quickly they were up and running.”

El Ezaby Pharmacy was able to move from two physical servers to four virtual ones for its SAP Applications, all within just 30 minutes.

“The support from the SUSE team has been excellent,” said Haitham EL-Ghamry.

“We view that as one of the key benefits of adopting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as the reassurance of knowing the solution was compatible with our entire IT landscape out of the box.”

Results

Since implementing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, El Ezaby has seen a significant decrease in IT administrative workload, leading to faster, more reliable services for its customers.

“The system moves much faster now,” said Haitham EL-Ghamry. “The virtualisation of our IT infrastructure means we can perform the same tasks much more rapidly, and the SUSE solution scales up more easily than our previous system.

“The SUSE operating system provides a stable platform for our core SAP Applications, and since we made the upgrade we’ve been able to install updates much faster. That has massively reduced our risk of downtime, as well as reducing our IT workload more generally.”

El Ezaby Pharmacy’s IT team had previously been forced to spend six hours every weekend updating its database and security software, but with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server it is now able to make those updates within just 16 minutes each week.

This represents a huge efficiency gain for the company, with guaranteed availability helping ensure smooth, uninterrupted service for its customers. The VMware architecture also has its own failover servers, an important safeguard against service disruption.

“Overall, we are very happy with our decision to start using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications,” said Haitham EL-Ghamry.

“The SUSE solution has helped make our IT landscape more stable, more flexible, and more efficient, and with the SUSE team’s support we are confident that we can continue to deliver our core products and services to the high standards our consumers have come to expect.

“We believe in SUSE because our technology must be the latest and most effective, if our business is to match the El Ezaby Pharmacy slogan: ‘Your Health Partner.’”

Why did you decide to adopt the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications?

It provides superior customer service by increasing performance and scalability for mission-critical SAP HANA ERP solutions supporting the central distribution company and 127 plus branches, also it just made sense to adopt SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The solution came highly recommended from the vendors we spoke to, and it had the level of compatibility we needed to integrate our entire IT landscape.

We chose the most recent version of the SUSE operating system because we wanted to start using SAP S/4 HANA which had the scalability needed to keep up with our business growth.

How did the new SUSE solution help you cut your IT administrative burden and focus on customer service?

Since implementing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP HANA Applications, El Ezaby has seen a significant decrease in IT administrative workload, leading to faster, more reliable services for its customers. And the SUSE solution scales up more easily than our previous system.

The SUSE operating system provides a stable platform for our core SAP HANA Applications, and since we made the upgrade we’ve been able to install updates much faster. That has massively reduced our risk of downtime, as well as reducing our IT workload more generally.

How has server virtualisation made your operations more efficient? 

El Ezaby Pharmacy also saw opportunities for further efficiency in server virtualisation, knowing the SUSE solution was compatible with VMware technology.

The company also decided to take advantage of server virtualisation, with support from the SUSE team. We saw VMware as a means of reducing administrative burden and speeding up the system overall.

We were impressed by how quickly the SUSE team was able to get our existing servers virtualised, and how quickly they were up and running.

El Ezaby Pharmacy was able to move from two physical servers to four virtual ones for its SAP HAN Applications, all within just 30 minutes.

How did the new system integrate with your existing infrastructure?

After consulting with SAP, as well as evaluating a number of hardware options, El Ezaby Pharmacy decided to adopt the latest version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, running on HPE hardware.

With SAP’s recommendation we really had our homework done for us, and HPE provided robust hardware that integrated well with our existing infrastructure.

How scalable is the new system?

The system moves much faster now. The virtualisation of our IT infrastructure means we can perform the same tasks much more rapidly and the SUSE solution scales up more easily than our previous system.

Are there any other advantages the SUSE solution has brought to you?

El Ezaby Pharmacy’s IT team had previously been forced to spend six hours every weekend updating its database and security software, but with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server it is now able to make those updates within just 16 minutes each week.

The SUSE solution has helped make our IT landscape more stable, more flexible, and more efficient, and with the SUSE team’s support we are confident that we can continue to deliver our core products and services to the high standards our consumers have come to expect

Overall, we are very happy with our decision to start using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP HANA Applications.