Historically, Sauter was run autonomously, and subsidiaries made their own IT decisions. As a result, Sauter’s headquarters in Basel adopted a Microsoft infrastructure, while the German IT operation, based in Freiburg, has a long history with Micro Focus Open Enterprise Server (OES). Mr Thomas Bitzenhofer, Head of Corporate IT for Sauter, explains the challenge associated with this: “Users needed access to applications on both infrastructure stacks. Our engineers use complex building control software and access was arranged via VPN, using different credentials. We needed a more efficient and smooth solution for this. The company also realized that centralizing our IT operation would be much more cost effective.”
Sauter decided to merge its IT operations to provide seamless integration to all key applications, save IT resources, and create an environment that could be centrally managed.
Mr Bitzenhofer and the team examined both IT environments to decide on the new standard. From a hardware perspective, they felt the Linux OES servers are leaner and easier to administer than Windows servers. NSS rights assignment is more granular and simpler within OES than the complex Windows rights assignment. In addition, OES provides print and file services that are regarded as superior to the Windows or open source alternatives.
Mr Bitzenhofer comments: “Micro Focus has a proven process with OES and Domain Services for Windows (DSfW) as the foundation to connect eDirectory™ with Active Directory (AD). DSfW is designed to leverage an already established eDirectory environment and authenticate new applications against it. We engaged Micro Focus Professional Services to develop a DSfW concept that integrates the separate systems while achieving our productivity goals. Leveraging this, any application that requires AD connection is integrated and can be transparently accessed by eDirectory users.”
This successful collaboration between Sauter and Micro Focus Professional Services enables users to connect to their required resources, regardless of source system. 2,400 users and workstations in over 100 locations are now centrally managed from Freiburg, Germany
Although the move was entirely transparent to users on both technology stacks, the Microsoft users soon noticed additional features that are included in OES, like the convenience of Micro Focus iPrint. iPrint is available for any client and manages over 500 Sauter printers cleanly and reliably. Through a slim IPP client, even Sauter visitors can use iPrint without AD or eDirectory credentials.
In addition, Micro Focus Filr replaced Seafile, an open source file system. Filr provides mobile support and full AD integration for a consistent, secure, accessible experience, whether files are stored and shared from the Microsoft or OES environment.
To encourage team collaboration, Sauter used Microsoft Project. However, in the new consolidated infrastructure, open source products can operate seamlessly on the OES server. The organization now uses OpenProject, an open source project management system. This has significantly reduced license costs and, unlike Microsoft Project, OpenProject does not require a SharePoint server.
For central management of this hybrid IT infrastructure, Sauter uses ZENworks Configuration Management (ZCM) and ZENworks Patch Management. “In the Microsoft environment we had separate configuration and patch servers, but ZENworks resides on one server and gives us an integrated solution to manage all our Windows clients and servers, Linux servers, and mobile devices. We use ZENworks to configure and patch Linux servers, deploy software to our Windows 10 clients, patch any 3rd party applications, such as Adobe, and we’ve started a project in one of our divisions to manage Android and Apple mobile devices through ZENworks Mobile Management.”
Process automation and IT consolidation have greatly benefited Sauter, as Mr Bitzenhofer explains: “Leveraging Micro Focus, we were able to halve our network and system administration resources and a small team of just five people now manage 2,400 users and workstations, in over 100 locations. Apart from the obvious 50 percent cost saving this has delivered, the system is so much more transparent, easier to work with, and more reliable.”
He concludes: “Our users benefit from additional features and the seamless integration between both IT environments. Our IT teams enjoy the automated and standardized approach to software and patch deployment. The collaboration between Micro Focus and Sauter has saved IT resources while providing central access to key services.”