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Migration to SAP HANA

Migration to SAP HANA puts more speed on track . BLS manages its business processes with an on-prem SAP system landscape. itesys converted to HANA and Linux as part of a comprehensive migration project. The new technology meant that system processes ended up 2,000 times faster in some cases.


The challenge

In addition to typical business applications, BLS also runs applications for processes in rolling stock and rail network maintenance on its SAP system landscape with around 60 instances. Andreas Gafner, Head of SAP Technology at BLS remarked: «Our SAP system landscape that had grown over the years was no longer state-of-the-art, especially with regard to the databases. We were using MaxDB and Windows Server and repeatedly received feedback from maintenance staff who were hindered in their work by slow system processes in HR and order scheduling. In some cases, it took several minutes for requested information to be available on the mobile devices.»

About BLS

BLS operates the Bern tram lines as its core business and covers the western routes of Central Switzerland tram services. The company, which employs 3,000 members of staff, provides tourist rail services in the Canton of Bern and maintains a 420-kilometre railway network, including the Lötschberg transit axis with the 34.6-kilometre Lötschberg Base Tunnel and the 60-kilometre mountain route from Frutigen to Brig. The main owner is the Canton of Bern.

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Our solution

Switch from MaxDB to HANA and from Windows Server to Linux

itesys has been providing SAP Basis support at BLS for several years. Addressing the performance problems, the specialists at itesys recommended switching the SAP databases from MaxDB to HANA in combination with Linux as the OS and setting up a corresponding test system in the itesys data centre. BLS’s Andreas Gafner commented: ‘The results were astonishing. Some processes ran 2,000 times faster without changing a line of code. Based on the findings, we then pushed hard to migrate our SAP databases to HANA.’

Step-by-step conversion and a secure access solution

Together with itesys’ experts, the hardware requirements were defined and then the migration and technical processes were practised in a sandbox. Initial tests with users were conducted afterwards. A weekend maintenance window was used to switch over the productive systems – and everything went without a hitch. A single point of entry solution for internet / intranet access and two-factor authentication for the web applications were also implemented at the same time at itesys’ suggestion.

The client is raving about…

Speed increased by a factor of 2,000

The switch to SAP HANA and Linux significantly increased performance for all the applications that had database access. The conversion to HANA greatly reduced the size of the databases and thus sped up the – newly set-up – backup / restore processes. BLS thus created ideal conditions for the migration of the SAP system landscape to SAP S/4HANA, which is due to take place soon.

Shared expertise is double the expertise

The project manager was full of praise for itesys: ‘Our partner didn’t just give us a best-of-practice solution; instead, we got the very best in terms of performance and cost.’ Andreas Gafner gave the itesys team another pat on the back: ‘itesys has enormously in-depth knowledge of SAP that extends far beyond the infrastructure sector. This experience was and is being willingly passed on to us and is enabling us to efficiently manage and further develop our SAP system landscape.’ The high level of satisfaction is also expressed in the fact that itesys achieved the maximum number of points in a recent BLS supplier assessment.

itesys' services

BLS AG | Sägemattstrasse 1 | 3098 Köniz | Switzerland

  • Conversion of all the databases to HANA; switch from Windows to Linux as the operating system

  • Adaptation of the backup solution and performance of restore tests

  • OS migration from Windows to Linux

  • DB migration from MaxDB to HANA

  • Introduction of a single-point-of-entry solution for internet / intranet

  • Introduction of two-factor authentication for web applications

  • Adjustment of the support packages

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  • Far faster access to databases (up to 2,000 times faster in some cases)

  • More efficient work processes thanks to instantly available information, especially in rolling stock and rail maintenance

  • Higher-performance systems are now allowing ‘what if’ simulations

  • Significantly faster backup and restore times

  • Staff are more satisfied and more productive

  • Simple and standardised login process for internet / intranet access

  • Additional security due to two-factor authentication

  • Ideal preparation for conversion to SAP S/4HANA

The itesys specialists willingly share their in-depth knowledge of SAP, which extends far beyond the infrastructure segment, and incorporate experience they acquired from other projects.
Andreas Gafner, Head of SAP Technology at BLS