Gulftainer sets sail for easier expansion with SAP S/4HANA, MACH and Lenovo

Aiming to become one of the world’s top container terminal operators, Gulftainer is expanding rapidly, both in the UAE and internationally. To get new sites up and running quickly, the company wanted a highly scalable, high-performance infrastructure to support its mission-critical SAP and MACH application landscape.
Gulftainer deployed multiple Lenovo System x servers to support its new SAP HANA environment, and a Lenovo Flex System solution at its corporate office in Sharjah and the Khorfakkan Container Terminal. The company’s enterprise application includes SAP HANA and MACH supported by the Lenovo infrastructure solution solution – enabling Gulftainer to scale quickly as its business continues to expand.
“With Lenovo System x and Flex System, we have gained innovative solutions that will enable us to meet future demand.”
Vinay Sharma
Group IT Head
Key solution components
Maritime & Logistics
SAP S/4HANA, Marine and Container Handling
Lenovo Solution for SAP HANA, Lenovo System x servers with Intel® Xeon® E7 processor family with Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions, Lenovo Flex System
IBM Spectrum Scale
Easy scalability enables Gulftainer to grow quickly and cost-effectively
Flexible solution supports Gulftainer as it strives to become one of the world’s largest port terminal operators
High performance ensures that mission-critical applications run smoothly
Deeper insight into operations improves business decision-making
Lower power and cooling costs
Headquartered in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Gulftainer is a major privately-owned, independent port management and third-party logistics company. Operating container terminals across the Middle East, Brazil and the United States, Gulftainer employs around 4,000 people worldwide.

Vinay Sharma, Group IT Head at Gulftainer, remarks: “As world trade continues to grow, our goal is to become one of the world’s top ten container terminal operators within the next 10 years.”

Managing the loading and unloading of containers and other cargoes for some of the world’s largest shipping lines, Gulftainer relies heavily on its SAP® business applications and its Marine and Container Handling (MACH) system – a Terminal Operating System (TOS) – to support mission-critical container management systems and back-office workloads.

“As we continue to expand, we want to be able to set up new sites quickly,” says Vinay Sharma. “To do this, we need to be able to scale-out and scale-up the infrastructure supporting our SAP and MACH application landscape accordingly. “At the same time, having up-to-the-minute insight into operations is essential to keep our growing business running as productively and profitably as possible. For this reason, we wanted real-time insight into business data to support more informed decision-making.”

Finding the right fit
Keen to take advantage of next-generation in-memory technology, Gulftainer decided to migrate its business applications to SAP HANA®, and sought a high-performance, highly scalable underlying infrastructure solution to support it.

After evaluating offerings from several vendors, Gulftainer chose to implement a Lenovo server solution as the foundation for its SAP HANA environment.

Vinay Sharma recalls: “When looking at proposals during our tender process, to replace our existing IBM infrastructure, we quickly realized that Lenovo would be the best fit for our IT environment. Not only are Lenovo systems SAP-certified for SAP HANA, they are also fully compatible with our current IBM hardware.”

Aslam Kadar, Assistant Manager for IT Service, states, “We also found that local Lenovo support in the UAE was more than suitable for our needs. We worked with a trusted technology partner to ensure a smooth transition, which included direct support.”

Working closely with partner Gulf Business Machines, Gulftainer deployed multiple Lenovo System x servers at its headquarters in Sharjah. Powered by the Intel® Xeon® E7 processor family with Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions, the Lenovo Solution for SAP HANA delivers high performance levels and system uptime.

An integrated storage system based on IBM Spectrum Scale technology enables Gulftainer to meet all SAP S/4HANA performance KPIs and to add storage capacity as and when needed, gaining the flexibility it needs to grow efficiently.

Flexible IT
Jurageswaran Shetty, Manager – IT Security and Infrastructure, comments: “Since migrating our business applications to SAP HANA, we have powerful in-memory Online Analytical Processing [OLAP] and Online Transaction Processing [OLTP]. With this deep insight into operations, we have improved business decision-making, optimized processes, streamlined workflows and unlocked new efficiencies.”

He continues: “The Lenovo System x solution is very scalable. We can scale very quickly, both horizontally and vertically, enabling us to meet growth requirements as we continue to expand. The scale-out and scale-up nature of the Lenovo solution makes it easy to adapt to changing business needs.”

Impressed with the high performance and scalability of the Lenovo Solution for SAP HANA, Gulftainer decided to implement another Lenovo server solution at its Khorfakkan Container Terminal. In need of a hardware infrastructure to support the TOS for Khorfakkan Container Terminal, the company selected Lenovo Flex System. Vinay Sharma notes: “Our positive experience with Lenovo technology made it a very easy choice.”

Gulftainer is currently working with GBM to deploy the Lenovo Flex System solution. Once fully implemented, the company expects to reap the rewards of the small yet powerful solution.

“The Flex System solution’s small footprint means that we expect to significantly reduce costs for power and cooling,” says Vinay Sharma. “As with our Lenovo Solution for SAP HANA infrastructure, the highly scalable Flex System solution will enable us to add compute resources as the port grows.”

He concludes: “With Lenovo System x and Flex System, we have gained innovative solutions that will enable us to meet future demand. We are highly confident that both Lenovo solutions will support us as we grow and strive to become one of the world’s largest port terminal operators.”

For more information
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