Austrian Manufacturer Demonstrates IT Simplicity with IBM i
December 3, 2013 Alex Woodie
The Austrian eyewear company Silhouette International Schmied AG has made a name for itself by manufacturing eyeglasses with simple designs, advanced materials, and superior technology. That ethos extends to Silhouette’s IT environment, which runs on IBM Power Systems servers and requires a minimum of manual intervention.
Arnold and Anneliese Schmied founded Silhouette in 1964 with the idea of making eyeglasses high-tech fashion accessories. The company is best known for elegantly simple and extremely thin eyeglasses that use super lightweight materials, such as titanium, which was instrumental in NASA selecting Silhouette sunglasses as standard gear for American astronauts.
Today, Silhouette employs 1,600 people, and manufactures 2.2 million pairs of eyeglasses each year. About 95 percent of the company’s eyeglasses are exported to more than 100 countries around the world.
Supporting this operation is an Infor ERP application running on IBM i servers. In September, IBM published a case study demonstrating how Silhouette was able to accelerate the throughput of its ERP systems by moving its production and backup environments to Power 740 hardware running IBM i 7.1.
“Moving to IBM Power 740 servers running the latest IBM i operating system and IBM DB2 for i database has improved performance of our Infor ERP solution by 100 percent,” Silhouette’s Karl Sulzbacher says in the case study.
At the same time, the company upgraded its storage system to IBM’s DS8800 storage array, which houses about 16 TB of operational data and is connected to the production system using a 16 Gbps Fibre Channel link. The company also implemented a TS3500 tape library with 35 GB of storage capacity, which is located at a third data center, IBM says in the case study.
In addition to he unnamed Infor ERP application, Silhouette runs Cognos business intelligence software on the Power gear. High availability of the critical IBM i environment is maintained with the iCluster logical replication software from Rocket Software.
It’s all very manageable, Sulzbacher says. “We need only two people to operate our mission-critical IBM i environment,” he says in the case study. “The system is very easy to manage, and allows us to do much more with our available resources. As the integrated IBM DB2 database also requires minimal administration effort, we do not even need a dedicated database administrator.”