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Next step into the hybrid cloud

Future Cloud Infrastructure for flexible SAP-based operation convinces Continental

In search of a future-proof SAP operating platform

Founded in 1871, the Hanover-based Continental AG is one of the most important German corporations. The automotive provider is one of the DAX-30 listed companies. With more than 190,000 employees in 561 locations in 58 countries, in 2021 it achieved a turnover of around EUR 34 billion. Since 2022, the operations of Continental AG have been split across three independent company divisions: Automotive, Tires, and ContiTech. The company divisions cover 16 business areas. Automotive develops and produces electronically controlled gear and vehicle safety systems.

Unconditional operational stability

With solutions for safe driving, gears, and comfort, the Automotive division is the company's mainstay. The tire business is concentrated in the company's Tires division. ContiTech manufactures other rubber and plastic products for industrial applications, for example hoses, conveyor belts, vibration technology, and seal technology. In the 2000s, Continental AG also grew through acquisitions. Integrated companies or company units included Phoenix AG (2004), the automotive electronics business from Motorola (2006), Matador (2007), and Veyance Technologies Inc. (2015).

Continental AG relies on SAP for controlling its company processes. With over 450 SAP systems, the company also operates one of the largest SAP landscapes in the world. The historically grown landscape has a high level of complexity. Uninterrupted availability to support the international business is crucial for the automotive supplier. Continental opted for T-Systems as a partner for the operation of SAP landscapes.

Customer benefits

In T-Systems, Continental has a partner on side bringing end-to-end expertise in all things SAP: from infrastructure through platform operation to application support. Numerous analyst reports have for years underscored the competence of T-Systems in the private cloud and SAP. Receiving the underlying platform technology based on VMware significantly simplifies the migration.

Perfected migration processes reduce downtimes and, in turn, the costs of the migration. Significant cost reductions enabled by the Future Cloud infrastructure platform (FCI platform) and its efficient management are also an advantage when it comes to continuous operation of productive SAP systems. Furthermore, SAP operation on the flexible and scalable FCI offers Continental additional prospects for the future. This includes the operation of non-SAP systems, some of which work very closely with the SAP systems and the introduction of hybrid scenarios (including public clouds like Azure). The new platform also gives Continental a solid foundation for the upcoming transformation to SAP S/4HANA and any consolidation projects within the group.

We are convinced that the private cloud is right for operating our SAP systems. It combines stability and cost efficiency. The migration to a next-generation private cloud was logical and T-Systems has provided us with the best support as an end-to-end provider in all phases.

Christian Eigler, Corporate CIO Continental AG 

The challenge

Until now, the SAP productive systems were operated on a classic on-premises infrastructure – with a spotless record: T-Systems has been guaranteeing Continental high operational stability and reliable availability of SAP provision with its operational services for many years. But the established private cloud technology had reached the end of its life.

Continental was searching for a new operating concept that brought along the previous stability but also greater flexibility, stronger scalability, and a more convenient use of SAP. At the same time, the various company units needed to have the option to integrate their own preferred platforms to enable hybrid working, for example, with Azure. Last but not least, it was important to Continental that the new operating concept / the installed platforms offered the highest degree of cost efficiency. In particular, the continuous operation of the productive systems needed to be as cost-effective as possible. At the same time, it was important to Continental to place all services end-to-end into the hands of one provider. In T-Systems, Contintental has a competent point of contact for all its SAP needs. 

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The solution

With the switch to the Future Cloud Infrastructure (FCI), the management at Continental opted for a permanent private cloud to be the linchpin of the SAP operation, which also enables a hybrid cloud application. The Future Cloud Infrastructure is a next-generation private cloud. It taps into many functionalities which users and operational teams are familiar with from the public cloud.

This includes comprehensive automation of regular processes via which, for example, the complete application stack can be prepared in fewer than three hours, and resources can be seamlessly scaled by a factor of 80. At the same time, the FCI enables the integration of public cloud resources, e.g. for the development and testing of new applications.

To use FCI, T-Systems is setting up a landing zone on the shared private cloud platform in the Frankfurt data center cluster. The two VMware-based platforms, the old and the new, also simplify the migration. Three migration steps are planned by 2024, for which T-Systems will minimize the downtimes. After that, T-Systems will operate the SAP landscape fully on the FCI platform.

Relevant solutions

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