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Case Studies • 3 min read

Vivo Energy embraces SAP S/4HANA on a new IBM Power10 environment

Any growing business knows the pressure to breathe new life into its IT infrastructure.

As technology evolves, finding the right path to expand in a way that suits ambitions and IT budget is a challenge.

Vivo Energy distributes Shell and Engen branded fuels to retail and commercial customers across Africa. The company has expanded over the years due to improved technical business operations.

One notable high point for Vivo Energy was in 2019 when they embraced SAP S/4HANA to accelerate efficiencies and uncover operational insights. The business deployed the full suite in one integrated platform, including:

  • SAP SuccessFactors
  • SAP Cloud for Customer
  • SAP Integrated Business Planning

Implementing SAP enabled Vivo Energy to boost employee productivity, streamline workflow processes and increase data visibility. They called Service Express to scale the company’s IT estate for its SAP instances.

Energy supply

London, UK

Service: Infrastructure Consulting, Data Centers, Data Center Hardware

“This upgrade has allowed us to move the critical care and maintenance activities of our server fleet to experts who provide the same level of diligence that we provide ourselves, allowing our lean infrastructure team to focus on internal activities. We can continue to focus on growth, knowing our essential services are in safe hands.”

-Mike McCormick, Chief Information Officer of Vivo Energy

Service Express brought all SAP instances to a new single platform

Vivo Energy and Service Express worked together on a flexible approach, deploying four IBM Power Systems across two of Service Express’ data centers in the UK. Two systems have been placed in each data center, providing separate virtual machine environments via logical partitions (LPARs). Adding additional locations ensures services automatically failover to servers in the secondary data center in the event primary equipment is unavailable.

However, the unprecedented business growth from this strategy presented one problem. These IBM POWER8 and POWER9 systems could not continue to support Vivo’s expansion rate or its extensive use of the SAP HANA system. “We turned to Service Express, not just as a current provider but as a trusted partner,” explained Mike McCormick, Chief Information Officer of Vivo Energy.

“We needed a partner we could trust to help us continue to grow, and with a long history of quality service and technical expertise, there was no question of discussing our growing needs with Service Express.”

A powerful solution implemented for a bigger future

Vivo Energy was left with two options. Scale-out its IT infrastructure by adding servers when required or scale up by upgrading the servers to the latest generation.

“Whilst the current HANA estate is deployed on IBM Power, the choice of scale-out servers being used meant growing on demand, for example, more memory and CPU was a challenge,” explained Graeme Penman, Pre-sales Consultant at Service Express.

“The scale-out servers only support a finite amount of memory, which is key for HANA. Once that was consumed, all Vivo could do was either physically upgrade memory in the servers or add more servers with lead times on hardware delivery and installation impacting the speed at which Vivo could respond to meet business demands.”

Various scale-out methods were reviewed in detail, underlining Service Express’ commitment to ensuring customers receive a truly optimized solution. By meeting all business needs, Service Express’ data center specialists continue to retain a substantially high customer renewal rate.

After a thorough examination of possible solutions, with agility and responsiveness being crucial factors for expansion, the answer was to scale up to a new generation of server.

Hardware muscle provided by IBM’s Power10 generation

The new range of IBM servers resulted in these advantages:

  • Established a standard of service for Vivo Energy to respond to business demands in near real-time
  • Deployed a pool of E1080s in Secure Hybrid Cloud to grow with demand on a pay-as-you-need basis
  • Optimised CPU resources to cut costs
  • IBM’s Power10 E1080 servers consume less electricity than previous generation


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